Monday, September 5, 2011

Makes me Shiver

I'm really struggling to find ways to express myself / start this blog post so I apologize about my inarticulate state. I guess I'm alittle emotional or frazzled about the idea of summer ending so this is the perfect opportunity to introduce my topic today as it really requires few words.

... You didn't think you could get away from my continual blather that quickly, did you? One of my favorite things about Art and all the studies about it is that everyone interprets it differently.  What one person sees as tasteful and beautiful, another might see as base and amateur. There are very few wrong answers because it is pretty much interpretation. During one of my Modern Art classes this past year we discussed how people observe Jackson Pollock paintings.

This is Autumn Rhythm (Number 30) from 1950. If you've seen a Jackson Pollock painting in the flesh the common approach is to stand a lengthy distance away and take it in, in all its glory. 

However have you ignored the urge to see the whole and examine the parts you would meet the paint, the texture and the experience his technique evokes. It all comes down to personal taste. While taking in the whole painting is awe-inspiring, I get the most extreme shivers from close interactions. And this is what I want to share today, we're going on a Van Gogh field trip, getting personal with this brushstrokes. 

This is the painting that started it all. Of all his self-portraits this from 1887 is my favorite because of his choice of color and the beautiful, almost pointillistic brushstrokes. As well all know I. Love. Color.

It's the mustache and beard that get me. I love the contrast of the (and excuse my use of words, but I find it appropriate) gingery and peppermint colors he melds together. From the long thin strokes to the staccato points of maroon and emerald in the collar it is really and truly beautiful. 

Right now there is a grand horticultural version of this painting hanging out side the National Gallery in London. The rolling pastures and cerulean sky of Wheat Field with Cypresses from 1889 is stunning far away and up close.

I can almost smell the oil paint from the texture of the brushstrokes, it makes me really want to paint again.

Probably one of THE most famous Van Gogh paintings Starry Night, 1889, is a masterpiece of the 19th Century. It's a shame that he never got to bask in the admiration and fame he garnered after his death.

These raised brushstrokes give me goosebumps. I'd love to feel the paint, if only that was socially acceptable. I love how he lathers and loads the paint onto the canvas, he doesn't try to disguise his technique. It is exceptionally raw.

This is Farmhouse in a Wheat field from 1888. It seems slightly tame and is very representational, almost seems conventional and something that should have been accepted by artists, critics instead of ridiculed along with most of his other work.

Where there are areas that the paint is fully absorbed by the canvas, there are other areas where he slathers it on. 

A still life, a still life... meet Vase with Gladioli and China Asters, 1886. From this vantage you can already tell the brushstrokes are raised so do you really need to get in close up?

Yep. This close the paint seems reflective, as though it is glazed. Not only you can see the brushstroke as a whole, in the yellow flower you can see the separation of the bristles which creates a heightened texture. Sometimes his movements seem calculated, yet this articulation seems relaxed and graceful. These brushstrokes almost give me visions of Van Gogh sweeping his arms across the canvas and paint dancing through the air. Argh, to be an artist.

Who knows how long I'll be 'dumbstruck' for although I anticipate being able to converse properly soon. This is probably going to be my last post from the UK for a while so for now... Ta!

- Life is good

Listening to: 'Feel So Close' - Calvin Harris
Observations: Last dinner at home with the fam jam, naw and yum
Craving: To stop my 'going-to-Canada' anxiety/ excitement

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