Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Starry starry night

Vincent Van Gogh
28 mm

Starry, starry night
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds in violet haze
Reflect in Vincent's eyes of China blue
Colors changing hue
Morning fields of amber grain
Weathered faces lined in pain
Are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand

When I saw that Philip Hynes of Bears Head Miniatures had sculpted a Vincent van Gogh figure, I was so excited. Van Gogh is one of those artists who everybody has heard of, but who can never be overexposed or uninteresting. He was somebody who had a passion and a vast talent for art, but who was sadly so plagued by mental illness that he didn't last. Still, in his short life he painted over 900 canvases!

The particular painting I've depicted here is one of a series of four sunflower still lifes he did while working in Arles, France around 1888. The most famous of these hangs in the National Gallery in London, but there were three others. One is in a Belgian gallery and another was destroyed in Japan during WWII. This one has long been in a private collection and is not publicly displayed.

Something I was not aware of is that probably the only reason Van Gogh didn't slip into obscurity in death was that his brother's widow, Johanna Van Gogh-Bonger, inherited much of his work and devoted herself to raising its profile - and value - through an artful campaign of gallery showings and publicity. Without her, we'd never have enjoyed so many brilliant paintings, or a rather good episode of "Doctor Who".

"You should sign it 'For Amy' or something, just to confuse the art historians."


  1. Fantastic work on him, especially the sunflower painting

  2. Wow eagle eyeing it I thought "Pickman's model". Then I dive into the post and found that ginger earless dude.

    Not really a fan of him, there's other people I related over like Magritte or Mucha, yet I have to say his life is the epitome of what people doing artsy stuff should learn from: people do their things then compare to social media porn and go downward the spiral. This dude was it's time underdog yet nowadays it's study material.

    Bottom line is, if you can't get money out of what you like doing, at least enjoy it. No matter what, sooner or later someone might like it.

    Last picture is pure magic. You made my day :)

    1. For some reason I imagine Pickman looking more like a heroin-withdrawn Jeffrey Combs...

      Everyone's got their thing about art. The Impressionists please me. Surrealism, especially Dali, largely leaves me cold. Except Picasso's surrealism. I love the luxurious beauty of Art Nouveau and Art Deco (Tamara de Lempicka? Wowza!)... but I also like stuff like the grotesquerie of Otto Dix, and the bleak carnal characters of Toulouse-Lautrec.

      Glad you like the Doctor pic. It's impossible to be a modern nerd and not think of VVG in that context :)

  3. Now I think of it, that mini would do a great diorama. Him painting a model.

    But when you turn the scene you can saw he just drawn a penis (in classical childish fashion).

    The piece could be named "3 days later" to emphasize the time it took him to paint that.

    I should seriously consider doing that.

  4. Beautiful work!!! About 20 years, when they were re-doing the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, they brought a large collection of his work over for a couple of exhibits in the States. I drove from the midwest to DC to see it and I still think about that show to this day. It was a truly moving experience. I love what you did with the mini and the recreation of his painting at this scale.

    1. Wow, what an opportunity! The Art Gallery of Ontario once had a "Turner Whistler Monet" exhibit, I remember how incredible that was... seeing Turner's skies in person :0

  5. Excellent painting and educative tutorial! Great job!

  6. Oh, sir, what a paintjob! I think you succeeded in some pretty difficult challenges. Well, of course in replicating the sunflowers painting, that's so out of discussion; it's pure magic. But doing that palette and those stains on the clothes... seriously, getting the right point for them to look natural is not an easy thing.
    Superb work
    (And extra points for the Doctor! I loved that episode so much!)

    1. I'm happy that this evoked some emotional response from everyone... It was a very special piece for me to paint. I'm glad you feel it all came together; I tried to do little things like match the colours on his palette with what he was painting. I think that even if a paint job isn't technically perfect (and mine never are) it's details like that give a figure its own identity.

    2. I echo everything that Suber said. It is pure magic. When I saw the work on the easel, my eyes bugged out about 3 inches.
      I was in Amsterdam a few years ago and visited the Van Gogh museum. It's overwhelming when you see so many of his works all at once.

  7. Amazing work on your part. What a unique and lovely piece.


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