Another inspiring element of the Hockney show was the series of copies he did of Claude Lorain's Sermon on the Mount. Seeing them affirmed for me the importance of copying from the old masters. Hockney made 5 copies after Claude, each one departing more and more dramatically from the original. The last one is huge - 30 canvases together measuring 15x24 feet.
Copying the work of other painters has long been the way artists learn and my teachers at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago emphasized the value of copying. It is a great way to really digest the lessons of a painting and it really gets you in the head and hand of the painter.
Lately, I have been beginning each painting session with a few minutes of work on my own copy of Paul Cezanne's painting, The Gulf of Marseille Seen from L'estaque, 1885. Since I have been working from a digital reproduction I am guessing that the colors are way off from the original. I hope to get to the Met to check out the real painting soon. Till then, I am happy to keep plugging away at my hybrid -digitized wildly inaccurate weird Cezanne copy.