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.


Casey Klahn said...

You're on the ball, Robyn. Another one I love, with the angles and the distinctive Tuscan buildings.
keep up the passion for this drawing habit.
I hope to dig up some sepia colored paper in my flat files or drawing books, or else I'm off to the art store (toddlers in tow), tomorrow.

MrsSnowy said...

I'm slightly obsessed at the moment, Casey :) Thank you for visiting and offering so much positive support. The sepia paper sounds lovely.

Katherine said...

Robin - this is ace! Well done - I've still got to get my pen and inks out I've been so absorbed by the research side.

I'm going to be doing a post soon highlighting the contributions of others - and you and Casey are very definitely going to be a the top of my list!

Laura said...

Robyn, the Met had a huge Van Gogh drawing show last year that Amanda of Craftmonkeys and I went to. It was an incredible experience. Though I've seen his paintings here and in Europe all of my adult life, I was unprepared for the power of his drawings. It looks like you're having and going to have a lot of fun following Van Gogh's path. Good luck and btw, I love your mildew ;D.

Katherine said...

Rita - there's a log of all the contributions to date here

MrsSnowy said...

Many thanks, Katherine. You have a lot to be responsible for, having launched me on this sketching trail. I can't tell you just how much it has meant.

Laura - As though I didn't have enough cause to envy you- you with your wonderful dancing lines and sparkling glass-like watercolours - now you've just given me another! I would love to have seen the VG drawings! Thank goodness for the Met's website. And yes, I'm having great fun.

petroz said...

Vincent van Gogh self portrait found at Geneva flea market by Jules Petroz
watch the video on

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