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Copying the Old Masters is as old a technique as the old masters themselves. For as long as artists have existed they learned from their masters or the works they left behind. It is a wonderful and fun way to enjoy painting, and learn some tricks and techniques along the way.  Gerard ter Borch seems the perfect candidate for my Old Master study!

This blog post consists of a video in which I created an oil study after Gerard Ter Borch’s painting Galant Conversation, which hangs at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and was painted in 1645.

Gerard Ter Borch

Gerard ter Borch (1617 - 1681) was a Dutch painter who travelled a lot before he finally settled in Deventer, in the east of The Netherlands. He is a painter of genre scenes and had many followers. He is especially loved for his amazing depiction of fabrics. For this reason he is one of my favourite painters.

Sophie Ploeg, A Study After Ter Borch, oil on linen, 24x18cm

Sophie Ploeg, A Study After Ter Borch, oil on linen, 24x18cm

A Video Blog Post

Instead of writing a blog post I really wanted to get back to the easel. So I decided to paint a blog post today. I chose to work from the Ter Borch painting Galant Conversation which shows a girl, seen from the back, in a stunning silk dress. These types of dresses were Ter Borch’s speciality and he was particularly good at depicting the shine, pleats and folds of this gorgeous fabric. For this study I left out the rest of the composition and focussed just on the dress. 

With the kids at home for half term break, and the dog wanting a walk, I managed about 3-4 hours of painting. I recorded it for you and compressed it into an 8 minute video. 

The Feathering of the Highlights

I particularly loved finding the warm yellows in the silk dress, as well as the feathering of the high lights to soften the edges. 

I worked on a small linen canvas of 24x18cm, used a bristle brush and a synthetic small round brush for the second stage. 

I used an oil paint brand I had not tried before : Langridge Oils. I am keen to try these out (have heard good things about them!) but will write about the paints more in the future when I had more time to play around with them. So far they seem very nice indeed.

Without further ado, here’s the video:

Video: An Oil Study After Ter Borch

I hope you enjoyed that. Do let me know your thoughts. Have you ever done an Old Master copy or study? What did you learn and find out? Was it as much fun as I had?

February 2018 is the

Old Masters

Month on the Blog

About the author

Sophie is an artist, art historian, tutor, author and blogger. She writes on oil and pastel painting, art history and the life of an artist. She paints portraits and still life and specialises in painting drapery and lace.

More to Read...


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  1. Hi Sophie, I loved your oil painting demonstration, please keep up the high quality of your Blog, there is always something of interest here. Thanks, Tony

  2. Always fun to watch other people painting. 🙂

    Have you considered doing a downloadable video/DVD on lace painting? I can’t come to your workshops, but I would probably buy a video it such were available (if the price was not exorbitant). 🙂

    1. Hi Lou, you are reading my mind! I think you need a proper publisher for a DVD but I am very busy thinking about online tutoring, videos etc. Stay tuned! Great to know at least one person would be interested… 😉

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