While I was studying for one of the more rigorous exams of my medical career, I began painting a vase full of flowers. I’ve been deeply inspired by Vincent Van Gogh for the past few years, and just having purchased more paint, I decided to try a thicker painting style.
This is one of my favorite paintings of flowers by Van Gogh:
Here are the flowers I purchased.
I first sketched the flowers with a pencil. I am straying away from measuring proportions or tracing; that is, I’m not using a ruler to make sure that each leaf is the right size in comparison to each other leaf. I don’t want my paintings to look like photographs these days, but rather colorful depictions of how objects/subjects make me feel when I look at them. It is much better to not measure. It’s more representative of my perception rather than reality.
I began to layer paint, and decided on blues and browns as the color scheme. Van Gogh has a way of using blues and yellows in delicate balance, but I strayed away from yellow and perhaps this was a mistake, as the painting is quite subdued in hue.
I had additional troubles getting the leaves to jump out of the painting, but I found that using very small traces of black about their edges helped bring them out from the background. The background seemed boring to be with simple beige, so I added more browns that I pulled from the table and just a little bit of blue for some movement. Here is the finished painting:
I’ve learned that laying on thicker paint gives dimension and texture to a painting that is not replaceable by other techniques. The shadows from thickened layers add colors that move as the viewer changes his position to the painting. They become alive. In all these years I’ve been painting, I’ve always shied away from using thick paint- only so that I could save money. But it is well worth the price to be able to create effects like these. I want to try using scrapers and knife edges next time to create even more dimension with thicker paint.
I decided to try a self portrait using the same technique.
In this portrait, I used more yellow than I did with the flowers.