My Coloring Book

A somewhat lesser know fact about how artists made pictures in the old days is that a lot of the old guys (more reverently known as the Old Masters) did, from time to time, come across works by other artists that they altered in some fashion to suit their fancy.  For example Rembrandt made radical subtractions and additions to an etching plate by Hercules Seghers to transform a Tobias and the Angel into a Flight into Egypt.  He wasn’t alone, and you shouldn’t blame Rembrandt.  Anyway, he did a nice job in making the transformation.  But back in those days, if you didn’t want anybody messing with your picture, you sure were well advised to hide it in a vault.

Today in our era of reproductions galore, you can alter works by past masters without feeling the slightest bit guilty, and some artists have made whole careers out of the fabric of another man’s cloth.  Me, I’m just using one of my favorite draughtsmen to have some fun.  I bought two copies of the ridiculously cheap edition of Degas’s Halevy notebook by Dover Books and used the extra copy as my coloring book.  It makes me feel like a kid again!  (And that’s worth something all by itself!)  And it’s a great additional way to study the old guy.

The top image is dressed up using gouache, the lower two using colored pencils.