DVD Length: 2 Hours, 41 Minutes
How an Accidental Discovery Led Me to Understand Van Gogh’s Painting Style
And How He Gained the Courage
to Paint with Freedom
Sometimes the world has a way of laying something in your lap. Something you were not aware of, something that turns out to be really special. Something totally unexpected.
Back in February I saw a trailer for a movie called Loving Vincent, a remarkable film about Vincent Van Gogh’s life and death. It’s special because it’s animated using actual paintings in Van Gogh’s style.
I was enamoured with the movie and could not wait till it came out … after all, I love Van Gogh, and I love the idea of the first ever fully hand-painted feature-length movie.
And it was not just painted by animators or with animation tools: Each frame is an oil painting done by an artist. There were over 100 artists brought into Poland to do the 65,000 paintings.
Soon after seeing the trailer for Loving Vincent, I saw Dena Peterson, one of the artists who worked on the movie, speak at the Plein Air Convention.
Dena was not only a great communicator, she had the audience really engaged. It’s such a unique story. She showed the process of animating with paintings, something that had never been done this way before. Each “cell” was a full oil painting; that’s why the film took years to produce.
Then she started showing paintings…
Were these lost Van Goghs?
Nope. Dena painted them for the movie. But they sure had the Van Gogh feel.
After her standing ovation, there was a crowd of people gathered around her asking questions. She was like a rock star with her groupies. Though that happens with many PACE speakers, this was even more than usual!
Can you guess the number one question everyone had?
Sure you can.
“How did you learn to paint like Van Gogh?”
Dena was careful to say that Van Gogh had his own style, and though the Loving Vincent artists learned to emulate it, no one could ever be Van Gogh.
But she learned lots of tricks…
Like how Van Gogh managed to keep his colors so bright and unpolluted.
Or how Van Gogh managed to paint so thickly without the colors becoming muddy.
She tried to answer all their questions, but finally said, “I’d have to show you. It took us a long time to figure him out. People have tried before, but once we got it down, we shared it among all the artists in doing the movie, and magic happened.”
What she said next, though, was unexpected…
“I never painted like Van Gogh. I have my own style, and it’s completely different. But as a result of doing 600 paintings in his style, I made some important discoveries that made my own work stronger.”
At that moment, it came to me: We needed to do a video with Dena. So I picked up the phone, called the boss lady, and said, “I think we need to do something with this woman, and here’s why.” I got a thumbs up, and we approached her.
Before long, Dena appeared at the Liliedahl studios and started filming our latest video, Loving Van Gogh: How to Paint Like Vincent Van Gogh.
Though I get excited about all the videos we produce, this one was so different, so unique, that I couldn’t wait to see her show Van Gogh’s techniques … all the things she had discovered working on the movie Loving Vincent.
So in Dena’ art instruction video Loving Van Gogh: How to Paint Like Vincent Van Gogh, you’ll discover…
- What Van Gogh taught her about composition
- What she learned about Van Gogh’s technique from studying his letters
- How to keep thick paint moving without making it runny or hard to manage
- How Van Gogh used reed pen drawings to plan the brushwork and movement in his paintings
- Direct painting and broken brushwork
- How to use line to emphasize pattern and shapes
- Some history of Van Gogh and his path to becoming the father of Expressionism and modern art
- How to get out of a rut in your work through more expressionistic painting
- Van Gogh’s philosophy of painting, as well as her own
- How Van Gogh became a “third-level painter” and what that means
- How to use complementary colors and “simultaneous contrast” to add visual excitement, as Van Gogh learned to do from the Impressionists and Pointillists
- The difference between local tone paintings and light and shadow paintings
- How to use directional brushwork to show form
- How to use more paint and less medium to create impasto brushwork
- How to let go of the need to copy a scene and instead respond to it emotionally
- The palette of colors used to create color harmony
Plus one important thing she learned that impacted her work, and her soul as an artist, after emulating Van Gogh for several months.
Not only will you see Dena Peterson’s interpretation of Van Gogh and what she learned from him, including the process of making a Van Gogh-like painting from start to finish … you’ll also receive:
- Video of the presentation she did on stage at the Plein Air Convention
- An interview with Dena Peterson
- A show of Dena’s work
- Plus some of the paintings she did for the movie
You might be asking this question ... “Why would I want to paint like Van Gogh? After all, it’s been done.”
Clearly we each need to develop our own style and our own voice, yet I’ve discovered throughout my development as a painter that I can always learn from the masters and apply it to my own work.
I’ve read some of Van Gogh’s letters, and they reveal much about his technique, but there is a difference between reading and seeing. Though we don’t have the gift of Van Gogh in person, we do have a group of people who had to study and figure out Van Gogh in order to paint the movie, and Dena will share what she learned.
I can’t speak for you, but like a lot of painters who get bored sometimes, I like to mix it up. This will help free you up and impact all of your painting.
No one was more free as a painter than Van Gogh. What Dena shares about artistic freedom, discovered from her Van Gogh experience, is worth hearing.
Plus, I’m thinking I might even try to create a couple of Van Gogh-like originals to have around the house to cheer it up on those cold winter days. It would be fun and a nice break from my two boys.
We are always pushing the limits on our video products, trying to find new, fresh things, to keep it interesting, and to help you discover new ideas. That’s why this video is truly unique. I’m so glad I saw Dena and so glad we convinced her to share what she has learned.
Of course, the timing is perfect. Once you see the movie, you’ll be totally inspired to paint like Van Gogh … even if just to learn a thing or two.
This video will help you capture the essence of Van Gogh, based on one artist's interpretation, whether you are a beginner or experienced pro.
We hope you’ll consider our new video Loving Van Gogh: How to Paint Like Vincent Van Gogh.