Today I will buy acrylics and attempt a tribute painting. A tribute painting is similar to a tribute band. They play music in the style of their favorite group, listening very hard in order to play their songs with accuracy.
Watching the movie “Loving Vincent” has caused me to go “medieval” and find canvas and paint instead of the usual digital media that I have used the last twenty-five years. Whoa, wait! Good grief, it’s been thirty-three years. Umm, is this doable?
I haven’t decided on a particular Van Gogh. I’m torn between one of the cypress trees, and the portrait of Armand Roulin. Different stokes emphasized. Right now I’m still breaking things apart. What color fields were laid down first? What were the edges like? Where was the light coming from? What would the “topographical map” look like?
I remember working on another “tribute work” when I was in Korea during the winter of 1973. I had a lump of plasticine that had carved into dozens of heads. Each one unique and challenging with various expressions. Each one lived for about a week before being mushed into a ball, ready for another head to come. Sometimes I would carefully shave them of all facial and scalp hair.
Once I removed the skin to reveal the facial muscles, and then I went down to the bone, leaving a plasticine skull. I had a lot of time on my hands. I also created a huge amount of sculpture but only one lump of plasticine to show for it. I still have that mis-shapened lump in my garage, embedded with decades of garage dirt.
One day I found a pretty complete kit of oil pastel sticks. Someone had returned back to the states, and left the somewhat messy oil sticks behind. I thought that I might try to copy something I liked.
I picked “Starry Night” by Van Gogh. I had a pretty decent sized print that I studied with a magnifying glass. I was determined to do my best to create the feel of the painting. It was two different types of media, but I could give a good color treatment, and some of the strokes came across pretty well. The real neat thing was that I began to “know” the painting. It was a very cold winter on the DMZ, but I was warmed by the “old light” of Vincent’s swirling skies.
I finished the work but didn’t bring it home. When I left I was hoping that it was a permanent going, but I couldn’t take the chance by packing up my personal things. I left everything in my part of the quonset hut, as if I would be back in two weeks. “Starry Night” was tacked up, on the curving wall, above my bunk. Defining space and star dust in a flat rectangle, but still gently curving as physics would demand. .
Okay, that was forty-five years ago. It’s about time for another tribute piece. I did do another digital tribute work of Michelangelo’s Adam touching God’s finger. Wow, did I learn about that painting. I never knew that God was bringing the gift of Eve wrapped up in his billowing cloak, tucked in with a few cherubs. Everyone is focused on the two fingers almost touching, missing the action under the cloak.
I thinking about getting some big tubes of yellow, so maybe my choice is made.