Tuesday, 13 March 2012

art as inspiration

We might baulk at copying another artist's work too blatantly but some of the best people have done it! I discovered this beautiful piece by Van Gogh last night. I thought I was quite familiar with his work but somehow I've never seen this before. The Blooming Plum Tree painted in 1887 was copied from the Hiroshige original of 1857. Isn't it beautiful?

Van Gogh tweaked the colours and added borders but otherwise it's pretty close to the Hiroshige! You can see it in detail at google art project

Annabel, I couldn't help but think of you and your gold leaf and bamboo drawings when I saw this other Japanese inspired Van Gogh.

I know I can't follow that! but from the sublime to the everyday, here's what I've been playing with lately. I've waxed hand made papers that have fortune cookie wrappers embedded in them and I'm quite pleased with the way the vulgar colours have muted.

The red of the wrappers really ran in the wet pulp and not being a big fan of pink I think these sheets of metal leaf are probably easier to live with.

I'm thinking stitched collage but the ideas are not resolved yet - I'll keep you posted! Linda


  1. Thank you for the Van Gogh's - his colours are truly amazing, and it was really interesting to find he had seen and copied the works of Hiroshige too! The fortune cookie experiments are very interesting indeed, and your metal leaf looks far more successful than my gold leaf experiments yesterday....part of the problem being I've run out of the stuff, and baulked at replacing it; have you seen how gold prices have risen lately?! Phew.

  2. Annabel, I've been using Winsor and Newton artists acrylic gold paint after Marie recommended it. She's used it on paper and fabric for years with great success. I know it doesn't have the cachet of real gold but if your intention is to paint over it with tempera it might be the less expensive option. The paint is available in three colours of gold - I opted for the one just called gold! I'm loving how well it behaves on fabric - not vulgar and glitzy at all and no bleeding even when watered down considerably.

  3. Thanks for the recommendation, I shall certainly get some and try it out. The thing I like about the gold leaf is the ability to only stick in parts and this provides me with a wonderful texture that I can't seem to reproduce with paint, but as you say, if I'm painting over it anyway, it would certainly be the less expensive option!

  4. Aaaagh! I see what you mean about the google art project website. Just spent many a happy moment browsing - completely forgot where I was for a moment. Van Gogh must have liked Hiroshige as there's the one of his bridge in the rain as well. Very interesting! Thanks for the link. A x ps I had a look at Jupiter and Venus the other night - I actually found them!