Thursday, March 06, 2008

What was it I said not too long ago? Life gets in the way of having fun? Yeah, that was it, and last week there was a whole s#!^-load of life that happened... and not the pleasant stuff either. So today I’m resuming having fun, even if it kills me by golly!

So today isn't going to be a big post but let’s talk about Van Gogh, shall we?

I’ve been reading a lot more of the book that my brother got me, “Vincent Van Gogh: A Self-Portrait in Art and Letters” edited by H. Anna Suh** with great interest. With so much interest, in fact, that I’ve been marking off pages that have letters that I found particularly striking as they pertain to my own project, meaning those that discuss colour, drawings and emotion/ expression.

It’s no big secret that once VG discovered how much fun he could have expressing himself with bright, bold, rich colour could be he went right to town with it. The letters I’ve been re-reading are those that were written just before VG was introduced to the Impressionists and from those letters it seems as though he was very much on the cusp of realizing just what an important impact the appropriate selection of colour could have on the viewer (and how his own feelings are conveyed to the viewer) and it's just this facet of art that I'm quite interested in at this point in my project.

One of the letters that struck me most (so far) was written to Theo in October of 1883 and it was this portion of the letter that I found most intriguing:

"...the sky was an indescribably delicate lavender-white, no fleecy clouds, as they all tended to run together and covered the whole of the sky, but patches more or less toning lilac, gray and white, with odd gaps where the blue shone through. Then on the horizon a brilliant stripe of red, with under it the surprisingly dark expanse of brown heather, and against the luminous, red strip and number of low roofs and small cottages."

I mean really, can the man verbally paint a picture or what?

Something that also struck me with the letters from this time period was the extent that Van Gogh went to to decribe things. In some of his earlier letters he comes across as verbose (to me) but the letters from this period, and those thereafter, seem descriptive in a way that doesn't come across as excessive... and I love it. :D

He's describing an increased passion for not only his subjects but how he presents them to the viewer so they can share in that passion, and if it happens to involve some lemon yellow and pale vermillion so much the better.

So right now I'm thinking more on how I can use colour in my work to "get the point across" as it were without deviating much from my style. Regular readers will know that colour has always been a point of frustration/ angst for me when creating my art but as I progess with this project (and thanks to the VG project from last year) I'm feeling more and more comfortable with using it.

I'm gettin' there, I'm gettin' there...

** Published by Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, New York

- both ACEO's, "White Wonder" and "Contemplative" are available for purchase. Please contact me if interested.

All images copyright Rita Woodburne


Ann said...

Well, I certainly like they way you used color in these two pieces! They are both very nice.

Rita said...

Thanks Ann! That tiger one was a treat to do, at times it felt more like I was working on a puzzle rather than artwork. :D