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The Life and Inspiration of Vincent van Gogh

Hearing his name invokes a plethora of impressions, thoughts, and feelings. More than any of the great masters, there is poignancy to the name, Vincent van Gogh. It has become a name that has gone far beyond the art community, penetrating every lane and byway of social consciousness. Some imagine a very strange man. Others envision an earnest painter or an ethereal visionary. Some think of a committed believer, or pity a demented man. Some admire a creative genius. ALL are correct!

The Paradox of Vincent van Gogh

One of the most beloved artists of all time, Vincent van Gogh is among the most influential of all historical figures. His paintings and sketches sell for millions around the world. On November 13, 2017, one of his painting titled, “Laboureur dans un champ” sold for $81.3 million at a Christies auction. But, sadly, during Van Gogh’s short life of 37 years, he saw none of the benefits.

Vincent Willem van Gogh / 1853 – 1890

During his brief career, he did not experience much success, because he sold only one painting, lived in poverty, malnourished and overworked … In spite of his lack of success during his lifetime, van Gogh’s legacy lives on having left a lasting impact on the world of art. Van Gogh is now viewed as one of the most influential artists having helped lay the foundations of modern art. Van Gogh Gallery

The Genius of Vincent van Gogh

He truly was the living embodiment of persistence, stubbornness, and inspiration. He did not “play well with others,” as his biography illustrates, yet he inspired future generations. His pursuit of pure art drove him to follow, almost stalk, many of the leading artists of his day. Some of them are also known as great masters today. Yearning to glean from their acumen, Vincent always ended up in personal conflicts.

He was bullied by locals, outcast by most of his family, outlawed by a parish priest who sanctioned the villagers against posing for him, rejected by a proposal of marriage, and confined for a time in an asylum. Yet through it all, he painted everything around him. He would go out into the fields, the cities, the cafes, and even in his room to put the world on canvas. Somehow, despite his many obstacles, he was productive.

In just over a decade he created about 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, most of them in the last two years of his life. They include landscapes, still lifes, portraits and self-portraits, and are characterized by bold colors and dramatic, impulsive and expressive brushwork that contributed to the foundations of modern art.

The Legacy of Vincent van Gogh

On 27th July 1890 a gaunt figure stumbled down a drowsy high street at twilight in the small French country town of Auvers. The man was carrying nothing; his hands clasped to a fresh bullet wound leaking blood from his belly. This was Vincent van Gogh, then a little known artist; now the most famous artist in the world. His tragic death has long been known, what has remained a mystery is how and why he came to be shot.  LovingVincent.com

Alas, that cannot be done, and perhaps it would not have changed a thing. One thing I believe: Vincent is loved and admired by more people in the world today, on every continent, that lived on earth in his day. In 2017, an animated film was released about his life and untimely demise. It is entirely composed of oil paintings by living artists. The European Film Academy bestowed upon it the Animated Feature Film Award. Throughout Europe and around the world, it is inspiring lovers of art.

The Fame of Vincent van Gogh

Despite a tragic life, Van Gogh became one of the most recognized artists in history. His experiences with poverty, mental illness, and social reclusion did not diminish the greatness of his artistic depth. Most creative souls start off as “starving artists,” so to speak, but they take great comfort in Van Gogh. I wish I could take one of his paintings back in time, hand it to Vincent, and tell him, “Do not despair, this painting just sold for several million dollars. Here’s the money. We now have your oeuvre. Go and build your art colony!”

Each of the film’s 65,000 frames is an oil painting on canvas, using the same technique as Van Gogh, created by a team of 125 painters.

I consider myself one of Vincent’s fans, and I always love doing paintings, “after Van Gogh.” His genre is fun and alive. As much time I spend drawing off this great artist’s impact, there is never a bottom to the well of inspiration. By sharing my art with the world, I feel connected to post impressionism. My meagre collection can be viewed online.

Ed Lowe
KellGrace
Winter Park, Florida

Vincent's Old Tower

Vincent’s Old Tower is After Van Gogh’s Old Tower at Nuenen

I zoomed in and took only a portion of this scene because I was eyeing the tower. I wanted to make it about the tower. Sorry, I left the ploughman out. I’m sure he won’t mind since he has been gone for over 100 years. 🙂 I named it “Vincent’s Old Tower,” to honor him, and it seemed to fit. The reddish tints in the background sky add mood.

18″ x 11″ acrylic on canvas
on a sturdy MightyWood Stretcher
#17-028

$1150   $900

Towering above the pastoral countryside,
the ancient structure sees all
and can be seen by all.

Vincent’s Old Tower

Vincent van Gogh loved to paint everything around him. He did, “The Old Tower at Nuenen with a Ploughman” in 1884 . . .

Vincent's Old Tower
Vincent’s Old Tower

I find Van Gogh’s textures and treatment of everyday scenes the most inspirational. He could really capture life as it is. Viewing his art makes you feel like you want to be there, living in that moment. More than anything, I want to strive to do that. Vincent’s Old Tower reminds me of my childhood when I was exploring. I would wander everywhere to see what I could and to discover things. It got me in trouble sometimes, but I don’t think I could’ve done otherwise.

My Own Vincent’s Old Tower

It was not a pleasant thing to have the Aurora police call me down from the top of a water tower on top of a factory building. But, man was it cool. First, I had to squeeze through the fence around the factory. Eazy-Peezy. Then I had to find the fire escape ladders on the five story building and get up to the first rung. No prob. After climbing to the top of the flat roof, I found the location of the water tower. Oh man, they had a fence around it way up on the roof. Why would they do that? Who would get that far anyhow?

Oh yeah, I did. But scaling a six-foot wire fence was also Eazy-Peezy. From there it was a relaxing climb up about a hundred steps on a steel ladder. Once on top it was a little tricky keeping balance, but hey – you wanna live forever? But I will admit when I crested the tippy-top of the bubble I was feeling woozy… especially when I saw the flashing cop lights down below. How did they know I was up there?

But wow, I could see the whole town. It was exhilarating. When I got down, my chauffeurs were patiently waiting to escort me home in style. Mom was pissed though.

I just know if I lived in 1888 in Nuenen, Netherlands, I would have visited Vincent’s Old Tower.

ABOUT the artist, Ed Lowe . . .
Email: ed@edplanet.com
Text: 407.267.6977
KellGrace Salon / 110 S. Park Ave / Winter Park, FL 32789

The Red Vineyard is the Only Painting Van Gogh Sold

Why Did I Paint The Red Vineyard?

The Red Vineyard was a fun project. When I do an “after” piece using a master’s inspiration, I never consider copying the work. But usually I utilize the basic layout and make changes to make it mine, usually drastic alterations. In this case I got flipped around by starting with the big beautiful orb of the sun. I like the way mine turned out, then I realized it was on the wrong side! OOPS. Then it increased the challenge as I had to mentally flip everything else. Oh well, I’ve always been a sort of backwards guy anyhow. Also I made the colors different and the people smaller.

Understanding The Red Vineyard

The allurement of hard work is a mystery. There are some people who avoid it at all costs, especially physical work like the fields. Van Gogh is known for his feature paintings of peasants around a table having a meal. They are the potato eaters and they are content, and probably didn’t realize how poor they were. They had food, work to do every day, and each other. After a hard day in the fields, they would gather together for food and relaxation. The aches and pains of the day would wear off and they would sleep well.

The Appeal

On the next day they were ready to get back in the fields. The Red Vineyard was calling to them; it’s harvest time! They loved the earthy smells in the morning, the dew on the plants, and the crisp and cool beginning of another productive day. Nobody told them they were poor.

36″ x 48″ acrylic on canvas
on a MightyWood stretcher
# 17-039

$2,400   $1,800
On display at KellGrace Salon

The workers in the field must hurry before the sun sets.

According to some accounts, this was the only painting Vincent van Gogh ever sold. Van Gogh did the original in 1888. It is on display at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow.

Red Vineyard

ABOUT the artist, Ed Lowe . . .
Email: ed@edplanet.com
Text: 407.267.6977
KellGrace Salon / 110 S. Park Ave / Winter Park, FL 32789

Starry Cypresses Team Up From Van Gogh Inspiration

While meditating on nature and Van Gogh’s propensity to portray it, I thought his solitary Cypress tree in “Starry Night” needed a companion. The result was “Starry Cypresses,” and the after painting looks quite different.

36″ x 45″ acrylic on canvas
on a MightyWood stretcher
# 17-005

$2,800   $2,200

A Companion is Added, and I Call it Starry Cypresses

This is obviously an “after” painting. I love doing Van Gogh pieces. The swirling sky alone makes it an adventure to paint. Mountains and hills are my life-long passion; I will always tend to create them. With Starry Cypresses, I took the liberty to add sweeping mountain slopes, an extra cypress, and more intense swirls in the sky. And instead of a night scene, I changed it to more of a dusk or dawn scene. In my mind the sun has just set behind the mountains and the villagers are settling in for the night. Dusk is a precious time; it is the last chance of a given day to go out and embrace the beauty of nature just before the darkness swallows it up.

The feel and depth generated gives the painting an interesting feel. Standing in front of it draws you in and places you in one of the humble cottages nestled in the hills. This is unfortunate for me, because I live in a flat terrain. There are forests with pine and oak, and there are swamps, but in my area there are no hills.

Van Gogh’s Original is a Great Masterpiece

Here is the original by Vincent van Gogh called  “Starry Night.” It is one of his most famous paintings from 1889. The view of the scene has been identified as being from his bedroom window, looking east.

Through the iron-barred window,” he wrote to his brother, Theo, around 23 May 1889, “I can see an enclosed square of wheat . . . above which, in the morning, I watch the sun rise in all its glory.

So I did it again, Van Gogh was facing east, my painting faces west.

Starry Cypresses is based on Starry Night

ABOUT the artist, Ed Lowe . . .
Email: ed@edplanet.com
Text: 407.267.6977
KellGrace Salon / 110 S. Park Ave / Winter Park, FL 32789

starless cypresses

Starless Cypresses Where Darkness Reigns Supreme

I’m not sure if this one is “after” Van Gogh or not. There certainly is inspiration in the sky, but I went a different direction with Starless Cypresses . . . no stars . . . many cypresses . . . and a village swallowed by an eerie mountain slope. Darkness tends to highlight the natural environment in a special way. Of course, I don’t mean total darkness because then nothing would be highlighted. But even on a moonless cloudy night there is minor light from stars or bouncing off the cloud cover, especially if civilization is nearby.

Vincent’s Original Sketch
Starless Cypresses – A Cosmic Disturbance

My swirling clouds in the sky have their own special blueness, therefore illuminating the scene. It’s alien, mystical, and ethereal, but I don’t think it can be called unnatural because nature has a great number of weird effects. Maybe the clouds came through fronting a storm, or perhaps they are the storm, or even a tornado. It could be a cosmic event because it transcends normal atmospheric activity.

Dark, Starless Cypresses Embrace the Frail Mountain Village

So let’s consider those poor souls in the tiny cottages clustered together in the mountain valley. Why would people live there, it doesn’t seem safe. They could live in a town or city. Are those safe? Where is the greatest threat? Is it nature, or is it humans?

A Wall

The starless cypresses form a wall of security and safety for the people. They stand tall in the dark mountains as if to defy them. They are unaffected by the harsh conditions, they are not afraid of heights, and the darkness only makes them bolder. Peering through their windows, the people see sentinels and guardians. They sleep peacefully.

34″ x 42″ acrylic on canvas
mounted in a frame with a white mat,
no glass, the texture is exposed
# 17-011

$1250   $950

ABOUT the artist, Ed Lowe . . .
Email: ed@edplanet.com
Text: 407.267.6977
KellGrace Salon / 110 S. Park Ave / Winter Park, FL 32789