Thursday, February 08, 2007
Did Van Gogh get his sleeve in the ink?!
I wonder how many people over the years have sat stabbing at a piece of paper with a bamboo pen trying to channel Van Gogh. If I ever make contact I'm going to ask him how he avoided getting his sleeve in the ink.
I revisited that marvellous learning resource at the Metropolitan Museum of Art website How Van Gogh Made his Mark as part of my ongoing exploration of the artist. I wanted to move on from charcoal to ink. I don't have a reed pen but I had a virgin Hake Series Bamboo Pen and some rather nice brown inks. What I was interested in was how VG made all his hatches, dots and curlicues. I've concluded that curlicues are definitely beyond my present level of skill. I think the Met. site is for children but since my inner child is alive and well it suits me down to the ground.
I then went off to the Vincent Van Gogh Gallery - what a debt we owe to the creator of this site! The Fine Line Artists February Artist Project will be long over before I have sampled more than a morsel of what is on offer there. The drawings are amazing. I was totally unprepared for the extent of VG's genius for sketching. I am inspired by everything but spent a good deal of time look at Harvest in Provence and the Courtyard of the Hospital in Arles 1889.
I look around and realise how blind I have been until now. I take lots of photographs but I never really know how to exploit them in a non-literal way.
So, taking baby steps, with eyes wide open, I'm going to follow Van Gogh on a journey through Tuscany. For sure we are both going to be happier when the weather warms up a bit and we get out of my tiny, windowless studio into the countryside.
First attempt above is Olive Farm - Cortona. I lightly drew myself a little map of the design of the landscape in 2B pencil and then went in with the ink. I've made quite a mess in spots and of course, managed to drag my sleeve through the ink.
I think you will find a link on Katherine's blog of all our fellow travellers on this Van Gogh Journey.