Posted in Art, Painting

Petr in his uniform

my take on van Gogh’s many portraits of Joseph Roulin – I also have a friend who favors one outfit only.

I came towards this portrait with two aims in mind:

  1. I wanted to figure out the energy of this dude for self-preservation purposes. If I can paint a person (not draw – you can draw one mood very quickly) into a cohesive portrait, then I comprehend the very concreteness of that person in that manner of time. Naturally we all change continuously, but not in the space of time one of my painted portraits take me. If the soul that is to be painted keeps flexing from one corner to another I know it is not a good person in front of me.
  2. Petr tends towards the uniform kinda fashion. You know that professor you had that seemingly only wore one outfit? Yep, that is the fashion style of the dude. Which reminded me of the portraits of Joseph Roulin by his bff Vincent van Gogh. I looked up the palette Gogh uses – therefore relying on the cheaper Prussian blue, and naturally the complimentary of all this is yellow (ocher, being very orange and all.) I had my main palette. I enjoy limited palettes, so added just a little bit of ivory black, burnt sienna as a red, titanium white, and touches of cadmium yellow on the hands –> which I removed as much as I could with a knife… it did not belong in this portrait.

And behold, my best portrait to date:

Petr in his uniform: Lena Adams, 2018. Oil on wood. 40x30cm.

It was a blessing to work full figure. When you rely on selfies to paint (whether you depend on the charitable RedditGetsDrawn, your own selfies, or from the PortraitParty) there always seem to be just head shots available. By making your own source material, i.e. getting a friend to sit for you, the dilemma of the evisceration of main body parts is all a thing of the past.

And also, my psychological investigations reached its conclusions. I moved in with the dude, and so far I am….. happy?


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