When I opened Imagine Monthly Fall 2016 art journaling class for registration, my question to the first participants was: “What is your favorite artist?” The ultimate winner was Vincent van Gogh. So I went to the local library and picked up two huge books showcasing all his paintings. I wanted to create a class that inspires not only playing in his style, but which also makes people relate to him. I wanted to enable people to put their world next to his and see it in full color like he did.
Life in Full Color
Whether you are an actual engineer or not, I think that you too have an inner engineer. She likes the home to be organized and clean. She takes responsibilities seriously. She worries over the practical stuff.
But then, truly, you also have an inner artist. She doesn’t care what time it is or whether she’s hungry or not. She doesn’t have a clue if somebody needs her to be somewhere else. Her world has no linear time. She has no other duties than to explore. She sees colors and textures when the engineer sees dirty laundry and a shopping list. No, she would not stay alive without the inner engineer. But the inner engineer could never live the life in full color without the inner artist.
Vincent van Gogh
Here’s what every inner engineer knows about Vincent van Gogh: He was a poor artist from the 19th century, painting with thick medium. He had mental issues and he sold only one painting.
But the inner artist feels that he was her soul-mate. He saw the yellow sky and blue ground when other people saw the perfect weather to sow the seed. He saw glorious sunset when other people saw withering flowers. For people of that time, his portraits and sketches looked clumsy even if he had caught the essence. Namely, in his world, the essential thing to do was not to engineer but to express. Instead of aiming for objectivity, he was the master of subjectivity.
Van Gogh Moments
I believe that most people create art because they need “Van Gogh Moments”. In those moments, you can pick any color for any object, not only green for the grass like the inner engineer would suggest. In those moments, you can not only play with colors but also experience the interaction between the hues and shades. Just like van Gogh did! If you look at any detail in his paintings, you will see the interaction of colors.
So while the inner engineer waits for the important phone call, the inner artist hears her colors speaking. While the inner engineer worries if she will ever meet someone again, the inner artist paints him or her right there beside her.
When I browsed through the two big books of van Gogh’s paintings, I realized that a big part of his production was portraits. They were either self-portraits or portraits of other people. So in Selfie Fantasy, you will not only learn easy ways to create a colorful and swirly scene in Vincent van Gogh’s style. You will also get step-by-step instructions for adding some familiar faces onto your art journals. In the class video, I use those methods to paint my mother and me. My mother is there on the spread, glowing on her wedding day, much earlier than when I was born. This time she is in the foreground because in real life she was always the one in the background, supporting my creativity. She truly was my inner engineer until the day she passed away about 25 years ago.