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a study of Vincent

I started a new online class last week, called Studying Under the Masters, Part 2, with Jeanne Oliver and five other teachers. They will be inspiring us with artists of the past, as we learn about each of them…their lives, their art, their style…while seeing how it can make an impact on our own artwork.

This week, the master artist was one of my very favorites…

A Study of Vincent – 4 x 6 inch gouache on watercolor paper

It felt good to learn about Vincent van Gogh again. It wasn’t that long ago, that I was standing in front of his paintings, in a museum made just for his works. I was changed by the experience of being at the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and every time I look at his work, I am inspired to keep painting. 

What I have enjoyed about this latest class, was the attention the teacher has given to Vincent’s sketches, drawings, and watercolors. Looking at his mark making in detail, we were encouraged to find patterns in them. One of the assignments was to make a grid and recreate all the marks we see in a particular sketch. It was a great way to get the feel of his pen marks, and eventually, his brush strokes (which we all love!)

I really enjoyed the pen sketches, more than I thought I would. It IS a bit scary to draw without the ability to erase. But it teaches you to be confident and just “go with it”! I used a variety of pens for these assignments, from a Pilot pen, to Sharpie fine point, and Pitt pens. I also used charcoal soaked in olive oil (apparently, van Gogh did the same thing), and sepia ink that I purchased in Florence, Italy, many years ago…used with a watercolor brush. I also used a variety of papers, from Japanese calligraphy paper, to cream colored drawing paper, to my own “aged” paper…made to look old by soaking in tea.

Though we start a new “master artist” this next week, I do think I will be doing more of these sketches and this kind of brush work, in the future.

For a study of his sketches and paintings, why not spend a little time at Wikiart? I loved browsing through all his art work, from his humble beginnings and his wonderful peasant sketches…to his exceedingly colorful oil paintings in Arles and Auvers Sur Oise. It is time well spent!




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