three roses, renoir
Renoir’s “Three Roses”, Private Collection


For my daughter Jamie’s (JJ) birthday, I wanted to copy Renoir’s Girl With a Watering Can.  From the first time I saw this painting, I felt that Renoir captured Jamie’s angelic face, golden curls and sweet expression as a little girl.  However, I knew I could never come close to reproducing this masterpiece. Even though Renoir has been my favorite Impressionist artist, I have been intimidated to copy one of his paintings. Even though the palette of Renoir is similar the previous Impressionists that I have copied, Monet and Van Gogh, Renoir experimented more with elements of light and reflection; a skill I have not ventured to try.

Girl with a Watering Can National Gallery, D.C.

Renoir took painting out of the dark studios and stark subjects of his predecessors into the beauty of nature. Being a part of nature was very calming and a great respite from the doldrums of everyday life in nineteenth century Paris.

Unlike his contemporaries use of quick brush strokes, Renoir learned a more decorative and traditional style of painting after his visit to Italy to study the Renaissance artists Raphael, Velaquez, and Rubens.  In the traditional style, Renoir used bright colors and bold lines and never used brown or black for shadows, but instead reflected the color of the objects surrounding them.

I decided to copy Renoir’s The Three Roses, for Jamie’s birthday as she has always loved flowers. My art instructor, Marie, also painted one for herself. This was her first time to paint in the style and palette of Renoir so it was a great experience for us both!  These are the colors we used: White, Cobalt Blue, Viridian Green, Cadmium Yellow, Vermilion Red and Alizarin Crimson.

Renoir three roses me
My copy of Renoir’s “Three Roses”

We first covered the entire canvas in a cobalt blue, a great device that Marie always uses as this can become part of the painting. We then sketched the roses and leaves onto the canvas. Marie has such a great eye to pick out the “hidden” colors that a novice, such as myself, cannot see.

I LOVED copying this painting.  The large brushstrokes, like Van Gogh’s, allow for much freedom of movement and the colors are so calming and welcoming. The thinner strokes where the canvas shows through adds such texture to the painting and gave me allowance to not have to fill in every spot.  I am also enjoying copying the Impressionists as it helps me to see there difference s in style and production and uniqueness as artists first hand.  So fun!!

Happy Birthday JJ! I hope these roses will bring you much joy. Love you, Mom

dbu grad
Little JJ and her Momma

Copyright 2018 by Robyn Lowrie.  May be quoted in part or full only with attribution to Robyn Lowrie (



Copyright 2018 by Robyn Lowrie.  May be quoted in part or full only with attribution to Robyn Lowrie (