Copy Famous Paintings – Milton Avery


What is It?

Painting Seated Woman in Blue“, by Milton AveryDate not known.

How was this painting done?

Milton Avery has creatively used simplification in his drawing of the furniture and model. The artist has combined his drawing with magical sparks of colour to create a jigsaw of shapes.  These shapes create a patchwork of colour showing the influence of American Abstraction.  The artist has been bold.  He has taken risks and the result is a poetic and powerful representation of domesticity.

Why Should We Care?

Milton Avery is a great example of a person who created art despite many setbacks.  Whilst working at night in a factory from the age of 15 and having the sole responsibility of his nine female relatives, he painted during the day.  He attended weekend art classes at the Art Students League and there, after many years without recognition, was discovered by a wealthy art financier. Avery created his own style and stayed with it even though his work was considered too abstract until much later in his life.

Where can I find more paintings like it?

Similarities to Avery’s colourful abstractions of everyday life can be seen inWoman on a Terrace“,  1907 by Henri Matisse.

French Fauvism and German Expressionism influenced the style of Avery’s early work.   Similarities to his bold and creative use of drawing and color can be seen inMarzella“, 1909-10 by German artist, Ludwig Kirchner

Meditate, relax and enjoy

There can be no mistakes in making this painting.  Everything ends up as it should be.  Take the luxury of “time out” to recreate this fabulous painting in acrylics yourself, here’s how:

You will need

  • a small canvas, 30cm x 40cm is a good size
  • tubes of primary acrylic colours, blue, red and yellow plus white
  • a dark watercolour crayon
  • soft nylon paint brushes, (small, medium and a little larger)
  • water in an old container
  • a rag or disposable cloth
  • two or three hours

Tips on the Process

  • prime the canvas first, otherwise, just a wash and dry with a towel
  • print the photo you want to work from, measure and cut into quarters to make your drawing in a grid
  • turn the original photo upside down to make the drawing
  • use a dark coloured water colour crayon for your drawing
  • correct drawing right-side up from the original
  • erase crayon easily with a damp cloth
  • it is okay for the watercolour crayon mark to bleed into the painting
  • everything is easily painted over with acrylics
  • paint in the background first
  • The painting will not look great at the initial blocking in stage, stay with it for a pleasant surprise
  • try not to use paint directly from the tube; experiment with how to mix colours
  • acrylics dry darker than the mixed colour

The Drawing Process

Turn your photo upside down and draw the space around the drawing first.  This is just a framework to place the figure on the page and you can easily correct right-side up with the dampened cloth as I have done below.

Otherwise, you may use my drawing below.  I suggest you ask your copy shop to print the PDF below onto a canvas and proceed to make your own unique painting.  Otherwise, you can print the copy on to good quality paper, paint the picture and frame it.  It’s your painting after all!


Photo from accessed 11/11/2016

3 thoughts on “Copy Famous Paintings – Milton Avery

  1. Pingback: 21 is your lucky number! 21 famous paintings for you to copy… | Zen School for Creative People

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