The process of create a reproduction of a painting, not to be the most complicated, is not within everyone's reach.
First of all, it is about having competent artists, that is the least of things. Indeed, a group of artists is essential to the smooth running of the workshop, each one having its strong points and its weak points.
Our painters are all qualified, but in a different way. Some are better at portraits, for example, while others are extremely skilled when it comes to cityscapes. Some prefer copying old masters, while others excel at reproducing contemporary art paintings.
It is the foreman of supervise painting reproduction and assign each according to their qualifications.
The canvas is cut and stretched on a frame in order to have a stable base for working. It will then receive several coats of primer, which is called a " chalk ».
Gesso is a layer of preparation that makes the canvas smooth and prevents it from absorbing too much paint. This step is essential to prepare the painter's work, which will only have an easier time spreading the different layers required. As with any job well done, it all starts with the right tools and the right support.
Unlike other workshops, we have chosen to work on a frame that will be the final frame - if the customer wants one, of course. Our carpenter prepares all the key frames specifically for each painting, which allows for a structure that exactly matches the canvas.
The cutting of the canvas and the frame, its assembly and the preparation of the gesso, as well as its drying, already requires a good week.
Depending on the canvas and its colors, a first primer is applied. It allows you to start playing on the various more or less light areas of the painting, and helps the upper layers to stand out more clearly.
A beautiful reproduction of a painting can have up to 6-8 coats of paint.
The time comes when the real work of the artist begins. The first step is to delimit the painting in several parts, each representing an area proportional to the work reproduced.
On small paintings, this work is essentially done by judgment, by separating the canvas into as many spaces as necessary with charcoal, to respect the proportions. On larger paintings, where the distance is not enough to give a good perspective, we use layers, and cut the workspace into as many small parts as necessary.
It is indeed easy to commit an error of proportion which would be fatal to reproduction once accomplished.
The various elements of the decoration are then reproduced roughly, then more finely, starting with all the outline marks and all the elements which delimit the space of the subjects towards each other.
It is first of all a question of roughing up the characters and the objects which form the structure of the work. Once their outlines are made, the artist applies the first coats of paint.
The colors are applied in several layers. The first layers aiming to establish the background of the work, and the general colors. Then when the background is rough, the artist applies other successive layers which are more and more detailed, which makes it possible to give "volume" to the painting, by adding material to it.
This work forms the basis of what the canvas will be once finished. It is very important to respect the colors of the original, knowing that this is unfortunately not always possible.
Indeed, the famous paintings that we know are all weathered by time. The original colors have faded and / or faded, or darkened, depending on the storage to which they were often victims.
We can replicate on a new painting an aging of the painting, and a cracking effect, if the customer so wishes. This technique developed by Roland, allows to give an aged appearance that makes it look like the original.
Once the shell of the work is finished, the most difficult part remains, and the longest: the finishing touches.
A reproduction of a painting is like a house, once the shell is finished, foundations, walls, framework and roof, you still have to do everything else: electricity, plumbing, etc. (my father and my grandfather were masons).
Indeed, once the shapes are finished, there is a multitude of details to be completed, a myriad of colors and shades to add, which often constitute the longest part of the production time.
Here an expression on a face, here a blade of grass which must have the right tone, a texture which must be reworked. It is a work that seems endless when you cling to the details, but which will give the work its full scope. The painter, patient and dedicated to a job well done, will spend most of his time fine-tuning this crucial part of the work.
But what happiness and what pride once the painting is finished!
Once the canvas is completed, it must dry. And this is not an easy task, because the successive coats make it so that the first applications, often covered with a lot of layers, have difficulty drying. It is not uncommon for paintings to dry for 2 to 3 weeks, if they have required a lot of work - and therefore successive coats.
Once the drying is finished, we apply a final layer of transparent varnish, in order to protect the paint from external aggressions. This varnish can be yellowed to give an old appearance, if necessary.
When everything is in order, we send your canvas to you by Fed-Ex, UPS or DHL in a secure package, and all you have to do is hang it where it belongs.
We have, outside the city a large painting reproductions workshop, which is much bigger, more comfortable and airy than what you can find in France.
Our painters have worked with us for a long time, some for 20 years, and are now part of the family. We ensure that our reproductions of hand-painted paintings are of the best quality and you will be happy with it.
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