My thinking was to add color on top of my blue underpainting to provide a base on which to build. The foreground had to be a rich, bright yellow. I could add lighter yellows and pale greens to this later. The same for the bush. I wanted to really deepen the shadows at the base of the bush and on the ground to contrast sharply with the bright sunlit area of the foreground, a juxtaposition of light and shadow. I made the background very blase’ using a drab brown and some greys for the stair rail and curbing. I did make the window frame a bit redder. It helps to draw out that diagonal of the composition I was attempting.
For my final effort I played around with medium and lighter greens on the bush and when I reached a point where I liked what I had, I added some very light highlights. These highlights help lead the eye around and give a good 3D quality. Down on the sunny grass I made a few suggestions of blades of grass and really played up the texture of grass along the shadow line. I didn’t want to further emphasize the diagonal so my highlights are more vertical there. I used the red roses all over. Actually, I think I got a little carried away but I really like the overall effect.
So Van Gogh’s painting suggests to us 1) a simple subject in a simple setting, 2) use light and shadow to create a dramatic composition like a diagonal, 3) juxtapose two complimentary colors to play up the vibrancy of the colors of the whole painting, and 4) use little devices like his path and irises to add interest, and direct the viewer’s eye. I used a stair railing and curbing in my version.
Send me a copy of yours and I will display them here if you like. This was great fun! I spent some time on Sunday and yesterday painting. The hours fly by and when I’m done I feel so relaxed. I have several of Van Gogh’s paintings in mind for the next one. Not sure which one will be next but please feel free to pick one and suggest it. Otherwise, stayed tuned!