Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Channeling Van Gogh

5/5/15 India ink, dip pen, Bristol board
While I found last week’s ink drawing class exercise of copying Van Gogh more liberating than previous masters we copied, I would certainly not say it was easy. Today’s class exercise kicked it up yet another notch: using Van Gogh’s hatching techniques to draw a subject of our choosing. Instructor Eric Elliott gave us the option of drawing from a photo, a still life or through the window. Of course you know which I chose.

Our second-floor classroom windows look out on the neighboring elementary school’s playground and some of the many large trees that the Capitol Hill neighborhood is known for (see below). If I had been wearing MiataGrrl’s normal urban sketcher’s hat, I probably would have focused more closely on the playground and the kids, and I might have included part of the tree to the left for context, but I definitely would have left out that mass of trees in the background. Today, however, I had to channel my inner Vincent and ask, What would he have sketched? Based on the drawings I’ve been studying, he most certainly would have included all the trees, and what’s more, he would have found a way to distinguish one tree from another by differentiating the types of hatch marks used.

I hatched and hatched and hatched some more, and nearly three hours later, I probably wasn’t done, but the class was over, and I was tired, so I called it good. In addition to marveling at Van Gogh’s remarkable and beautiful work, the other thought in my mind is this: Why the heck did I use the entire sheet of 11-by-14-inch paper to make this sketch? (Sorry about the dark image; it wouldn’t fit on my scanner so I had to use my phone to photograph it.)


  1. I'm amazed by all your super hatching!!! You go, girl! I think you have channelled Van Gogh.

  2. You have certainly channeled Van Gogh, your use of the dip pen extremely good. (I find them difficult to control).


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