We flew from Mexico to Dallas for a family wedding, and had an extra day to see this Van Gogh show at the Dallas Museum of Art on its second to last day of exhibition (it had been open since May). We got there when the museum opened and walked right in, which was great, for there was a colossal line when we were leaving.
This show was profound for me, for I could see in one place, in person, and up close what Van Gogh was trying to do. With one subject, the olive trees, he tried multiple things, and I could see which I liked better, which devices I thought worth emulating and which not.
I’ve been working lately on shadows and directional mark-making, and these paintings were also a lesson in that. For example, these works showed me that I like the sky strokes in painting going up, better than those going across. I also prefer lots of ground to lots of sky. He also kept it simple and did not over work it. His calligraphic pen and ink studies were very much like brushstrokes. I especially like the wet-into-wet work, and prefer heavier paint rather than thinner.
Van Gogh worked on what “captivated him” and this is a large part of a painting’s success. If the artist isn’t captivated initially, no one else will be.
I wish I could have seen this artist’s original colors; apparently what reads as blue was originally lavender. Avoiding fugitive paint is important!
Check out the paintings and close up details in this post of a wonderful show.