Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Sight of The Stars Makes Me Dream- The in Love with van Gogh Project by k Madison Moore

"The Sight of The Stars Makes Me Dream"
~van Gogh~

The  in Love with van Gogh Project

14" x 26" x 2" van Gogh Inspired Oil Painting on Canvas

I put and incredible amount of work and research to this composition.
It's amazing when you constantly read about the Masters yet there is 
always something more to learn.

A copy of this History is included with the painting



This is the second composition for my In Love with van Gogh Project. My intentions are to paint 12 paintings depicting different stages and events in van Gogh’s life. This painting is of a peaceful environment from my imagination for Vincent to look out at the Rhone River into his own painting, Starry Night Over The Rhone.

I can imagine him sitting  here alone in this yellow chair enjoying his wine and grapes, smoking his pipe, a few books by his side and dreaming in this starlit room.

Vincent said: “For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the starts makes me dream. “ Thus the title for this painting.

Starry Night depicts the view van Gogh had from his window during his hospitalization in the mental asylum in Arles in 1889. Such beauty in his mind while his presence was in such a terrible place. I was going to paint his room at the asylum but it is so sad, too sad for me, so I decided to paint a beautiful space for him and his beautiful work. A space where I would rather envision him.


Why I included The Piano

Beethoven, Berlioz and Wagner are composers mentioned in Vincent’s letters. van Gogh attended various Wagner concerts with his brother Theo, and was most impressed with his music.
van Gogh was convinced of the link between color and music. He even took piano lessons in order to better understand the gradation of color tones, and to harmonize them. In fact, harmony is the key word here.
van Gogh would often make comparisons with music in his letters: “This bloody mistral is a real nuisance for doing brushstrokes that hold together and intertwine well, with feeling, like a piece of music played with emotion.’ ~ van Gogh ~

My impression of a beautiful vase of Vincent’s Sunflowers from one of his paintings and a lit candle from another enhance the beauty of the piano adorned with branches from the  Blossoming Almond
Tree, one of Vincent van Gogh's best known paintings and is noteworthy in that both van Gogh and his closest family held the work in high regard. 

This painting is one of a few that van Gogh produced with a particular person in mind, his brother and sister-in-law's newborn baby. van Gogh was deeply moved when Theo and Johanna chose to name the child Vincent whom he always felt deep affection for. van Gogh painted Blossoming Almond Tree to honor his namesake and it remains a tour-de-force, both Vincent's fondness for his nephew as well as the Japanese art which he so greatly admired.

Blossoming Almond Tree by Vincent van Gogh

A couple other small snippets from Vincent’s work are a few of his books under that table and the little Kingfisher bird looking on somewhere here. Can you find him?

Only a couple of chalk drawings give us a clue, portraits of musicians performing. Here is an
original sketch of one.

Violinist  / Sketch by Vincent van Gogh

van Gogh’s Sunflowers

van Gogh began painting Sunflowers in late summer 1888 and continued into the following year. They were to decorate his friend Paul Gauguin’s bedroom upon is rival at Arles, The Studio in the South where Vincent had dreams of a studio for artists to paint together. He knew that these were the favorite flowers of Gauguin.  The paintings show sunflowers in all stages of life, from full bloom to withering. The paintings were considered innovative for their use of the yellow spectrum, partly because newly invented pigments made new colors possible.

This is part of a letter that Vincent wrote to his brother Theo prior to Gauguins arrival about his Sunflower Paintings.

To Theo van Gogh. Arles, Tuesday 21 or Wednesday 22 August 1888

I have 3 canvases on the go, 3 large flowers in a green vase, light background (no. 15 canvas), 2) 3 flowers, one flower that’s gone to seed and lost its petals and a bud on a royal blue background (no. 25 canvas), 3) twelve flowers and buds in a yellow vase (no. 30 canvas). So the last one is light on light, and will be the best, I hope. I’ll probably not stop there. In the hope of living in a studio of our own with Gauguin,  I’d like to do a decoration for the studio. Nothing but large Sunflowers.

Next door to your shop, in the restaurant, as you know, there’s such a beautiful decoration of flowers there; I still remember the big sunflower in the window. Well, if I carry out this plan there’ll be a dozen or so panels. The whole thing will therefore be a symphony in blue and yellow. I work on it all these mornings, from sunrise. Because the flowers wilt quickly and it’s a matter of doing the whole thing in one go.


Initially, it seemed like a good idea for Paul Gauguin to paint with Vincent van Gogh (in October of 1888).  His working visit, however, lasted just two months. Things didn’t work out that way in the end.
The two artists had their worst quarrel on December 23. 1888. van Gogh subsequently mutilated his own ear. Gauguin departed for Paris after notifying Theo of Vincent’s condition  and the dream of the Studio in the South fell apart.

Vincent van Gogh is known as the tortured genius who cut off his own ear as he struggled with mental illness after the breakdown of his friendship with his fellow artist Gauguin.

Original Sunflower Sketches by Vincent 
Isn't this great to have an actual example if van Gogh's thoughts
for paintings in his own handwriting?  Wow!

Starry Night Over The Rhone

Vincent van Gogh spent one year at the asylum in Saint-Rémy de Provence. This year was probably the most difficult of his entire life. It would also prove to be one of his most creative as an artist. After cutting off part of his left ear in Arles, Van Gogh voluntarily confined himself to the institution in Saint-Rémy. Throughout the course of his year there Van Gogh would battle his own personal demons, but would also produce many of the best works of his career. Starry Night Over the Rhone

Starry Night Over the Rhone (September 1888) is one of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings of Arles at night time. It was painted at a spot on the bank of the Rhone River that was only a one or two-minute walk from the Yellow House on the Place Lamartine which Van Gogh was renting at the time for the studios. The night sky and the effects of light at night provided the subject for some of his more famous paintings, including Cafe Terrace at Night and the later canvas The Starry Night. 

Van Gogh also comments on the astrological aspects of his new artwork, pointing out his careful inclusion of the “Great Bear” constellation in the "starry sky" above.

Map of The Big Dipper / Great Bear

Vincent's sketch of Starry Night Over The Rhone  with the Big Dipper / Great Bear

Starry Night Over the Rhone by van Gogh

The view is from the quay (a waterside street) on the east side of the Rhone, into the knee of the river towards the western shore. Coming down from the north, the Rhone turns to the right at this point to surround the rocks on which Arles is built.

Van Gogh announced and described this composition in a letter to his brother Theo

Included a small sketch of a 30 square canvas - in short the starry sky painted by night, actually under a gas jet. The sky is aquamarine, the water is royal blue, the ground is mauve. The town is blue and purple. The gas is yellow and the reflections are russet gold descending down to green-bronze. On the aquamarine field of the sky the Great Bear is a sparkling green and pink, whose discreet paleness contrasts with the brutal gold of the gas. Two colorful figurines of lovers in the foreground.


I have enhanced the colors mauve, pink green and purple  in my painting. I cannot really see this in any of the photos of his painting.


The challenge of painting at night intrigued Van Gogh. The vantage point he chose for Starry Night Over the Rhone allowed him to capture the reflections of the gas lighting  in Arles across the glimmering blue water of the Rhone.

In the foreground, two lovers stroll by the banks of the river.
Depicting color was of great importance to Van Gogh. In letters to his brother, Theo van Gogh he often described objects in his paintings in terms of color. His night paintings, including Starry Night Over the Rhone, emphasize the importance he placed on capturing the sparkling colors of the night sky and of the artificial lighting that was new to the era.

Sketch of Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh


"The Sight of the Stars Makes Me Dream"

Here is a beautiful slide show and song created just for Vincent.
I still cry every single time I hear it like now while I am writing this.

Vincent Van Gogh - Starry Starry Night with Don Mclean -

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