Archive for October, 2015

What I Love About Van Gogh’s Technique

October 23, 2015
Real Pear Photo and Painting to study Van Gogh Brush Work, KGT

Real Pear Photo and Painting to study Van Gogh Brush Work, KGT

I’ve been studying and enjoying the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh for so many years. Now that I have made a painting sample for teaching an upcoming online painting course, I have finally begun to understand why I like his work so much. (They say you learn when you teach. It’s always been true for me!)

  1. I like the way he is fond of drawing dark lines around his subjects. It immediately says, “this is a painting.” As a Post Impressionist, he was not trying to depict nature in a dreamy way, capturing light. He had his own personal viewpoint and statement, and it was all about making art with paint and letting the world know that.
  2. We very clearly see Vincent’s brush strokes, again reminding us that this is a vigorous painting, not an eloquent depiction of the nuances of nature before photography became so prevalent. There is no deception or imitation of natural realism. He had the guts to just paint with his own personality showing through.
  3. The final thing I love is Vincent’s color. He was brilliant with creating harmonious color, yet his choices were so bold and groundbreaking for his day. His color palettes fully express his unique personality. They are every bit as telling as his brushwork as to who made this painting.

Vincent was almost unbelievably prolific, with a painting output hard to grasp for all its quantity and energetic quality. He was like a torrent of production. We are told he was a kind of tortured soul, but somehow he found his outlet, and we are blessed to have his work with us today. So may of us would have him on our imaginary list of people we would like to have known.

I think painters in our day and age will gain from studying Vincent’s work. We don’t want to copy, but certainly can learn from an artist who was fully expressive of his own way of doing things in his world of paint.  By trying out new ways of laying down paint and color with our own brushes, we may move one step closer to finding our own personal expression as painters and lovers of color. I know I learned something when making this sample art! It’s kind of like stepping into his shoes in a little small way.


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