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VAN GOGH'S PAINTINGS: Searching Essential Forms and Perspective

Imagine the year 1869 in the city of London, when the construction of Suez Canal was started; imagine in your mind a young man of twenty, walking from 87, Hackford Road, Bixton to 17, Southampton Street. He would go there in Ms. Gouplil & Company, an art dealer firm. This boy is burdened with two things: his poverty and his creativity that the whole world was to remember forever. That young man was none other than Vincent Van Gogh. He was the man who would change the world of art.

VAN GOGH Self portrait with Felt Hat

Van Gogh had two cleat-cut desires in his mind, when he went to Paris. One was to meet and learn from the master artists living in Paris. Another desire was to sell a couple of his paintings. He had succeeded only in fulfilling his first desire.

THE ART: An artist feels burdened when he or she has to say something untold till the day, or reveal something that is still un-revealed. The artist carries a weight of the untold and un-revealed stories roaming within his or her heart and mind. It is not the case that the artistic passion is a feather weight phenomenon; instead it is like an iron block that heavily hammers the artist, instigating him or her to speak out. Van Gogh had revealed his burden of creativity in the recesses of his bordering sanity and mental-illness that frequently sent him into asylums.

Once an artist wants to reveal something, the action happens. A musician takes an instrument in hand; the writer takes a pen in hand. The painter being a person dealing with colours takes palette and brush in his or her. Whatever the form of art a person prefers to unburden the self, he or she tries conveying the passion embedded in him or her; the passion that is like a cloud, full of water; the passion that waits to become a message for the others. While letting the very passion go out, an artist feels very strangely in a sense. He or she experiences something like a current passing through the being and the very flow of the passion makes the artist himself or herself swept out from the scene. That stage of experiencing made Van Gogh such a huge personality in the world of art.

Here the master artist Van Gogh uses his well-established technique of presenting the strain of the emotion. And for that the painter had used short strokes of brushes, depicting the tension the artist was feeling inside of him and the releasing the same through the skill of the brush. (Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

THE ARTIST: In this self portrait Vincent Van Gogh has put the focal point of the painting on his beard. Strangely enough, he had used red for the beard, creating the full-blown tension in the middle of the frame. There after the tones of the colours subdue for tense to somewhat released and finally the tension looks ending in the corners of frame where the colours are in their palest hue.

Van Gogh Oil Painting

Thus the painter like Van Gogh tries to send the message of releasing the passion embedded in the artist’s heart; making us to know how the artist had felt burdened with the untold passion and finally after the release of the same. Van Gogh had suffered from mental illness throughout his life. He had mental disorders known as schizophrenia that had affected Van Gogh's whole life and the career as an artist. It is believed that his most famous painting titled as 'Starry Night' was in fact painted while he was in asylum. Such painful was his life: such fantastic was his life.

Van Gogh Painting With Short Brush Strokes

When I had put my first foot in the world of art, I was mesmerized by the paintings of Rembrandt and Van Gogh. I do not know why I loved Rembrandt, a son of a wealthy man, as I always failed to identify myself with rich men. In my virgin years I desired to become like some of the wealthiest names; but I could never identify myself with those gentlemen, as those men and I had nothing in common. But I could very well identify myself with Van Gogh, as I shared two things with him. The greatness of Van Gogh, in addition to his being a great painter, was that he always owned two things in bulk. One was his madness and another was the emptiness of his pockets. I immediately shared his pocket position, and I had shared his madness a little bit while doing the first solo exhibition of my oil paintings.

The Repear

When Van Gogh had entered of the streets of Paris, he did not know how he was going to make far-reaching influences over the world of art. Nor he knew that he would be remembered for hundreds of years and his life would end only at the age of 37 years. But the city of Paris was under the spell of contagious disease named ‘artistic changes’ in those days. The colourful lava of impressionism was at its highest temperature. Painters like Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley and Edgar Degas were in full swing. Van Gogh recruited himself in the group and suddenly became everybody’s darling. He worked with many of these artists of towering fame. It was the time when the lively paintings by impressionist artists done with striking colours were in demand; it was the time when cloth-less Tahitian women painted by Gauguin were hot favourite in market.

For the bubbling artist in Van Gogh, too, it was the best of the times, perhaps. The master piece paintings like The Red Vineyard, The Night Café, and Bedroom in Arles were the direct result of the Parisian effect on Van Gogh. His colours had become brighter, and the brush strokes pleasantly short. The short brush strokes could be the symbol of his increasing mental unrest due to his deteriorating health, too.

The Road Menders

Van Gogh was not only good in using colours. He would become famous among the ladies, too. Charming of the daughter of his land lady is one of the finest examples how he would be loved by the women. Moreover his fame is due to the efforts of a lady. She was wife of his brother Theo who made her so famous after his death. (Images courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

VAN GOGH : Painting with Emotional Brush

“Instead of trying to reproduce exactly what I have before my eyes, I use colour more arbitrarily so as to express myself more forcibly. –Van Gogh.

Road With Cypress and Star -by Van Gogh

There can be no more detailed explanation of the art of Van Gogh than what he said in his own words. The employment of the artistic skills is a complex one in a sense. The painter’s work is somehow to make a replica of the mental images he or she has made after observing a natural a scene or collection of the objects. An artist desires to share his or her experience with the viewers through the art. Thus the work of an artist builds a bridge between the viewers and the inner traffic that had run through the artist’s mind. Perhaps that is the neat duty of a true artist. Van Gogh wanted to observe his duty cleanly; and he did it. (Images courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Here in the Road With Cypress and Star (1890, the last year of his life), Van Gogh’s art seems to be at its peak. In this painting, he would have intended to charge the canvass with emotional energy. And for creating the expressive effect, he applied variations in brush strokes, variations both in length and power. In his private life, Van Gogh had passed through a turbulent road that was enough to make him restless. In this painting, his feeling of the restlessness has crept out and had taken the route of expression through the brush strokes looking almost chaotic. We can witness this technique of using the hyperactive brush in his other works, too, where he had succeeded in creating wonderful variety in expressive textures.

The artists are creators in their own manner and style, as they are masters of their inner being and emotional world. They conceive ideas; they recreate a world of their artistic vision. While doing this they apply sense and the sensitiveness they own. These artists are like scientists in search of forms. Feelings in their heart play pivotal role.

Wheat Field with Cypresses

While doing their work the artists mostly rely on the forms. With their tools of trade, the colours and brushes, painters create several set of the forms on canvass or on paper. These forms are near to the reality in most of the cases. However that may not be the case always.

Van Gogh Searching for Subjects

The writers and poets have poetic licence from the almighty god. The artists have this type of licence of using their artistic freedom, too. While acting upon this special authority, poetic licence, the painters impose the forms in their paintings. They do so by making the altered state of the forms. However the trend of imposing such transformed forms has never remained static. It has gone of constant change since the days of ancient artists’ work to the modern stock of the artistic outputs. And that is the reason why the forms on the canvasses have always kept changing; the shapes of the objects painted have transformed themselves as per the wishes of a particular artist like picasso and Van Gogh.

In the initial spell of his artistic journey, van gogh found it difficult to concentrate on the work of painting. His using the dark and fast colours was not the style of the time, too. But his painting potato eaters that he painted in the year 1885 gave him the required break and he was then considered as an artist of value. Van gogh’s living in paris and his friendship of impressionist painters helped him to understand the technique of painting the effects of light. His stay inbrussels got him equipped with the knowledge of perspective drawing and anatomy.

The influence of impressionism and the skill perspective painting and anatomy can be seen in his painting potato eaters. His manner of dealing with the colours was robust; his conveying of messages was realistic. He had employed both of these qualities in his paintings. Though he was considered as an impressionist artist, the translation of his skill, onto canvases, as a draftsman was stunningly beautiful.

Remember the impressionists and the cubist style of painters who reproduce the forms as they perceive with their artistic eyes. These artists are like true revolutionist; their outputs, the paintings, hardly conform to the real forms in shape and size. Here the master artist van Gogh uses his well-established technique of presenting the strain of the emotion. And for that the painter had used short strokes of brushes, depicting the tension the artist was feeling inside of him and the releasing the same through the skill of the brush.

Van Gogh Painting European Landscapes

Vincent van Gogh, 1853-1890, painted magical European landscapes and sea-scapes.

Beach with Figures and Sea with Ship, by Vincent van Gogh. 1882. Oil on Paper on Cardboard.

THE ARTIST: Vincent van Gogh, the name does not require any detailed introduction. Van Gogh is one of the most popular artists of all time; so far as the field of painting is concerned. It was a matter of pity, for the artist like him, that his famous paintings were hardly recognized as master pieces during his life time. He went to Paris in 1886 where he became part of the avant-garde art community. He came into contacts of master painters like as Camille Pissarro, Georges Seurat, Edgar Degas, and Paul Gauguin. (Image Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

THE ART: Painting the ‘European Landscapes’, Van Gogh had added magic into the art of painting. Van Gogh’s palette had expressive and emotive colours on it. Van Gogh used these colours as a master impressionist, painting his canvases in the style of the impressionist who were used to paint outside their studios. He used mostly brilliant colour to produce the striking light in his paintings. The energetic application of the hot colours produced a rich impasto surface conveying the ever-present vibrancy. Van Gogh paintings had one special feature that made him an artist painting obvious and contrary to the prevailing standard, acting like a revolutionary painter.

In the above painting Vincent van Gogh, as a master impressionist, seemed to have painted or transformed what he saw, what really was before his eyes. Though the artists imagination is not ruled our here. With his artistic skill Van Gogh had injected beauty in the nature by creating the harmony through the vivid colours. Look at the natural things like green oozing water in the background and the people working on the seashore. Nothing defeats the harmony of the whole painting. The magically looking clouds and the sky speak how the artist was used to paint. The whole painting here, like other famous European landscapes, like his other paintings helps us seeing the nature with a brand new look.

For an impressionist painter, the controlling of effects of light is an issue demanding artistic skill. While painting out of the doors, it is difficult to choose colours; especially when the artists has to work with his or her eyes half shut due to the presence of blazing sunlight. When an artist paint out of the doors, the same set of principles of painting applies; but it is hard to sort out the chaos of colours and keep their tonal values in tact, especially in the impressionist style of painting.

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