Thursday, June 28, 2012

"Van Gogh Up Close"... to Singleton Lake From Afar

The past Monday was spent visiting the National Gallery in Ottawa with long time friends Wilf and Mary Eagle... viewing the long-awaited exhibition of more than forty works by Vincent Van Gogh, along with  large number of etchings, drawings, rare photographs and Japanese prints. This premier exhibition will only make this one Canadian stop on its North American tour.

There is of little doubt that it will be the last opportunity during my life time to view these works collectively, since they are on loan for this single occasion from a number of important world gallery and private collections. Deb (also a huge Vincent fan).. and I decided to take a break away from the Gallery in the company of these special friends to immerse ourselves in this smorgasbord of joy and paint. This decision will remain a highlight for this entire summer... for us all.

The two guest curators of the exhibition, Cornelia Hormburg and Annabelle Kienle together pulled off a coup... using the placement of galleries containing Van Gogh's paintings intermittently placed alongside galleries which housed the innovations in the Arts of his time in photography, etching, Japanese print making and Impressionism. Each of these.. in their own way fuelled Van Gogh's relentless search for new ideas and techniques and served as catalysts of change in his constantly morphing painting style interests and process.

This clever use of proximity was the underpinning strength for the exhibition in which the monumental paintings such his "Sun Flowers" and "Irises'... for which he is best known were noticeably absent. This fact however, has no negative influence in how the exhibition has been received by its thousands of viewers since opening in early May. Like us... Vincent's legion of followers continue to be enthralled and captivated by the brilliance  his paintings and genius.

I returned home... afire with  renewed excitement to paint as a  result of this up close encounter. After seeing his spontaneous ease in applying pigment and his... at times manic yet intoxicating use of brushwork, a clearer goal for one's own work can be felt. It echoes Vincent's own feelings a age 27years... as revealed in a singular section in a letter to his beloved brother Theo in June of 1880:

"I feel a raison d'etre! I know that I could be quite a different man!
... There's something within me."

His totally alla prima approach to painting is a valuable lesson for all of us who vale outdoor painting. I certainly will pay greater heed than I have in the past to maintaining fluidity and fearlessness in my painting style. I feel after seeing this exhibition as he did. There is something more.. within "Me!"

Yesterday, I had the unusual pleasure for me... of getting together to paint with seven up state New Yorkers at the invitation of my painting friend... fellow artist and "once upon a time long ago" grade seven student Phillip Chadwick to paint with this group at his new home located on Singleton Lake, just one half our north of Rockport. I arrived around 9:30am and got the grand tour by Phil around 'Paradise".. while we awaited the arrival of the other painters.

By 10:00 all members were present and we each set to work finding and setting up[ quickly at our first location. Mine was right at his front door facing on to the lake and looking out from a darkened bay past  point. Lots of structure... great depth of space and great colour in all three parts of this landscape so I quickly jumped into action. I had considered begging off earlier in the morning due to a very painful back, but decided to make an effort to show up and to gauge my feelings as the day wore on. After the two hour session required to complete the painting posted today,I soon realized the folly of pressing my luck further. So iI reluctantly packed up my gear... said my hasty goodbyes an headed straight back to Rockport to my chaise.. my ice packs and a quiet afternoon cooling out. I visited my chiro this \morning to get treatment under way and feel much better already!

NO further gardening or weeding(the culprits responsible for my back's complaint)... until further notice! Here is the 16X20 inch oil sketch completed in about two hours entitled; "A Summer Symphony on Singleton Lake" I had thought about titling it "Summer's Back!" HA HA!!! Hope that you enjoy it!


 Do treat yourself... if this exhibition is offered nearby! Its worth the time... effort and $$$




"A Summer Symphony on Singleton Lake"- oil sketch on canvas16x20 inches





A view of the site and easel set up on Singleton Lake


Good Painting to ALL!!

14 comments:

  1. I have enjoyed the flowing composition of your painting - it's exciting to the eye and restful at the same time.

    Ouch! I hope your back is fixed soon - gardening is such a dangerous game and weeds are tricksy opponents.

    Best wishes.

    ReplyDelete
  2. When I was younger, I used to really not like Van Gogh's work. Following an old blog titled "Paint the Masters," I began reading about Van Gogh's life and studying some of his works and came to not just like his work, but to actually love and admire his works. I even copied one of his own paintings for myself and must admit it is one of my favorites. Your day visiting the exhibit sounds magical, Bruce.

    Your painting facing the lake is also beautiful, but I find myself feeling your discomfort in your back. I don't think I could have done it, at least not for long enough to finish a piece. It is beautiful, like all your work.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi there Lisa!... Thanks for your visit... and for your praise regarding the painting!

    OUCH!... is absolutely the most correct word to describe the past week or so! Every move hurts! Thank heavens for the ice packs and analgesic liniment!

    Even the painting "zen state" failed in the face of it all! Am listening to the ol' bod... as of yesterday! HA HA!!!

    Good Painting and better luck with the stormy weather! Hang in there!

    Warmest regards,
    Bruce

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi there Sherry!... Magical is the right word to describe the whole experience! I still haven't landed back on earth... even yet!

    I have always felt a certain kinship with Van Gogh... with not only his painting process... but in regard to parallels in our personal lives! I will leave it at that! What's in the rear view mirror... is behind us! It's only today that really matters! I've learned to live my life in that fashion!

    Thanks for dropping by and for adding your interesting and pertinent observations!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,
    Bruce

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh Bruce how wonderful for you and Deb and friends to visit Van Gogh. Your painting is amazing. It certainly shows the affect Van Gogh had on you. Your title is perfect, it truly looks like a symphony. Sorry to hear about your back, it wise to leave the gardening to the Man, that's what I used to tell Mike whenever we had to do home repairs, I would say, I call the Man! Whomever that was at the time, a plumber, or carpenter. In your case my friend, that would be a gardener.

    Feel better and happy painting to you.

    All the best to you and Deb,
    Joan

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi there Joan!... It was a gala day and event for us all! We thoroughly enjoyed our time together and the Vincent visit.... outstanding Joan!

    The huge... and lasting effect that this man has had on Western Art clearly weighs him in on the same level as all masters ... past or present. It is only sad that he died without his due recognition and in such sad circumstances.

    However... it is my opinion and firm belief that such genius lives out of its time and place... as do the actual artists themselves.They are completely misunderstood... and most exist on a totally different plane than the rest of the society that they live with.

    They live and work as social outcasts. Perhaps it is this fact alone that allows them top soar beyond..."the ordinary"... folks like you and I! Paradoxically... their "gift" is as well... their "torment.

    Canadian Group of Seven member AJ Casson once was quoted as saying:

    "Time is the only critic."

    That can certainly be said to be true for Vincent Van Gogh. Time has proven his genius and gift seven fold. I believe that Vincent would be happy with that knowledge. He died... living a fruitful life... one which is a legacy to all of us who love and value Art!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,
    Bruce

    PS I love the gardening... it is another joy for "Me"... no matter the cost! Hey!... I lost 10 pounds in the process!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I like the feeling of open-air freshness in this one Bruce. Maybe the spirit of Van Gogh has inspired you, despite the discomfort!

    All the best,
    Keith

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi there Keith... Thanks for your visit and gracious remarks!

    I also felt this piece top be a fresh... lively and painterly piece as well! It fairly "painted itself"... start to finish! No wondering or wandering... just fun!

    Perhaps the pain benefited both Van Gogh and myself. Pain can indeed motivate and direct personal feelings as you are well aware I'm certain!

    Thanks for dropping by Keith!

    Good Summer Painting!
    Warmest regards,
    Bruce

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great post Bruce and great painting! Beautiful lighht and colour. I can't wait to see the exhibit!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi there Kim!... Thanks for visiting and for your encouraging comment!

    You and I both share a great admiration for Van Gogh's work... and there is a bit of "Him" in both our methods for certain!

    Don't miss the exhibition... it's outstanding! Make it a summer treat for you, Harry and the family!

    Good Painting and Happy Summer!
    Warmest regards,
    Bruce

    ReplyDelete
  11. Beautiful painting Bruce, If I can I will go to see Van gogh show.

    ReplyDelete
  12. HI there Jesus!...Thanks for dropping by and for the compliment!

    Hope that you are getting in some solid summer plein air work as well. Great weather for it!

    Do take the time to go! You won't regret it... it's a great opportunity to get real... "Up Close" to ... and personal with a true master of outdoor painting!

    If you ever want to come down this way for a paint... just give me a call at (613) 659-3925. I'll show up! HA HA!!!... and would love to show you around my part of Paradise!!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,
    Bruce

    ReplyDelete
  13. nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  14. If you want to make your home look really beautiful, paintings are the best way to do it believe home looks very well decorated. If you are looking to find Oil Paintings Reproductions at very economical price or cheap rates, you must visit wahooart.com

    ReplyDelete