Van Gogh Master Copy of Starry Night over the Rhone

van-gogh-originalThe shop owner at Vino & Van Gogh asked me to create a version of this painting. The original had figures in the bottom right corner which were eliminated because this is a challenging to painting to recreated in just two hours.

After researching the painting, I chose primarily Prussian blue for the dark area in the water and Ultramarine blue with white for the sky.

To start, I identified the yellow areas. I knew that if they were dark blue, it would be difficult to get a crisp yellow and white effect for the stars and reflections.

First, I blocked out stars as simple circles with yellow. Cadmium yellow might have been the best choice, but I used a bright yellow I had already.

Then, I marked out the horizon in Prussian blue. This allowed the stars to dry enough to go back to work on the sky area.

The sky was ultramarine blue and white in “tache” strokes with a flat brush. The flat brush gives the rectangular strokes. We avoided blending, instead placing white and blue together on the same brush when possible.

Next we filled in the lights along the harbor. Just to create reference points, I did the water reflections as vertical lines.

Then we did the outer edges of the sky in the Prussian blue mixed with Ultramarine and a touch of white, again using the tache strokes.

When we had finished the sky area, the yellow reflections were dry enough to work on the water. We used the Prussian blue with a tiny bit of white. We overlaid the rectagular tache strokes on the vertical yellow streaks to imitate the irregular reflections on the water.

Once the rest of the painting was dry, we filled in the dark areas around the buildings and the lighter white and yellow rays around the stars.

Lastly, we highlighted the water reflections with yellow and white, and we filled the boats and rigging in with Prussian blue. Unlike other parts of the painting, we did allow the yellow and blue to blend a bit to make the green tones in the boat covered in canvas in the right foreground.

Here is my final result.

van gogh.jpgCompare again to the original painting. Notice my version was a bit brighter, but it suited the classroom conditions in the studio. Even in my brighter version, students in the back had some trouble seeing, and I had to carry the painting to the back row.


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