Great draftsmen: Hokusai, Daumier, van Gogh,

Originally posted on Van Gogh and I:

Being capable of making great drawings is a gift. A gift which was given to some. Not many. I do not talk here about the ability to copy photos or gypsum statues with the utmost accuracy and likeliness. The mimicking capacity or the manual versatility to draw photo-like drawings is a gift too, maybe the basis, important, but not complete, not essential, of being a great draftsman.

I choose arbitrarily 3 great draftsmen, from different time and places, to illustrate this point.   The first two, Hokusai and Daumier have greatly influenced the third, the most (post-mortem) famous of the three: Vincent van Gogh.
What can have in common Hokusai, Daumier and van Gogh?
One important thing is that all three of them have in common is they were drawing very fast, and this is evident in their drawings. Some samples:

Hokusai manga: the samurai and the moon

Another thing they have in common is…

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Still kicking…

…and not yet the bucket…

I was lucky. I’ve found at an art supply store a Windsor and Newton easel, a solid one, a real easel for serious artists (one can paint a 2 x 3 m canvases, if so enclined…) at half price. Somehow, I managed to borrow the necessary $ from a friend and bought it.

Somehow, it was like a “sign”. And the blockage which, until I had that easel, mysteriously prevent me to paint, disappeared… At least, to me, having the easel seemed to be the moment when my creativity came again to life. Curious and mysterious ways our mind has…

Since then, about 1 month ago, I’ve painted 5 canvases of 16 x 20 inches and some nude drawings too. Here there are, in an approximative chronological order;

Laboured Fields Under Moon Light

Laboured Fields Under Moon Light

I started with this re-interpretation of an older landscape I made a few years ago probably because that one was the first painting I’ve sold for a decent sum (750$). It was a full of hope period and a good painting then. This one is probably ok.

The Night in May when it snowed em

The Night in May When it Snowed 

This one was inspired by the photo of a tomato flower and by a unusual intense snowfall.

Lake and Clouds Reflexions

Lake and Clouds Reflexions

With this landscape (inspired by a B&W photo) I’ve tried to remember the happy times I had  at the Village Museum in the Dumbrava forest, near Sibiu, my native town.

Errant Greek-Orthodox Monk

Errant Greek-Orthodox Monk

Also a rememberance: I’ve met this monk, one that they called sometimes, Crazy After Jesus monk, because of their simili-franciscan faith and demenor (begging for their monastery and only then for themselves, a leaf of bread…) in a proud Transylvanian village near Sibiu, called Saliste. I took a photo of him in the church and was impressed by his sincerity and humbleness.

North of Quebec "Taiga"

North of Quebec “Taiga”

Some years back I’ve travelled 1750 km to go fishing, with a compatriote, Stephan and a quebequer friend, Clément. So, it’s also a remeberance of beauty and wilderness (I didn’t catch a fish but did some nice watercolors and took lots of pictures…), painted after a B&W photo (again! I like to do that because it gives me more color freedom…). I’m not unsatisfied with it. It ressembles the XIX century Russian realist paintings. No wonder since the Quebec Taiga is very similar to the Siberian Taiga. Minus the tigers, fortunatelly…

In conclusion, still kicking and happy to paint and draw, a bit. As long as I can do this, no matter what, things will be ok.




Paul Alin Would Have Been 27 Years Old…


It’s a very sad and even tragic event I describe but I think it’s worthwhile re-blogging…

Originally posted on Van Gogh and I:

This is a bit too personal for an art blog post and has little to do with art…

But art, as at least two big art historians put it, art doesn’t exist… just artists and their stories…their paintings…their drawings…and well, their photos…

24 years ago there where some weird, confusing times in my home town of Sibiu, Transylvania, Romania. The “revolution”, as they called later on these events, was about to start… And Sibiu (because the son of the Dictator, Nicu, was the first man in the county and because of the numerous military units there) was a very hot spot on the map, even if, later on, it wasn’t kind of past on and the big stars were Timisoara and Bucharest…

Still, 99 persons lost their lives in the 5-6 days of “civil war” there (and some big cheese voices were recorded saying it wasn’t yet enough……

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Encore des belles fesses…

Originally posted on Van Gogh and I:

Nu rouge

Ce n’est pas vraiment un sécret que j’aime les rondeurs du corps féminin… Je ne suis ni le premier nic le dernier artiste qui aime ça… Hogarth, je crois, a écrit tout un traite sur la beauté comme ligne courbe et personallement, même si je n’exclut pas totallement l’usage, dans mes dessins et peintures, des lignes droite (ou drettes, comme dissent le Québecois) je préfére de loin les courbes…

Ces nus-çi je l’ai dessiné (ou peint…je ne suis jamais sur si ce que je fais c’est du dessin ou de la peinture; à vrais dire je m’en souci pas trop…) quand j’étais étudiant à bishop’s University, à Lennoxville. Le rouge je l’ai vendu pour la grosse somme de 10 (dix) $ à une collegue, Eve, pour avoir avec quoi payer le gas pour mon Chrysler le Baron mourant… Le bleu je l’ai donné ou vendu… je ne me souviens plus…

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Ugly Van Gogh’s, Monstrous Children

Every artist, even the geniuses, have their bad days.

Van Gogh did have them too, of course. And I’m talking only of the normal bad days, not the psychotic crisis bad days…

When that happened ugly painting resulted. There are a few of those in his almost one thousand catalogued paintings. Shall we love him less for that matter? of course not. The ugly paintings make him only human. And makes us kind of courageous since, usually, nobody dares to speak of those…not to diminish the genius…not the diminish the market value, also, maybe…

Anyway, here are some of Vincent’s ugly ones, the one I detest most being his cows…

Oh! les vaches!

Oh! les vaches!

Some even doubted the paternity of this painting. The local colors (except for the yellow sky, everything is depressingly local color: the cows are burnt sienna, the grass is depressingly green… I didn’t see any signature (“Vincent”) on this ugly cows, ugly painting…I wouldn’t sign it either… Of course, Vincent painted a lot, very quickly and sometimes, well, sometimes it was a flap study… Because, with a genuine modesty, he was calling most of his paintings “study”…

Then, there are the children’s portraits… (by the way, the “monstrous” from the title is not meant for his children’s portraits but for another genius children…Henri “Le Douanier” Rousseau…) Here there are some of them… None too beautiful and for certain not Vincent’s cup of tea…

Relatively ugly children's portrait by Vincent

Relatively ugly children’s portrait by Vincent

It is a Auvers sur Oise painting, one of the 70-72 paintings he produced, at a rhythm quite exceptional…He did mostly portraits and landscapes (probably more landscapes since he always had trouble in finding willing models for his portraits; usually, for money…) There is a thing about Vincent’s portraits. He declared more than one time his passion for the “modern” portrait and gave a lot of importance to the subject. Some of his greatest works are portraits, the famous Dr Gachet, Dr. Rey’s portrait, etc. The thing is well documented, though. With Dr. Gachet’s exception (but dr. Gachet was in himself a queer birdie…) very few of Vincent’s models appreciated the finished work… A good sample is Dr. Rey’s portrait (a very good one by today’s standards) which ended as a chicken’s den repairing material! the parents of Dr. Rey detested his representation of their son…)

But neither Adeline Ravoux (you see his portrait below) nor Marguerite Gachet were enchanted by their image…

Adeline Ravoux portrait

Adeline Ravoux portrait

Truth to be told, I kind of dislike it too, especially the color of her skin… it looks like that of a cadaver after staying in water for a week or two… Nor did Adeline liked the other portrait of hers…

Second portrait of Adeline R.

Second portrait of Adeline R.

Truth to be told also, Gauguin had the same problem. For instance, his portrait “La Belle Angèle”, a gift he gave to his landlady in Bretagne, was not at all considered as a successful representation of the lady and rejected …

La belle and mean angele

La belle and mean Angele

Of course, model’s tastes were, more often than not, very conventional and a lot of feminine vanity was (as always) involved… I had myself this situation, as a street portrayer, for instance with this old lady which considered herself ill-reproduced (I’ve tried to draw only a small fraction of her many wrinkles and creases…)

My refused portrait of and old hag

My refused portrait of and old hag

Imagine that she asked to be refunded the measly 7 $ in change she paid for this portrait… Oh, vanitas vanitates! (or something like that…)

Anyway, the most unsuccessful portraits were the children ones…The one with the twins is one of them…

the ugly twins

the ugly twins

The brick color of the faces, the forced smiles, the very old looking hands…ok, not the most brilliant representation of children… True, this is a genuine Vincent, with his style well imprinted on the painting… Still, his children are kind of sinister… Speaking of sinister and monstrous children, Rousseau’s children come to mind… here there are some eloquent samples:

Arse on rock picks "children" by Le Douanier Rousseau

Arse on rock pick “children” by Le Douanier Rousseau

Shy little ? girl

Shy little ? girl

queer child

queer child

These were commissioned works, I think, and I don’t know how they were received and if the clients payed their due… If one wanted a nice, cute portrait of their child, I wouldn’t have advised Rousseau as the man for the job… Even if, the thing has to be said, these paintings are perfect; perfect colors, perfect composition, perfect harmonization and unity… Well, the design is not conventionally perfect but yes, these paintings, considered from an objective point of view (not from parents’ point of view…) are great, perfect paintings… strange, of course, even sinister, a bit…but perfect…

Back to Vincent’s portraits… Some say Vincent’s works in his Auvers sur Oise period were uneven… They were, as it happens. Nobody, no genius, can always produce masterpieces. These are a hard thing to come by.

And Vincent has plenty of them even in his last 2 months of life. No shame and no blame in producing some less enjoyable (at least for the models or the model’s parents – a long time dead and buried anyway…) portraits and cow’s rare end portraits… All those make Vincent more human, more close to us, imperfect, non-geniuses painters…

Vincent’s “suicide” : some more thoughts


Just read it again. I think it’s a good post so, I reblog it…

Originally posted on Van Gogh and I:

No, I did not change my mind. I still think (feel, too) that the way Naifeh & Smith present the death of Van Gogh is the best hypothesis ever, the most convincing.

But I have to underline a few things:

First, I am convinced that if this godsend accident, this Deus ex machina bullet, shot on a very odd angle and in quite odd place (in their 11 pages Appendix: A Note on Vincent’s fatal wound, which is the place N & S discuss in detail their hypothesis, using all and every source available, it appears clearly that not only the angle and the place of the wound were odd but it is almost certain the bullet was shot FROM A DISTANCE! ) wouldn’t have happen, Vincent would have done it himself, sooner or later that year.

I repeat, Vincent would have done it himself, sooner or later that year.

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Danu, dessinateur judiciare: le procès de l’assassin de Julie Boisvenu!

Originally posted on Caricaturiste en Estrie:

J’ai découvert, ces jours-çi, quelques vieux dessins que j’ai fait quand j’avais essayé ma main comme dessinateur judiciare. Et je l’ai fait au process de l’assassin de Julie Boivenu. Le 23 septembre 2003, si je fais confiance à la date noté sur les croquis. Ils sont, la plupart, des esquisses que j’ai fait sur place, des portraits des pricipaux intéréssés: Hugo Bernier, l’assassin (comme il a été condamné je peux l’appeller comme ça, non?), avec son rictus dédaigneux, le procureur de la couronne (je le sais maintenant, M. André Campagna), du judge Gagnon (?) et de l’avocate de la défense… Les voilà:

la défense

Le juge Gagnon

Le juge et le procureur de la couronne

Hugo Bernier, le portrait d'un assassin

la cour

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