Wednesday, June 19, 2013

After Van Gogh, Patience Escalier, by Kim Blair

After Van Gogh Patience Escalier
17x15 oil on canvas
by Kim Blair

This is the second copy of an Old Master that I created for the final project in my painting course at the university.  Vincent painted the original in August of 1888.  He wrote to his brother Theo about a new model he was going to use to portray a peasant... an old man named Patience Escalier who was formerly a cowherd in Camargue, and now a gardener in Arles.

Van Gogh was inspired to infuse his work with more symbolism and mystery through the arbitrary use of color and brush work.  He chose to render this portrait of Patience with deliberate crudeness in order to portray his ideal of a rustic rural peasant from southern France.

I encountered many interesting challenges trying to copy Van Gogh's Portrait of Patience Escalier.  Energetic brush strokes that seem random when you are experiencing the painting as a viewer, made more sense when attempting to follow the mark making trail with a loaded paint brush applying the pigment to the canvas.
As I tried to match his color choices I started to see the connections  within the hues... while attempting to replicate his brush work I began to achieve an understanding of the order within the seemingly chaotic marks... especially in the blue background/sky brush strokes surrounding the straw hat.

The crudely rendered paint application and brush work of Patience's weathered face is mirrored throughout the painting.  Via his deft mark making Vincent successfully portrayed how this peasant/gardener was completely integrated with his rural life/surroundings... he had essentially become one with his environment.

Symbolism at its best!


Friday, June 7, 2013

After Van Gogh, Armand Roulin, Oil Painting, by Kim Blair

 After Van Gogh, Armand Roulin
by Kim Blair
oil on canvas
After Van Gogh, Armand Roulin
 beginning drawing in black oil paint of my copy

One of the reasons (as many of you may already know) that I have been posting less often for the past couple of years is that I am taking classes at the University, so I need to conserve my painting time for mostly homework and assignments.

Our final assignment for the painting class this term was to copy an Old Master, so of course I chose Van Gogh... I know many of you are not surprised by my choice of artist but you might be interested to see that I chose to copy one of his Portraits (well actually I did two, but the other one I will post at a later date) rather than his sunflowers.

Van Gogh had a love of portraiture... 'modern portraiture' as he called it, and he wanted to capture the 'essence' of the sitter before him rather than a perfect likeness.

 Armand is the sixteen year old son of the postman Joseph Roulin ( Joseph's portrait with his heavy beard posed in his dark blue 'Postes' uniform is one of the more famous portraits by Van Gogh.)

Vincent chose to paint a portrait of each of the five Roulin family members using different colors and various poses in order to portray each individual within the family unit.  Always the fast painter, he completed the portraits during a fews days near the beginning of December in 1888.

One little tid-bit  of information from the book I used for my research (Van Gogh Face to Face) said that the Roulins were a poor family when compared to Van Gogh.  Joseph Roulin housed and fed a wife and three children on 135 francs a month, while Theo sent Vincent 250 francs a month to live on (Theo paid for and sent Vincent's paints and supplies on top of this amount.)  Vincent, a single man found it difficult to serve on 250 francs a month!

*I wonder what the equivalent of 250 francs would be today... anyone know?