Friday, October 10, 2008

Turkey week-end... and some art!

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving week-end, dear reader!

Today I’d like to touch again on my van Gogh/ Vermeer project if I may.

Lately I’ve been pondering what it is most I admire about both of these artists and how I can incorporate those things that I admire into my own work. Also, I’ve come to the conclusion that I could study these two fellows until I’m blue in the face and still feel like I have miles to go. So, with that in mind I’m going to put it out there that I’ll continue to study these two artists until the end of the year and then it’s time to move onto another project.

"In His Glory" ACEO
Coloured pencil on Mi-Teintes
Copyright Rita Woodburne


So with van Gogh I think I’ve made it quite clear that I love his use of colour. Bright, bold, smack- you- in- the- face kind of colour and that’s what I was hoping to get from studying him. I think I’ve made pretty decent progress in that regard as I know that now when I’m working on a piece I consciously make an effort to put in that little bit more in terms of colour. Playing around with complementaries and values in colour has been fun and using colour to convey the mood of a piece has been an interesting challenge as well.


With Vermeer it wasn’t quite as clear for me what I wanted to gain from studying him. After considering it further it hit me like a milkmaid with a full loaded pitcher of milk: his dramatic use of lighting and his uncluttered compositions.
Some folks like the ornate, overdone, visually jumbled compositions like those that can be found with many of the Renaissance artists. Gilded this and sumptuous that and for some of them just throw in a frolicking, androgynous lute- playing minstrel for good measure.

No thanks.

I’ve always loved compositions that are captivating in their simplicity (by the way, another Dutch artist that did this that I also drooled over was Carel Fabritius). Give me a few subjects, no more than I can count on one hand, and some fantastic lighting and I’m hooked. Vermeer did this time and time again and while some of his works are busy in terms of composition there’s still something about even those works that keeps me hooked.

"A Pair for Pie" ACEO
Coloured pencil on Mi-Teintes
Copyright Rita Woodburne


I suspect that because I’ve started with Vermeer later in the game that it’ll still take some time for me to really figure out ways to incorporate what I admire about his work into my own work. I’ve also just started doing my own still life references and, um... yeah. It needs some work.


With that out of my system I wish all the other Canucks reading a very happy Thanksgiving full of turkey, stuffing, pie and good times. Until next week (and after the tryptophan wears off) keep on art-ing!

5 comments:

Regina said...

I'm a big fan of Van Gogh & Vermeer also. Five years ago while making plans to spend time with a friend in Germany and attend her wedding - hubby asked me where else I would like to go in Europe. I didn't even have to pause to think about it. We went to the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. I had seen a couple of his works in the States, but it was very powerful being surrounded by his work. Magnificent. If you haven't made the trip, I hope you get to go one day.
I also admire Vermeer's work, and I think it's because of the same reasons you cited.
Your pumpkins are beautiful. Happy Thanksgiving.

Rita said...

Thanks Regina!

Wow, what a fantastic opportunity to be able to go and see VG's work in Amsterdam! I hope one day that I'll be able to make it there and see it in person, I imagine it would be quite an experience to be surrounded by his work.
I had the chance to see a good deal of Vermeer's work a number of years ago at an exhibition in Toronto and it was awesome. It's a completely different thing to see work "in real life", isn't it?

Angela Finney said...

I, too, would love to go to the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam.
Thanks for this analysis on what draws you to Van Gogh and to Vermeer. I do see more colorfulness in your horse ACEO. Thanks for the link to Fabritius -- I had not heard of him -- the evovlement from Rembrandt than to Vermeer, possibly via Fabritius is very interesting, thought provoking. I have admired your work for quite awhile, am looking forward to your futher evolvements.

Meg Lyman said...

Mmmm, pie.

I love the compositional shapes in the horse and the colors you used. Awesome!

And Happy Thanksgiving. :D

Rita said...

Thanks Angela, and I'm glad you can see the additional colour in the horse (it means I'm on the right track :D)!
Fabritius' work is just fantastic, it's such a shame that he didn't live longer because I can only imagine the quality of work he would've produced in later years.

Thanks for the kudos Meg!
Thanksgiving was awesome and I was going to do some ref shots for a pie still life but, alas, the subject was consumed much too quickly! ;)