Tag Archives: portrait

I Am Too Old For This Shit

I’m even more old for this shit…:)

Van Gogh and I

La Bohème, la vie d’artiste, for the moment I will set that aside. As you can read in my title, I really am too old for this shit… 20 years older than Vincent at the moment of his death. I’ve tried and will still try to go on and finish what I can, I know this is just a phase and maybe, one day, if I’ll live, the nostalgia of an artist life, the urge to draw and to paint could come back with a vengeance. But for now, I will just stay (literally) on my arse 8 h per day, helping clients of Chatr to Talk Happy… It will pay the bills…

What can I do? No Mecena offered to do for me what Theo did for Vincent or Ambroise Vollard for Gauguin…

Painting, art, literature, will still be with me and I’ll even try to write a blog…

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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.




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…

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

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:

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A Portrayer (III)

New portraits, a couple a days ago:

Paul, an expressive and street smart guy, worked in Toscany (sienna) as a waiter...

Paul, an expressive and street smart guy, worked in Toscany (sienna) as a waiter…

Paul's Portrait

Paul’s Portrait

nd Paul’s girlfriend, Andra:




Andra's portrait

Andra’s portrait





Self-portait, Why Do We Do it?

I counted about 37-38 self -portraits Vincent Van Gogh painted of himself. There are only 2-3 images of him, painted by others, one a regular portrait made by Van Rappard, another one that I know, a sketch by Toulouse Lautrec… Why this proportion? and why, finally, why did he (or Rembrandt or any other painter) would paint self-portraits?

At the Easel Van gogh self-portrait

At the Easel Van gogh self-portrait

One reason (valid for Van Gogh and for Rembrandt – the two greatest Dutch painters…) would be the ready availability of the “model”. You just need a mirror and here you are, the model is ready to be painted… and Vincent complained constantly about the difficulty to find models…

Of course, this is a rather mundane reason even if a valid and true one. Usually, even when initially this was the reason, the results are almost always more than that… You want it or not, when you do your self -portrait something more gets through, always… Consciously or not, you do more than just making a portrait. You witness a definite moment of your life, you consciously or unconsciously put more in it than the physical features of your mug…

Self Portrait said "a flamenches"

Self Portrait said “a flamenches”

When you consciously testify of your life (the thing André Malraux said it’s the best you can do with you life, “testify of your life” (témoigner de son vécu”), the results are always interesting. It could be a great painting (or not) but it will always be an interesting psychological document.

Yesterday, for instance, I did discovered in the cupboards where my father keeps just about everything (which is an annoying but sometimes useful habit) an old self-portrait of mine which I was convinced was lost. As so many of my paintings and drawings which are sold (for peanuts, usually), given, lost and thrown away or destroyed … Not only mine; weren’t the parents of the now famous Dr. Felix Rey from St. Remy de Provence filling a hole in their chicken house with the portrait Vincent made after the good doctor?

But this one I found again and in a surprisingly good state, almost perfectly preserved after about 38 years (a life time!). Which is a praise and an encouragement to use the tempera technique, a technique I liked then…

Here it is:

Self portrait nov 75

Self portrait nov 75

(to be continued)

Old photos, Nostalgia…

I was browsing through some  of my old photographs, some older than 30 years… 1980…1987… Oh, boy! All those memories came over me like a tornado… Not a lot left, except these scanned images…

Eyes to Die For

At the time, I was studying the art of photography with one of the best : prof. Gheorghe Lazaroiu, EFIAP, an exceptional teacher and one of the best photographers of my native town, Sibiu. It seems, looking at these images, that his teachings weren’t totally wasted on me and one can, say, I hope, that I even had (maybe still have) some talent. One thing is certain: then, just like right now, I was obsessed, mesmerized by the eyes of the people. They are, no doubt, for me, the center, the nucleus, the knack of a portrait (in photography as well as in painting/drawing). If the eyes are dead, the portrait is dead. It may sound definitive. It is…

He Has His Mother's Eyes