Art History

Who is your favorite artist?

My favorite is Vincent van Gogh. I’ve had a deep love of him since Elementary school when I saw Starry Night for the first time.  Something about the swirls around the stars spoke to me.

My love of his work has only grown and developed since then.  I have always loved the bold colors he used and the feeling of emotion and movement in the pieces, but I also gained a huge appreciation for how realistic his paintings are when you look deeper.

I never realized how true to detail his pieces were until I tried to paint one of his paintings –  Wheat Field with Cypresses.  What seems to be whirls of whimsical colors is actually very intentional when you look closer.  The shapes and shadows are very realistic, but the vibration that is created with the colors brings a surreal quality to the piece.


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Photograph of original Wheat Field with Cypresses by Vincent van Gogh in oil from the Metropolitan Museum of Art when I visited in 2012 (top).  My acrylic painting based on the original completed in 2013 (right).
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​In attempting this painting, I fell more in love with Van Gogh and his style.  I did figure out also, that it is very difficult to achieve his painting style by using acrylic as a medium and especially in the style that I paint.  I tend to paint in a controlled manner and apply paint in thin layers.  In order to get the same effect as Van Gogh, especially in the fields, it would be easier to use thicker layers of paint to show texture and dimension.

It used to be general practice for artists to replicate the old masters in order to learn their techniques (maybe it still is – I didn’t go to art school).  My absolute favorite art show that I’ve been to was the Becoming Van Gogh exhibit a few years ago in Denver.  Did you see that show also?  It was incredible to see so much of his work all in one place!  It was also interesting to see how he copied the work of other great artists to grow in his skills.  I’ll have to tell you more about this trip at a later time!

But until then, who is your favorite artist?  What do you like most about them or their style?  Let me know!

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