Thursday, July 25, 2019

Vincent and his Sunflowers

Vase with Sunflowers (c. 1888)

Vincent van Gogh created a series of sunflower paintings using the same vase of flowers as his subject. As a result, the flowers look fresh in some paintings and rather faded in others.

He varied the background and table colors in each painting, and he signed each one in a slightly different position on the vase.

To recreate his Vase with Sunflowers, we first set up a vase of sunflowers of our own.

We noted the various textures in each flower and that van Gogh often used thick layers of paint to create similar textures in his paintings.

How could we create similar texture in our own paintings? Here's what we did.

First, we spread a layer of joint compound over a 9" by 12" canvas panel. Then, using various tools like palette knives and plastic "sporks," we created the composition of our painting using textures instead of colors, and we allowed it to dry overnight.

The next day we painted it with acrylic paint, working the paint carefully into all of the nooks and crannies. We found that we had to turn the painting in different directions to ensure that the joint compound was completely painted.  

First, we selected a color for our background, so that we could paint the flower petals in the foreground over the background edges.

We used stiff round bristle brushes to dab the paint into the crevices of the textured joint compound.

We painted each flower one at a time. Then we went back and added details to each flower. We completed the table and painted and outlined the vase.

Finally, we signed our first name on the vase, just the way Vincent signed his. 

Important: If you try this project, be sure to use prepared joint compound (not powdered) 
so that it will not be inhaled. In addition, everyone should wear vinyl gloves 
to keep the compound off the skin. 

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