Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Van Gogh- "There's Nothing So Delightful As Drawing"

"A Bright Performance" ACEO can be bid on here.
Copyright Rita Woodburne

Onto the next installment of my Van Gogh project, and today I’m going to touch on VG’s drawings of which, as I mentioned before, there are many.

Van Gogh drew on seemingly anything and everything: sketchbooks, large sheets of paper, letters to his family and friends, envelopes and who knows what else? Heck, I wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised if one found him sketching ideas on napkins at cafe’s and bars. He just seems like he would've been that kind of person.

Van Gogh’s earlier drawing style, to me, doesn’t indicate what his painting style would be like and this is especially evident in his earlier drawings which look more like drafting plans rather than free-hand sketches. It’s been suggested that when he was starting out he went over some of his drawings/ sketches with a ruler, particularly when rendering buildings such as that of the Loyers’ House which can be seen below:

"The Loyers' House, Hackford, London" 1875
Vincent Van Gogh, pen and ink

He also did many study drawings of hands and faces, as well as peasants working, as this latter subject was very near and dear to him. More importantly, these sketches served as important studies for his well-known work “The Potato Eaters”, the first work he did that was declared as a Masterpiece, as well as for the many figures he incorporated into his landscapes and for the numerous portraits he did. I find that with his renderings of people it gives a much better indicator to his painting style as, like his paintings, they tend to be less rigid/ exacting and the strokes he uses are much heavier and thicker. Also, while they look deliberate in their placement there's still a loose quality to them that can also be indentified in his painting style.

Van Gogh never underestimated the importance of having good drawing skills and even made the proclamation that it was the underpinning to being a good, nay, excellent painter. His excellent paintings and scores of drawings suggest that the man who was, I daresay, a few sandwiches short of a picnic may have been onto something.

So what does this all mean? Well, it goes back to my bringing up the drawing challenge that some folks have taken... in case you missed that post, you can find it here. I mentioned in that post that I’m not one for sketching. I’ve never thought it was a waste of time, that would be pompous of me, it's just that I just never got “into” it and now I’m thinking I need to change my thinking.

In last year’s project I did a few sketches one being after Van Gogh’s work and the other being an original:

"Figure on a Road"- After Van Gogh

"Path & Broken Windows"
Copyright Rita Woodburne

They were fun to do and provided a nice relief/ outlet for me since I normally work in a tighter realistic style. In relation to what I mentioned before about linking Van Gogh's drawing and painting style together it also got me to wondering if my own sketching and finalized drawing style could be visibly linked. It's not critically important to me to make sure that the two are but I'm curious now... and that's always a good start to an artistic experiment. :)

I haven’t had the chance to do any sketching since last week’s post but this week-end I plan on doing some sketching of random objects, horses (of course) and possibly some QDOS. That’s right QDOS. Now all you computer people out there don’t get too excited, it’s not a trip down pre-Microsoft operating systems memory lane, when I say QDOS I mean Quick and Dirty Outdoor Sketches. I'll be doing these weather permitting (we are, after all, still in Winter) but in the event that I can't get outdoors I'll pull out some of the many outdoor pics I have of local places and take a stab at them until the weather will co-operate.

I’m not well versed in rendering trees, buildings, laneways, fences or anything that would be typically landscape work related and I figure what better time to get some practice in than by doing some sketches of them? After all, they’re sketches and the whole point of doing them is for practice and refinement. And who knows where that will lead? An equine work with a landscape in the background? Maybe...maybe...

Back on Friday!


Meg Lyman said...

Life-sketches are great. Outdoor ones are fabulous. Can't wait to see them!

Rita said...

I can't wait to see them too, my pencils are sharpened and ready to go! :D