Research point, Van Gogh pen and ink drawing

13 Nov

In 2008 I did little EU traveling and visited few of the big museums and galleries. In my stay in Amsterdam I visited Van Gogh’s museum where I saw in person Gogh’s amazing work exhibiting on the third floor. Few other artists work and photography was showcasing on the other two floors wich one of them was the exhibition of the english painter and illustrator John Everett Millais (1829–1896). Picture bellow was taken by me.

For this research point we had to find an outdoor pen and ink drawing by Van Gogh and make some notes on the types of marks he made.

I have chosen the ‘Cottage Garden’ from 1888, where he used reed pen, quill and ink to make the marks.

There is so much going on here, so much energy and yet how everything perfectly balanced, expressive and descriptive is. His mark makings here are: straight lines, different kinds of circles, dots, curved lines, longer and shorter lines. He has done hatching, cross hatching, stippling, a barrage of multi directional slashes and whorls.

It looks like is a beautiful bright day where the sky he describes with very light stippling dots and left plain blank paper for the cottage wall. Stippling we can also see in the garden describing the gravel and the gravel path and multi directional slashes and whorls describing flowers and grass. The taller plants on the left he describes with longer straight lines, the leaves on the trees with circular scribbling marks and horizontal and vertical lines for the gate.

Looking and studying his marks in this drawing, really made me try to do, and I did my version of it by using dip pen and black indian ink on a less tooth A4 size paper. It wasn’t easy as it looks and it took quite time to do it, too! Please see the picture bellow.

I later did study of another outdoor drawing by Gogh, the ‘Saint-Rémy Olives’ done in 1889 where he used reed pen and brown ink and made my own version of it by using black and grey felt tips. Please see the pictures bellow.

Picture bellow is my version using felt tips.

While in Amsterdam I also visited Stedelijk Museum, the ‘Eyes Wide Open’ exhibition, showcasing a selection of paintings, photographs, film and video art works, and sculptures.  It was one of the most interesting contemporary art I have seen and the exhibiting artists were all young: Tjebbe Beekman, Maaike Schoorel, Paul Chan, Martha Colburn, Brody Condon, Melvin Moti, Rachel Harrison and David Maljkovic. The majority of them revealed –  directly or otherwise – clear sense of involvement with political or social issues, demonstrating a clear engagement with society, politics and (art) history, communicating freely with the past, present and the future.

As well as the work by the young talented artists, the museum had also pieces by a few big names like the German artist Martin Kippenberger who died in 1997 at very young age. Kippenberger had an ingenious way of relating his own personal history with that of his country. Taking pics is allowed inside the gallery, I took quite few and keep all the little exhibition booklets. I will share here some of my pics and the first one bellow is a picture I took of Kippenberger’s 1985 painting, ‘Three Houses with Slits’. In this painting he describes three places with very strong emotional connotations: the Betty Ford Center (an alcohol treatment centre and drug rehab clinic), a Jewish primary school and Stammheim prison.

Next picture bellow is from ‘Capsulated Society’ series by the Dutch painter Tjebbe Beekman.

And last picture bellow is the installation by the New York born artist Rachel Harrison who is popular for her humor that she uses to criticise today’s consumer society.


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