Sunday, February 2, 2014

Girl With A Pearl Earring, Van Gogh's Letters And Blogging

Hi Everyone,

How is everybody doing?  Like much of the US, it has been freezing here in New York.  Cold weather is not my thing and I have not been getting out to my studio as much as I usually do, but I am working on a new portrait (have the third sitting tomorrow) and I finally got back to the dahlias.  I'm finally happy with the background and the flowers.  I also repainted the vase, but still have to do the blue pattern.  I've never taken this long with a painting but I think the results will be worth it.

I did manage to get out to see the Vermeer, Rembrandt and Hals show at the Frick.  It was a great show and seeing the permanent collection at the Frick made it even better.  Of course, the star of the show was Vermeer's Girl With A Pearl Earring.

Girl With A Pearl Earring,  Johannes Vermeer.  Google Images


After seeing the show I stopped in the gift shop to pick up the catalog and I also bought the fictional novel based on the painting.  The book is fabulous and I cannot put it down, but it also got me thinking about something.  As the author, Tracy Chevalier, tells us in the foreward, the book is a work of fiction because nobody knows anything about the young woman in the painting.  As she points out, the model could be anyone.  There have been all kinds of speculation about who she is, but nobody will ever know for sure because Vermeer kept no notes or journals and did not write letters about his work.

A few months ago I read Van Gogh's letters for the second time.  He wrote letters to his brother Theo describing what he was working on and I realized that those letters were similar to what I and so many others are doing on our blogs.  As Van Gogh was writing the letters, I'm sure he never imagined that they would be seen by anyone but Theo.  Luckily for all of us Theo's wife, Johanna, saved the letters and now the world knows about his process, his models, and his thoughts about art.

While talking about the book in a discussion group, I realized that blogs are the modern day equivalent of Van Gogh's letters, only our thoughts are put on the internet for the entire world to read and they will be available forever.  I love that people all over the world are looking at my paintings and enjoy reading about the process of making them.  Long before I started writing this blog, I was a voracious reader of them.  I'll read blogs about almost anything; art, interior design, cooking, writing.  Being an artist can sometimes be a solitary endeavor and I love the fact that I can just go online and find a whole community of people who are also creating something and writing about it.  A few months ago I received a lovely email from one of my readers.  She complimented my work and sent me a link to the website she set up for her grandfather.  He was an artist and even though he is no longer with us, everyone can still see his art and will be able to do so forever.  How fantastic is that?!

Years from now no one will have to guess about the thoughts or process of an artist that they are interested in.  It is all out in the world for anyone to see.

What do you guys think about blogging?  Do you love to read about your favorite artists or writers or designers and know how they created their work?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!




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