Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Speaking of Vincent van Gogh

Self-Portrait, Saint-Remy, September 1889 oil 15 1/4" x 12 1/4"

The cyberspace artist community I've been hanging out in regularly since I discovered it, is called Wet Canvas . In one of the oil painting forums there is a thread called "Master of the Month." January-February 2008 the Master just happens to be Mr. Vincent van Gogh. All the participating artists (who are big VVG nuts like myself) have been doing copies of van Gogh paintings, and paintings in van Gogh's broken-line, impasto style.

I decided to do a self-portrait, it's been years since I've done one. My inspiration is this painting; Vincent's very last self-portrait, one which he gave to his mother. Interestingly, he painted himself much younger than he was at the time, and tried to prove his "improved state of health."

But still, he has that intense, forlorn look in his eyes. I tried to emulate the look with my own reflection.
This is the photo I used for my reference, taken last summer in Washington.

And here is my van Gogh-style KWG Self-Portrait; the sketch and painting (looking younger than I really am):

0il pastel on canvas board, 9" x 12"

I'm doing a series of four, each one based on a very different van Gogh self-portrait. I also plan to use a different medium for each one. The first is oil pastel; I'll do an oil painting, an acrylic, and something else; not sure yet for the fourth.

This one looks like he modeled it after Rembrandt. It will be very good practice for me to do a painting in this style.
Self-Portrait With Dark Felt Hat, Paris, early 1886 oil on canvas, 15 1/4" x 12 1/4"

With the very dark lighting, stark contrast, and the dull colors he used-- this one does not even resemble the work Vincent is so well-known for. Again, good for practice-- to really push the darks & lights.

Self-Portrait, Paris, early 1886 oil on canvas, 18 1/8" x 15"
This was painted at a cafe in Paris where he was allowed to exhibit some of his Japanese prints, which so fascinated him. One geisha is in the background on the right. I love how loose and simplified this is. It looks like a sketch with big, fat crayons; rather than a painting!

Self-Portrait With Japanese Print, Paris, late 1887 oil on canvas, 16 15/16" x 13 3/8"

Here are the other sketches I've prepared for this series, from the following photo reference (with my new do), and that same intense glare:

Had a problem with the lips and the nose is too long on this one! Pencil on cheap paper.

This is in the bedroom. Better likeness here. Ink sketch on canvas, prep for painting.

And in the studio. I used conte crayon on this one. Cheap paper again.

I put some more paint on the Iris Chair. I'm pleased with how this is shaping up. I plan to detail the irises a little bit more, but not too much.

Here is my easel set-up showing my references.

oil on canvas, 20" x 16"

If next month's Master is Michelangelo-- I'm doomed!!

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