Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Vincent Van Gogh

La MousmÉ, 1888, oil on canvas
Self-Portrait, 1889, oil on canvas
 All art courtesy of the National Gallery of Art Images Collection

If you consider which artists are the most influential in your own work, you would likely find that there are reasons for each choice whether it be an element of design, a technique or even a trademark characteristic in personality.  Maybe brushwork is one of those reasons, and if so, what artists stand out as masters of their brushwork?

I'd have to say that Vincent Van Gogh is at the top of my list.  There are plenty of others in the post -Impressionist era that used colored strokes unlike anyone before their time.  But, Van Gogh took his work in another direction, creating some of the most famous and recognized art we know today.


After unsuccessful bouts in other life work, Van Gogh moved to Paris with the intent to give art his full time attention.  He surrounded himself by masters, Camille Pissaro, Paul Gauguin, and Claude Monet, soaking in their influence of the impressionist period.  Largely from their encouragement, Van Gogh changed his hues and subject matter.  His previous work was from his previous employment -- the darker life of the peasants he preached to back in the Netherlands.   The newer colors and subject matter didn't alter his style, though, and the brushwork remained intense throughout his life, if not growing more intense, energetic and frantic with age.
The Olive Orchard, 1889, oil on canvas

At that time, post Impressionism artists were altering how nature, landscapes, architecture and portraits were painted.  Ultra-realism was phased out as spots of color and simple strokes were shedding light on new ways to conjure imagery.  Van Gogh's palette and subjects were altered by the outside world, but it was his touch on the canvas that remained his own.



Van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime, before passing away from a gunshot wound at the early age of 37.  During his lifetime, very few knew and appreciated his work.  Near the end of his life, however, his comrades in art praised his work faithfully.  Van Gogh's life work as an artist produced over 2100 pieces in his short time painting, including portraits, still lifes, landscapes and drawings.  Notably, his work, along with Pablo Picasso's work, is some of the highest priced at auction.

Girl in White, 1890, oil on canva
Thanks to Van Gogh, strong brushwork, regardless as to how it comes about has a solid place in art.


Just this week an article was released by ArtDaily.org on a Van Gogh painting at the Indianpolis Museum of Art where the conservation team is cleaning Undergrowth with Two Figures.  You can read further about the pigments that Van Gogh used in this piece, painted within the last few weeks of his life.

Virtual restoration of Undergrowth with Two Figures

More Information: http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=57398#.UFC5vFTF4rx[/url]
Copyright © artdaily.org
Virtual restoration of Undergrowth with Two Figures

More Information: http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=57398#.UFC5vFTF4rx[/url]
Copyright © artdaily.org
Virtual restoration of Undergrowth with Two Figures

More Information: http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=57398#.UFC5vFTF4rx[/url]
Copyright © artdaily.org


To see more of Van Gogh's works and get to know him better, take a look at the Van Gogh Museum's website, or go visit it in Amsterdam.

Keep Painting, 
Karyn 

For more brush information, check out the Dynasty Brush website.