Roses by Vincent Van Gogh: Session 2

van-gogh-roses-at-nga-3 Two weeks ago I found myself back at the NGA working on another 10x8 study of Roses by Vincent Van Gogh.

During this session, I focused on scaling the study down in size to be more in line with what the final full-scale copy will be. I also worked to vary the paint thicknesses to be more in line to the original. During my first study, I did not realize how much of the under canvas peeped through and how that affected the overall effect of the painting.

By leaving areas of the canvas to peep through, the sense of depth is given more meaning in the impasto areas of the painting. Van Gogh was very masterful in how he used texture to reinforce the important areas of the painting and to visually create depth. This painting is almost like a bas-relief sculpture.

It was while working on this second study, I also began to notice how Van Gogh used color temperature to give the illusion of visual depth as well.

Lets look at this detail of the original painting….


See how the background and leaf are almost the same value inside the circled area, and see how the leaf still pops forward visually. Yes, the dark outline helps with this, but I think what really makes this work is that the leaf is a warmer green (yellow-green) then the background green (blue-green).


Choosing the correct color temperature is very important when working on a painting, but it is when I see details like this in a painting that I really begin to contemplate how effective the correct color temperature is in creating three-dimensional effects on a two-dimensional canvas.

See the image below where I edited the detail in photoshop to show the effect if the leaf had remained the same blue-green as the background...

van-gogh-roses-detail copy

Its not as effective. Color temperature is an important tool to use when painting.

Study of Roses by Vincent Van Gogh {finished study}

I am happy to share that the study was approved by my client, and I am now awaiting the arrival of the custom sized stretcher bars and linen so I can assemble the full-sized stretched canvas and begin on the final copy.