Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Vincent Van Gogh Project

"Beauty II" - 8 x 10" colored pencil on colorfix paper.
copyright 2007 Maggie Stiefvater.
Click here to bid.
Okay, the suspense is over. The artist for Fine Line Artists' February project is none other than Mr. Vincent Van Gogh. As in last month's John Singer Sargent project, the aim is to study what makes our chosen artist great and see if we can adapt any of that to our works. And also as before, any of you fellow artists are more than welcome to join in, blog about your progress, and send me your links so that I can post them here as we go! I learned a lot from Sargent so I have high hopes.
Now, I started my study of Van Gogh this evening by reading Van Gogh's Van Goghs, which is about the pieces in the Van Gogh Museum in , and also by surfing this huge site: (on dial up -- now that's dedication, people). And I've learned a lot already, such as:
  • Van Gogh is the sort of son I hope I never have, the ne'er do well was living with his parents when he was thirty.
  • He was self-taught
  • He voluntarily checked into an asylum after cutting off his ear lobe (sort of like voluntary artist rehab) -- who knows if he meant to cut off his own ear lobe, after all, he had the razor blade out to threaten fellow artist Gaugin. Dummy.
  • He was almost 3D with his paint. Note to self, buy more thick, globby paint and plan on using a lot.

But so far, I'm sort of . . . well, disappointed. That site I mentioned lists 854 paintings, or something like that, and his quality -- to me -- seems rather uneven, in comparison to Sargent. With Sargent, I felt like I could really learn something from every piece. Not so with Van Gogh. And plus, Sargent seemed to have a sense of humor, which I appreciated. Van Gogh decided to dress like a poor dude and wander around telling people that he was the painter of the peasants while having epileptic seizures that caused mental disorders. He must've been great at dinner parties.

But I still found some fodder that interested me, such as:

I know, I know, too many links, Maggie, we're lazy . . . well, I can't save images from that website or I would've shown them to you here. I have a vague idea what I might try doing, but just wait til you get a load of what sort of prep work Van Gogh did . . . .

Oh, and for crying out loud, would you guys check out my minis at my Las Vegas gallery? I'd love to offer them on eBay but unfortunately they are having fun out west instead. . .


MrsSnowy said...

Maggie, I couldn't be more excited about your choice of Van Gogh to follow JSS. Please count me in! And thank you for all the great links.

Rita said...

Hi Maggie,

Again with the roses, eh? I must admit, I like this one better than the last. There's a glowing quality to this piece that wasn't in the last one...

I already mentioned it to Wendy on her blog but count me in for VanGogh this's too tempting to not do!

PS- Isn't dial up fun...oh, it's not.

artist said...

This site is worth a look:

This looks like a perfect project for pastels. Hope to have something to share soon.

Lisa B.

Regula Scheifele said...

Hmm... Van Gogh is not really one of my favorit painters. At least not yet ;-)
But I'll definitely read along, cheer you along, and mabe I'll even take part...
Ok, off to look at those links!


Regula Scheifele said...

Hmm... Van Gogh is not really one of my favorit painters. At least not yet ;-)
But I'll definitely read along, cheer you along, and mabe I'll even take part...
Ok, off to look at those links!


Casey Klahn said...

Of course, I will be participating. But my poor studio is in the middle of a great remodel. I haven't got even one spot to put my pastels down on!
Maybe this will be my push out the door for some plein air time.
Well, ready or not, I'll just have to give it my best.
VVG was much more interested in color than representation, and I feel that his de-emphasis on detail, perspective, ect. was all in the plan. Look at his early work before he got started with bright colors. He attempted and completed some very detailed and involved canvases. They were good, if you consider his experience level at that point.
Then, he caught the fire in the belly for a more avant-garde statement, which is why his works start to look "weird". Also, his collectivity is so high, that even his unfinished studies are presented as high art.
Sort of like The Beatles - every cough and snicker that made it onto tape is subject to being released as something special.
Moral of the story: keep in mind VVG's intent, and remember that JSS and VVG are worlds apart.

hissnhowl said...

I rented a great Van Gogh DVD from netflix last month. It is an actor reading many of the letters from Van Gogh to his brother while showing paintings from the period of time the letters were written. Sorry I don't remember the name of it but if any of you belong to Netflix it should be pretty easy to find.

K. Knowles said...

Have you seen this film? Also check out the director's note and comments.

petroz said...

Vincent van Gogh self portrait found at Geneva flea market by Jules Petroz
watch video