Monday, February 05, 2007

Ah, the colour of music!

I know what you're thinking, dear reader: "What in the blue Hell is that??" Why, can't you tell? It's a VanGogh? Or rather a very hasty copy of one at a fraction of the size and done with coloured pencil. it's not a VanGogh except that it was done after one of his works "Allee des Alycamps". It was another quick (about 30 mins.) study of one of his works and was done with some Verithins (the half-wit cousins of Artist quality Prismacolors). My indigo blue broke when I went to use it and I think it would've lent to the values in this but it just wasn't meant to be.

What have I learned from this and what else can I tell you about VanGogh?
From this study I learned that he loved yellow (and there's a few medical theories regarding that) and he was also into perspective. That is to say that he paid careful attention to it and used it meaningfully. This is apparent in many of his other works as well but I chose to work with this one just to illustrate it. In true form of Impressionism things are rendered as impressions of what is there, which becomes very evident when you see how he's done some of his figures. Some of them look downright contorted to the point that I'm pretty sure not even a performer from Cirque de Soleil could replicate their posture. Illustrated below is one of his sketches done on a letter written to his brother Theo of a peasant worker pulling his own harrow.

Look, just look at the angle of that man's right leg. Go ahead try it. Hurts, doesn't it? No human knee should bend in that manner. However, this was a sketch and in other works VanGogh clearly proves that he is capable of depicting accurate proportion and aware of, how shall we say...human physical function? This seems to be one of those instances when VanGogh was trying to depict the toil of his beloved peasant worker and the strain they endure daily. This sketch also demonstarates VanGogh's keen eye for perspective I mentioned earlier. The man was no slouch when it came to art.

What else can I tell you about him? Well, aside from art and a brief foray into theology he also experimented with music. More specifically with piano lessons.
After coming to live in Paris with his brother Theo and being exposed to all this new artwork VanGogh realized the joys of colour. A vast departure from the dark palette of the Dutch painters whom he had modelled himself and his paintings after. This was a great boon to VanGogh (for a time anyway) and his spirits were lifted by this. In an attempt to broaden his creativity he enthusiastically took up piano lessons and incorporated his newfound love of colour into the lessons...much to the surprise (and perhaps confusion) of his piano instructor. You see, when VanGogh was at the piano, as he played certain sharps or flats he would yell out things like "Cobalt Blue!" or "Crimson!" The idea being that certain colours, like certain notes in a compostion, elicit different emotions. He wasn't afraid to experiment, another trait of a good artist.

So I've yet to decide what exactly I'm going to do for this project. However, I have narrowed it down to either a complete re-make of a landscape picture I did a little over a year ago or a portrait. I know that I need to decide soon and have set a deadline for myself that by Friday I have to pick one or the other. So, dear reader, if you'd like to cast your vote for either please just leave a comment or e-mail me letting me know which subject matter you're interested in. Your assistance with my descent into madness would be greatly appreciated.

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