Study of Van Gogh and Donna

As many of you may know, I am a HUGE fan of Donna Downey.  I went to her studio in June of 2017, originally for a workshop with Jane Davenport (another idol of mine), and I added in Donna’s Abstract Florals class, for something new and inspiring and fun.  And I LOVED it!  Her style, her techniques, it all spoke to me in my soul.  I had not painted so freely before, and I didn’t understand layering and abstract art at the time.  I gained a whole new appreciation for acrylic painting, and began noticing natural beauty in the world around me again, as I was finally coming out of my depression.

I followed Donna online…possibly became a bit of a fan or stalker, lol…in the kindest way possible.  Recently, I signed up for her online workshop called Artist Studies.  The first (and free) lesson was about Van Gogh…one of Donna’s all time favourite artists.  I did the lessons, and then ventured into some other paintings.  One of the most valuable teachings I have learned is that it is OK to copy someone’s art…as long as you credit them and don’t profit off of their idea.  It is how artists learn and grow.  In Donna’s lesson, she demonstrated how she took some of Van Gogh’s style with his colour choices and brush strokes and infused them into her own work, giving an amazing painting similar to the one pictured above on the right.  The one you see is my copy of her work inspired by Van Gogh’s Starry Night.  I created this one evening that I couldn’t sleep.  I am so thrilled with how it turned out!  And I feel like I got to study from two masters in one by copying this piece!

I took what I learned in this painting experience and applied it to part of a self portrait I had started and hadn’t yet fallen in love with (pictured completed above on the left).  It is of me and my first son when he was a few days old.  I changed my colour palette for the skin tones, and I infused some Van Gogh like brush strokes into the background.  I love this idea, and want to transfer it from my journal to canvas some day.  It speaks to me and reminds me of the precious, gentle, quiet snuggle moments in the midst of the chaos of having a new born, and becoming a mother, a family.  I attempted to bring Van Gogh into the portrait as well, but I just couldn’t get comfortable with it and kept resorting to my style.  Which I am ok with…I think the complementary blending effect works well to demonstrate the emotion behind this image.

Until this point, I would paint for fun and use colours that made me happy.  I didn’t think about my art beyond being something fun to do and pretty to look at.  Now, I feel I am starting to think like an artist.  And the inspiration and ideas are flowing!  I need more time to paint and play and explore!

Who is your favourite artist?  Or who have you learned the most from to this point in time?

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