History of Art #12 – Van Gogh

Our History of Art summer project moved forward from the Impressionists to the Post-Impressionists and first up was Vincent Van Gogh.  We looked through my book of Van Gogh paintings, exploring the thick brush strokes, the vivid use of colour, the use of fluid line and pattern and we discussed the emotions each work seemed to convey in order to fix the connection between Van Gogh’s style and the Expressionists he influenced.

We all love ‘Starry Night’ so it hogged the limelight for discussion and in terms of inspiring our art work.  While we listened to Don McLean’s song ‘Vincent’, we got busy creating.  My 9 year old used metallic and glitter gel pens to draw a night sky filled with comets, my 8 year old used the same pens to draw a castle with a swirling sky above which he created by painting with his fingers and my 6 year old painted a swirling sky using a brush and then finger painted the yellow stars.

12 - Van Gogh - O

12 - Van Gogh - E

12 - Van Gogh - AR

My 12 year old was the only one who took his inspiration from Van Gogh’s flower paintings.  Of course, he had to channel his inspiration via Minecraft.  He also worked on a very small scale to produce his drawing.

12 - Van Gogh - AB

I went with the majority and based my art journal page on ‘Starry Night’.  I decided not to reproduce a landscape or even skyscape but just to use it as inspiration for pattern and colour.  I used various blue acrylic paints, including a pearlescent and a metallic, and then dotted yellow and gold paint for the stars.  The journal page lacks a focal point so it doesn’t necessarily work asthetically but I enjoyed swirling the paint around.

12 - Van Gogh - Laura

You can hop over to my art blog, Pict Ink, to see my Van Gogh inspired Crazy Critter.

Starry Night

This week’s Documented Life Project prompt was simply “stars”.  I immediately thought of Van Gogh’s painting known as ‘Starry Night’, which has been one of my favourite paintings since early childhood and decided to use it as the inspiration for my Art Journal page.

I started by creating a monoprinted background using my gelli plate.  I layered up a light blue paint then a mid-blue pearlescent paint in order to create a sheen and lustre to the night sky.  I then added a stronger blue and dragged swirling marks through it using a pencil top eraser that I had snipped to turn it into a tiny comb.  Added to the previous layers, this then became the swirling sky for my piece.  Once dry – because I am learning my lessons about not rushing things – I splattered gold paint onto the background.  Having enjoyed the loss of control that came with splattering and splashing to create my Autumn journal page a few weeks ago, I deployed that technique again in order to create the stars.  I had so much fun splattering that I did not notice I was spraying not only all over the table but also the kitchen seats and wall.  Oops.  It all cleaned up OK thankfully but it took a lot of elbow grease.  Another lesson learned.  It created a lovely, glistering look to my page though.  With the bigger blobs, I dragged a toothpick from the centre in order to create rays for the stars.

While the sky was drying, I decided to make some little houses.  I followed the steps laid out in a tutorial I watched recently because the houses created by the artist looked cute and naive and I liked the collage element.  I gathered together some scraps from gelli prints and also some pages from a book.  The little houses were so easy to make that I was able to construct them while watching a movie.  Multitasking.  I ended up making way more houses than I needed but that meant I could choose the ones that worked best on my page and I also have some spare for another project.  I adhered my little row of houses to the bottom of the page to be my little village nestling under the stars.

So here’s my Art Journal page inspired by Van Gogh and created to the tune of Don McLean’s ‘Starry Night’.  It’s a big improvement on last week’s terrible DLP page.

Week 42 - Stars