Copy of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres "Madame Moitessier"

Copy of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres "Madame Moitessier"

Kathleen Carroll

Contact Kathleen at or through her email at

Having grown up in the Washington, DC area and having visited the National Gallery of Art as a child, I was mesmerized, awed and inspired by the paintings exhibited there. Years later, while studying art at the Compass Atelier, I applied to the NGA Copyist Program and was accepted into it. I began copying at the NGA in 2015 and have learned much about Ingres' and Vouet's painting process as a result.

I copy paintings because in each painting there is an art lesson, something to be learned from that artist. For example, I was drawn to the painting of Madame Moitessier at the National Gallery of Art primarily because of Ingres’ use of the grisaille technique which involves painting a grayscale underpainting on the primed canvas painting a  grayscale underpainting on the primed canvas surface.

Over this grayscale painting layers of transparent color are applied, allowing the cool gray to show through in areas of thinly applied paint and developing warm skin tones through the building up of paint layers. This technique is especially effective on skin areas where the skin takes on a translucent look. Also, as Ingres was a master in his rendering of surfaces and textures I felt drawn to copy his painting because I felt challenged to capture the many textures in the painting. Copying Madame Moitessier was a great learning experience in Neo-Classical and realist technique.

I enjoy copying at the National Gallery of Art and interacting with gallery visitors who are often curious about the copyist program or why I copy. Copying is a great way to really immerse oneself in looking at and experiencing a work of art.

I am currently affiliated with TAG The Artist Gallery in Frederick, Maryland and the Athenaeum in Alexandria, Virginia..