Wednesday, March 19, 2008
I've always loved this painting. I bought a framed print at the Getty and it hangs in my bedroom. Since we are still studying Vincent van Gogh, I prepared some 16"x 20" masonite boards for more practice in his style. I am also trying to work "alla prima" (all at once), thus as fast as possible. It is said that the way to paint like van Gogh is, "a stroke laid is a stroke stayed," meaning no blending! Put the paint down on the canvas and move on, with short, rapid broken lines van Gogh used to express his love for nature.
Here's my version:
No study of van Gogh would be complete without a sunflower painting. Vincent wrote in a letter to his brother in January of 1989, "You know, the sunflower is mine, in a way." He also wrote, "In 100 years the world will know the value of my art far exceeds the cost of paint and canvas." Little did he know just how valuable his art would be-- with one of his sunflower paintings selling for nearly 89 million dollars-- one hundred years later!
This is one of his first attempts at sunflowers, painted in Paris late in the summer of 1887:
My version is on a 16" x 20" gessoed masonite board, so I had to adjust the composition since it is not proportional to the original. I applied gesso to the rough side in order to capture the quality of his paintings, many of which were painted on coarse, raw canvas:
Another very fun exercise I did, was a portrait exchange with another artist on wetcanvas.com, Graham, who is also doing Vincent's paintings. He sent me a photo with his ear bandaged, taken in his studio with his own paintings and easel behind him. In return, his is doing a portrait of me.
Here is Vincent's self-portrait with bandaged ear, painted in January 1889 after the infamous incident of self-mutilation after his fight with Paul Gaugin... What were they fighting about? Their differing views of painting methods and styles. Gaugin was a neat-nik, Vincent a sloppy guy. Talk about taking things waaaaaaaaaaaay too seriously!
And my portrait of Graham, with bandaged ear:
Graham lives in Canada. Without the internet-- I would not be able to "paint with" such a vast number of talented artists from around the world!