What I Love About Van Gogh’s Technique

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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11 Responses to “What I Love About Van Gogh’s Technique”

  1. Caroline Jobe Says:

    great to learn from great painters, i did a copy of a Lawren Harris painting and was astonished at the colours he used i.e. yellow sky red blue and purple rock, and the brush strokes were very visible there too. thanks for sharing


  2. Becky Says:

    Loved your analysis of Van Gogh. I,too, love his art. I was fortunate to visit his museum for the second time in Amsterdam last August. Keep sharing….I just love your art and sometimes try to imitate your talent. Of course, I don’t come close. Thx, becky at The Villages, fl.


    • Karen Says:

      Becky, how fortunate for you to see Van Gogh’s luscious painting strokes up close in his Amsterdam museum. While I have seen a few of his paintings in shows coming into the Denver Art Museum, my favorites were at the MOMA in NYC. So I count that as a blessing. Imitate away, that is how we all learn! Feel free to share a painting or two on this blog, I keep waiting for people to upload their art! thanks, Becky, -Karen


  3. ARTmoses Says:

    love the art!


  4. shawnthompsonart Says:

    Good article, Vincent sure used bold colours!!!


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