Thursday, March 29, 2012

Remembering Van Gogh & Confessions

"Remembering Van Gogh"
8 x 6, oil on linen

Of deceased artists, I think Van Gogh has had probably the biggest influence on my art journey.  I'm so drawn to his explosive use of color and bold brush strokes.  One of my favorite art quotes is by Van Gogh, and you'll find it at the top of my blog, "I dream of painting, and then I paint my dream."  I also wear this quote daily on a charm on my necklace.

An artist friend of mine, Barbara Davis, suggested we all paint sunflowers to celebrate Van Gogh's birthday tomorrow (Friday, March 30).  I thought this would be a nice break from some of the other work that I'm doing right now.  This is actually painted from a portion of a larger painting of Van Gogh's Sunflowers from 1888.

Here's a pre-painting photo of my palette with pre-mixed piles of Van Gogh's colors.  I also included the back of the coffee table book that I used to match the colors.

I find it amazing and sad that Van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime.  How did he keep on??  I guess he didn't have the internet constantly showing him other folks successes and failures... he just painted because he was an artist, regardless of sales, awards, or recognition.

I recently submitted my work into the newly formed Women Painters of the Southeast show, and was declined.  It was truly hard on me.  I didn't paint for several days.  I only told a few close friends about it, but now I'm letting you all know.  I think it was a good thing that I was rejected, because it made me realize that I need to paint because I'm an artist, period.  If I put my love and my joy into a painting, someone, somewhere, will love it and find joy in it.  Just like I love Van Gogh's paintings.  Now I'm not sharing this with you to get sympathy... I'm sharing it because I know there are more of you out there.... struggling to "make it" as an artist, and struggling to remember the reason you started painting in the first place.

I'd like to think if Van Gogh was alive today, that no matter what, if I saw one of his paintings and he wasn't "well known" and in shows and magazines, that I would still be drawn to his work and buy one of his paintings... or if I couldn't afford one, to at least tell him, "You Rock!"

Painting in progress....


  1. I am surprised you were rejected Gina!! I have been in that position more than once and it does take a few days to get back up.What makes us get back up is our love for painting,rejection,if you truly have a passion,can never keep you down for long.
    Well,I think you rock and you have many followers and fans of your beautiful paintings so enjoy this journey,we're all with you.


    1. I'm not surprised once I saw the entries. It's okay, it just encouraged me to work harder :) Thank so much for always being so encouraging, Azra.

  2. Gina, it is so hard getting a rejection and yet I keep telling myself that it's not personal and art is so subjective depending on who's doing the judging. Keep it up and you'll see it as a stepping stone one day! on another note, I just finished reading a book about Van Gogh and it was really fascinating, I can't believe he only painted for a total of 8 or 9 years, amazing!

  3. Thanks so much Karen... I know... hard to believe. His dedication and determination is so inspiring.

  4. Gina - I typed comments using my phone last Saturday and I'm so glad I went back for another look on your blog because they're not here! I had a feeling it didn't "take" when I did it. I wanted to make sure you know how much I loved this post. What an inspiration and encouragement van Gogh was to artists everywhere! Terrific post and I love both of your tribute paintings!!!

    1. It's amazing how you go back to old posts and see comments I've never seen :) Thanks Barbara!

  5. Hi, I'm a new follower of your blog. I recently participated in a local plein air competition (I live in GA). I attended four years of undergraduate study in painting in college. I graduated and continued painting. I ended up teaching art K-12 and got my Masters in Art Ed. I say all of this to describe my life as that of "art-filled." I'm an illustrator and do fine with picking up small jobs alongside my teaching.

    I enjoy painting bucolic, pastoral scenes so I was excited to participate in the Plein Air Competition. I was hugely humbled. . . And, ultimately, I learned a lot. And, it was good to see my work against others. . .Because at this point, I'm a good critic if nothing else (I'm always evaluating my students' works for entry into shows and competitions etc. etc.), and I can see what weaknesses are present in my landscapes.

    You, are an amazing painter and I SO enjoy looking at your artwork on this blog. I find your work very inspiring. I'm sorry to make such a long winded comment, but I really want to say that 1: I'm surprised you didn't get in, and 2: I think we have to take our rejections in stride (which you obviously are).

    Okay, so much writing about nothing from me. . .But thank you for sharing your inspiring work!

    1. Thank you Ms. Amy!!! Going to check out your work now...