15 May 2012

Nigel van Short

The Church at Auvers

Over the past weeks I have been producing some watercolour paintings for an upcoming exhibition.  It was a nice opportunity to take a break from those works and participate n the Axarquia Art Challenge.

The topic for the month is "To produce a painting in the style of Vincent van Gogh"  The purpose of the challenges is to encourage artists of all abilities to move away from their familiar work and try new approaches.  Taking on this challenge certainly did that for me.  I had a lot of fun and enjoyed the whole experience of doing this.  I thought that it would be a lot easier than it was as it looks an easy style to emulate - not so, at least for me.  First task was to decide what to do, so off to Mr Google to research some Van Gogh images.

Periana Church
I was rather taken with the image of  The Church at Auvers so that was chosen.  An image of the local church in Periana would be my reference photograph.
I am no art historian or have much knowledge of painters work so I had both images on my computer screen and for each stage I looked across to see how Van Gogh had done it.  That's where the challenge started! - sketching it out.  

I tend to work in watercolour in quite a precise manner (even if I slap on the paint afterwards) and had to keep correcting myself trying to get the perspective correct, the lines straight and the correct information in the picture.  

Then it was time to start with the messy sticky stuff - oil paint, so different from watercolour.  Having very little experience of working with this medium may have been an advantage here, but again I found myself trying to be too particular.  One of the things I could not achieve was that "chalky" look to the painting similar to Van Gogh's original.  Anyway, a very enjoyable two hours was spent applying paint and trying to get the same style of outcome as the original but without much success.
Periana Church,  Nigel van Short.

The value in doing this was what I got out of it rather than the outcome itself but i decided to post the experience here in the hope of encouraging others to try their hand at online challenges.  You may find it is worth the effort and the outcome is the fun of doing it and not an exhibition quality painting.

If you would like to participate in the challenges visit the Axarquia Art SLAP Challenge page here.