How To Paint Like Van Gogh?

Updated: Nov 25

Van Gogh - Starry Night oil painting
Van Gogh - Starry Night

“I dream my painting and I paint my dream.”

Have you heard this quote before? Can you imagine how genius a person would be to dream up and paint his paintings? What a wonderful thing that mixes reality and imagination. This is what distinguished the paintings of the author of the quote "Van Gogh." How do you paint like Van Gogh? This article will be a captivating journey about the great artist Van Gogh and the details of his journey and how to learn his way of painting.

Who is Van Gogh?

You might think that this great artist was helped by life to show this art, but Van Gogh's life was full of turmoil, loneliness, and pain. So, let's take a look at his personal life to get to know him and more and answer the question of how to paint like Van Gogh.

Vincent Willem van Gogh was born in the Netherlands to a priest father named Willem van Gogh in 1853, His mother is the artist "Anna Carpentus", He was born on the same day, a year after the death of his brother with the same name and some believed that this caused him a psychological crisis because he felt that he might be a "substitute son" for his dead brother. But there is nothing to confirm this belief, In his childhood, his family was suffering from financial problems, which led Vincent to leave school at the age of 15 to work in a shop for his uncle, and in this store, Vincent learned many languages, including French, German and English

The artist Van Gogh

When it comes to art, you see that many artists started their artistic careers in the early stages, but this was not the case with Van Gogh. Vincent began his artistic career in the late twenties and early thirties, but he showed creativity and art that many artists did not show for many years

Therefore, he attended a technical school in Brussels, Belgium where he learned the basic theory. After leaving school, he returned to his father's house in the country. Here, he honed his skill in painting landscapes and interpreting human experience through art.

Van Gogh's artwork

We knew in the previous lines that Van Gogh started painting, so how old is his artistic career? Especially if we ask ourselves how to paint like Van Gogh.

Imagine, dear reader, that this genius artist produced more than 2,100 artworks over ten years only! Among them are 850 oil paintings and more than 1,300 watercolors, and this is a large number that many artists today fear to reach, but unfortunately, although Van Gogh's paintings are now sold for millions of dollars, he only sold one of them.

His career did not continue due to the deterioration of his mental health

Sorrowing Old Man ('At Eternity's Gate'), 1890. Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo
Sorrowing Old Man ('At Eternity's Gate'), 1890. Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo

How do you paint like Van Gogh?

Let's answer this question before we continue our interesting talk about Van Gogh's life story. When we say how to paint like Van Gogh, we mean how our paintings are full of passion, life, and magic like his paintings. After a long search, we brought you some steps that may help you paint like this artist.

1. Color your canvas with the general color of the canvas

If you notice, you will find that he follows this method in most of his paintings. You can use acrylic paint diluted with water and let it dry, or you can use diluted oil paint.

2. Divide the artboard into a grid

And divide each side into thirds even. Don't use a ruler - there's no need for precision here to use a subtle darker mixture of burnt sienna and ultraviolet blue to draw your grid on your canvas. It will help you transfer and place large shapes on the canvas. Van Gogh built a camera lens and used it to help him transfer his vision to his canvas in a similar way.

3. Use the same thinned mixture to draw the largest shapes onto your canvas. Use a smaller brush; I like a size 2 natural bristle hair filbert. If you make mistakes, you can easily wipe this off with a paper towel or rag soaked with some mineral spirits. Study the lines in each grid on your reference photo and transfer those proportions onto your canvas. Again, focus on the placement of the largest and most important shapes. Avoid any detail and don't worry about perfection in drawing and placement. You will adjust this as you paint. For now, it is more about getting the overall shape relationships correct on your canvas.

4. Study the main colors in the image. There is no real formula for mixing these colors. There are many ways to come up with similar colors. But always try to find the best and closest options

5. copy his paintings

Imitating or copying the paintings will help you more in understanding how to paint them, the colors used and the tools you should use

Van Gogh's most famous paintings

After we got to know Van Gogh and how he painted, let's take a great tour now to get to know his most famous paintings

Starry Night, 1889

one among his most recognizable Van Gogh had been suffering from mental health concerns prior to this period, so much so that he hacked off his left ear. Following this episode, he was admitted to the Saint-Paul-de-Mausolea institution in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence in 1888 to recover. The scene depicted in Starry Night was inspired by the view seen by Van Gogh from his asylum bedroom. The artist's technique and the emotive nature of his color usage have become synonymous with the swirling blues of the starry night sky.

Sunflowers, 1889

During his period in Arles, South of France, in 1888-89, Van Gogh painted five paintings of sunflowers in a vase using just yellow and a hint of green. He said that sunflowers symbolized "thanks" to him and put one in his home. Later, while living with him for a brief time, his friend and fellow artist Paul Gaugin expressed his admiration for the works and begged Van Gogh for one of them, which he was granted. This replica is now on display in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

We don't want to prolong you more than that, but we haven't finished talking about Van Gogh and his paintings yet, so follow us to learn more.

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