Sunday, December 6, 2009

As I play around with color and shape, I am ever more amazed at how Van Gogh could get away with such strong color. He didn't choose all pure colors, though. In L'Arlesienne (Madame Ginoux) the yellow background does not have to fight against the dark green table or the dull flesh tones of her face and hand.

The portrait seems to be all angles and directions - the books, the c
urvy chair, the yellow shapes under her right arm and between her back and the chair - and most interesting to me, the eyelashes projecting from the outline of her face.

Elsewhere, Van Gogh wrote: "I want to paint men and women with something of the eternal which the halo used to symbolize, and which we now seek to give the actual radiance and vibrancy of our colorings."

Should we be depressed or inspired to read that this picture was "slashed on in an hour"? (p. 88, Van Gogh, Meyer Schapiro)

Here's another I wasn't familiar with. Have you seen it? (Maybe not - just noticed it's in a private collection in South America.) Really interesting use of perspec
tive, position of the legs, and means of pulling together the lower and upper halves of the painting by use of color and line. Again there are those little jigsaw bits seen in the first painting - under his right arm and between his hat and shoulder. He's always looking around for a shape to delineate, but somehow it seems right and inevitable.

This one probably took a full 90 minutes. . .

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