The first "Studying Under The Masters" course was so well received, Jeanne Oliver quickly was hard at work creating a second one. This one is based in portraits and self-portraits. I could'nt help but sign up.
Week one was taught by Jeanne Oliver and we studied Vincent Van Gogh.
Although I knew his name, had seen copies of his painting "Starry Night" and heard that he had strangely cut off his ear, I didn't know anything about his techniques or what made his art so well know.
Vincent Van Gogh had to start working at the age of fifteen to help support his family. He start out working for an art dealership. He quickly moved up in the art dealing business and was transfered to London. In London he soaked in the English culture and fell in love with his landlady's daughter. She rejected him and this led to his first emotional breakdown where he threw away all his books and would tell people at the art dealership not to buy "worthless art".
During his breakdown he decided to give his life to his religion and become a Methodist preacher, but found himself not to fit in as a preacher. He decided to move to Brussels, Belgium to pursue being an artist, even though he had no formal training. His brother Theo, who worked as an art dealer in Paris, France agreed to support him for a short time.
This is where he began to really develop his skills as an artist and spent the next ten years till his death creating art.
- He used lines and pattern to create movement. It's something I'd never have noticed it if hadn't been pointed out but once I saw it I was in awe. Before I had noticed in his paitning "Starry Night" had a multi- color swirling quality to the but I had no idea it's composed of teeny, tiny lines.
- Van Gogh believed deeply in thoroughly sketching before laying down any paint. In fact he spent over six years only sketching and drawing in order to refine his skills.
What I learned:
- Not to overlook basics. There's always room for improvement and always new ways to use what you are already familiar with.
- Lines of any thickness and length can add to a piece through shading and movement. Entire paintings be made if lines in different patterns.
- Follow your heart and don't give up.
For my inspired by Van Gogh piece, I did a portrait of a woman, like he often did and added swirling lines to the background. I also added lines to the shirt to add depth (I was told the lines look like fur!) and then added my own touch of glitter.