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  • Writer's pictureBeti Kristof

The Art of My Favorite Things

For years it's been my hobby...that's if an artist has the time to have a hobby, to create a body of work inspired by my favorite artists. Why not? It makes me feel good and that is the old world way of learning ones craft; to copy the masters. Isn't that like emulating what you love? Being a good follower of a great leader makes for a great leader....etc etc. Anyway, I love being surrounded by original art, and even more by art originally created by those I admire.

Why not if it's for my own home?

I'll never forget when I first arrived to Las Vegas over twenty- five years ago. I was asked within the first couple years to donate a piece of art to a gala auction for the local Ballet company. Happy to do so, I donated one of my own recreations of a Renoir painting of a 'sleeping girl'. I loved that piece. It was a pastel, mixed media, artwork on canvas. Very large piece probably around 4' x 3'. I heard later, that the director had it on her wall in her office. I really hope that person received as much peace and pleasure from the velvety soft, relaxed feel of the painting as I had.

Another re -creation that was epic at the time was that of Monet's waterlilies. The painting is ten feet wide and four feet across. Huge! I painted it when I was 25 years old, and if anyone thinks that emulating the brush stokes of Monet, using his colors... and even imagining what light he happened to see, was easy because all the elements were already there in his original, think again. Just getting into the mindset of recreating anything close to the original might be considered 'cheating' by some, I have another word for it...'a challenge'. that was two words. Think of it as a 'stretch'. It's like my Hungarian mother trying to make an authentic Italian spagetti dinner (that's an inside joke.) One just can't help but add paprika!

The challenge leave your own personality behind, anything that makes you, you, and step into the skin of another being you will find it nearly impossible unless one does it professionally as an art forger. Even they get caught.

How strange, I was taught to paint by copying technique and palette combinations, mostly by trial and error. My teachers just sat next to me, not over my shoulder. They glanced over to me while they painted themselves. Every once in awhile they would make a suggestion. I had to come to my own conclusions, correct and assess honestly comparing the direction I was going to that of the artwork I was recreating. It's inevitable ones own personal style, sweep of a brush stoke and color choices will eventually set in as a personal 'tell' just like a signature.and that is also encourraged.

The artpiece pictured above is directly inspired by Gustav Klimpt. Years ago, I had created a artwork that someone had commented looked like an inspiration of Klimpt. I had no idea who this Klimpt was. After some research at a local bookstore, (we had no internet but we had a lot more bookstores at that time), I realized some elements I had incorporated into the artwork was 'Klimptesque'. Then I fell in love with his work. Creating many artworks that are directly inspired by his work.

The 'Tree of Life" painting pictured above is approximately 3' x 4' and is in a very ornate, over the top gold frame. Gaudy as all get out, it works, especially for my own personal visual delight! I had fun experimenting with the background creating layers upon layers of glaze to give a liquid texture against the flat design of the tree and all it's playful intricacies. It was to be in my own collection and for awhile it was, until the director at the Centaur asked me to bring it in, gaudy ornate frame and all.

Which master artist's artwork will be next?

You think I would be able to answer that. I can, but I would never tell.

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