Monday, September 3, 2012

influence, inspiration, imitation

Last winter, when I was in Philadelphia, I was thrilled to happen upon the colossal "Van Gogh Up Close"  show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I love van Gogh, and his strokes of color on the canvas inspire and excite me. While listening to the recorded narration of the exhibit,  I heard this memorable description:

 "Van Gogh paints the landscape with the knowledge that he is 
painting the skin of a living and breathing dragon."

This summer, during my week with Marj Lightle and Dori Dewberry, we looked at the work of Canadian landscape artist Tom Thompson in many books I have in my studio. Tom Thomson: The Silence and the Storm is a beautiful book, filled with photographs of Thomson's paintings, and is still available through Amazon and other booksellers. The Group of Seven and Tom Thomson is another great resource for works done by this pioneering group.

For the last year or so, the dazzling work of these artists has rolled around in my imagination. In the painting above, you see some of my thoughts turned into action. How will I divide the landscape shapes into interlocking and interesting pieces? What will happen if I lay color in with short, directional strokes?

Both Marj and Dori did paintings during their stay with me that showed these same influences. You can click here to see

Trying on ideas, each in our own way. Nodding to the masters of the past. Looking to create something of our own. It is all part of the process of art making.

Sort of like this video. Or, maybe not at all.


Kitty Wallis said...

Motion happens

SamArtDog said...

Woo-hoo! Fun painting!!!

Ralph said...

Thank you so much for pointing me in the direction of those two books. We have an exhibition here in Scotland just now that includes three of Van Gogh works have been to visit it three times.