Roses by Vincent Van Gogh: Sessions 9 & 10

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{Finished copy with the original in Gallery 83}

Last Thursday I finished the copy at the NGA.

Now I want to share the last two sessions that led up to its completion.

For the second to last session at the NGA, my goal was to cover the canvas and set up the shot for my final painting day when I would fine tune and unify the entire painting. As I shared before, Van Gogh painted in a very fast, almost frenzied, alla prima method. This painting of Roses was definitely completed like this, and most likely in one marathon 10+ hour painting session. Something he was prone to do. {I wish I had the stamina to paint like that and the time, having a toddler around makes it impossible to have marathon painting days}

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{progress at the beginning of the day, session 9}

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{progress at the end of the day, session 9}

As I was not creating from scratch, but was copying, it took me longer to complete my version. My goal was to get as close as possible to his original painting, with an emphasis on matching the gesture and energy of his brushstrokes.

Once I had covered the entire canvas with the thick impasto paint layers, I took a break from visiting the NGA. This provided time for all the thick paint layers to dry, which I needed to happen before my last painting session.

Because some oil paint colors shift as they dry and because I painted this painting in large sections, it was important to me to dedicate an entire painting session to analyzing the entire painting as a whole. So for the last painting session, I started the day by “oiling in” the dry painting surface with refined linseed oil. This rejuvenated the colors back to what they look like in their wet state.

By bringing up all the colors, I was able to assess how the various parts that were painted separately hung together. I set to work adjusting values and colors in the painting.

Luckily, most areas were fine, or only needed some minor adjustments, and I was able to finish this stage of the process by the end of the day.

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{progress at the beginning of the day, session 10}

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{progress at the end of the day, session 10}

The three main areas that required attention were: 1) lightening the value of the background on the right side of the canvas, 2) lightening the value of the foreground, and 3) adjusting the color and value of the vase.

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{Finished copy}

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{detail of the impasto layers of paint}

The painting is now home in my studio, drying further before I can varnish it. Once the painting is varnished, it will be ready to go home to the kind collector who commissioned me to paint this exciting painting for his wife.

In my eyes, she is a lucky woman