How did Vincent Van Gogh work out his colour schemes?

Did you know that Vincent Van Gogh used balls of wool to work out his colour theory? Or that some of the paint pigments he used have faded?

This 8 minute video from the Metropolitan Museum of Art explains some of Vincent Van Gogh’s approach to colour and illustrates how some of his paintings would have looked like when first created.

Take a coffee break as it is worth watching.


Van Gogh’s night cafe – then and now

At Arles in Provence, Vincent Van Gogh painted a delightful evening scene showing a cafe under the stars, lit by gas lamps. He did the painting for the cafe’s owner in order to pay for his meals as he was always broke. Today that painting is in the Netherlands. It is known as the Café Terrace at Night and is worth millions.

The cafe itself – as you can see – is still there on the Place du Forum in Arles, and these days it is known as “Le Café Nuit” – or The Night Cafe.

Sharon and I had a wonderful dinner there – very French – with a nice carafe of wine. It was a magic evening 🙂

Night Café, Arles

Night Café, Arles [photo: Jerry Everard]

And here is what it looked like in 1888 when Van Gogh painted it

Cafe Terrace at Night

Cafe Terrace at Night [photo of display reproduction on the Place du Forum at the position from which he painted the painting – photo: Jerry Everard]

Video page flip of Travel Journal 3

As I have promised readers, I have a video of page flip of my third travel journal. This is the third travel journal I filled while away for 9 weeks. I hope you enjoy viewing it and listening to my general chatter about keeping a travel journal. At the end of the video I discuss a pouch I carry some of my art gear in.

If you want to see the other videos in the series you will find them I hope folks enjoy it!

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Van Gogh’s Yellow House – Arles: Then and now

In May 1888 Vincent Van Gogh rented several rooms at 2 Place Lamartine, near the railway bridges in Arles. He shared the house with Gauguin from late October that year.

“My house here is painted the yellow colour of fresh butter. The shutters a garish green. It is bathed in sunlight and stands on a square with a garden of verdant plane trees, rose laurels and acacias. Inside, I am able to live and breathe to contemplate and paint.”

This was the house of the famous bedroom painting and the chair with pipe.

Van Gogh's yellow House

Van Gogh’s yellow House [source: Wikipedia]

The painting was done in September 1888 – we were there in October 2013 and found the light similar to that discovered by Van Gogh.

The square is still there – complete with its plane trees, but the house was bombed on 25 June 1944 during the liberation of Arles, and demolished shortly afterwards. However, as you can see, the building behind survives to this day along with the railway bridges in the background. The bridges are easily recognised from Van Gogh’s depiction of them.

Site of Yellow House

Site of Yellow House

The house was just two minutes’ walk from the site where he painted the ‘Starry Night over the Rhone’. If you turn around from where this photo was taken you will find a modern ‘Monoprix’ supermarket – so if you are looking for the location, just look for the Monoprix first and it is just across the road.

The Yellow House painting currently hangs in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.