A Quick Approach

I recently finished this painting below quite quickly, and I can’t decide whether to keep it looking like this or to start again.  It’s a very simple technique of just applying the paint directly and mixing on the canvas itself, and then scraping it across to create interesting, or at least mildly interesting, patterns using a plastic CD cover.  The painting below is based on an earlier painting I did at my undergraduate university art society a few years ago, and to which I later gave to a friend.  To be honest I’m looking to give this one away if I can.

In earlier posts on here I have stated my love for Impressionist era painters such as Vincent van Gogh, Picasso and others, and whilst I dearly love their artistic works, I still haven’t attempted any realistic paintings myself as I do not possess the skills necessary.  In fact, I still haven’t used oil paints yet, but look forward to the day I start experimenting with them!  Still, I find it inspiring and moving to view such woks of art, and I can often be found in my hometown art gallery admiring the local painters and the art society, with their differing styles and approaches.  I find the mixing of the paints, of the vibrant colours washed over a large area of canvas, quite therapeutic to produce and yes, sometimes a joy to look at.  Other times I am just not sure, but it is always fun to experiment!  I think my next attempt will include some pencil and pen drawing underneath before applying a thin layer of acrylic paint- I am keen to see if this approach of detail and use of block colour will work.


A large canvas (around a meter tall or so) of a recent acrylic painting using three main vibrant colours to highlight movement and circularity. Although I am not quite keen on the way this turned out, I am happy with the finished piece. Hidden underneath this painting is a further two of differing form, from earlier attempts.

‘Café Terrace at Night’

Ever since visiting Amsterdam in the late 1990’s with my family, and being introduced to Impressionism via Amsterdam’s magnificent art galleries, I have been a fan of Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) and his artwork.  A poster copy of the painting below hangs on my bathroom door, and as I look at it each day I become more enamored and entranced by the details in the composition, and in the application of the brushstrokes.  The strong vibrant colours leap out at the viewer, and help to create an atmospheric setting.  I particularly love the broad brush strokes of the cobbled path in the foreground, the natural lush green of the encroaching tree on the viewers right hand side, and the people in the distance, promenading along past the café.  The painting is given a sense of perspective by the woman in red, walking away from the viewer, whilst the night is wonderfully evocative of the swirls of stars in the distant dark depths of space.


Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Café Terrace at Night‘ (oil on canvas), painted in Arles, France, in 1888. A stunning composition of colours,  the painting captured people drinking and socialising in the early evening, gathered under a bright sulphur yellow light. This was one of his first paintings where he depicted the swirling stars in the night, an antecedent to his more famous later painting ‘The Starry Night‘, which made full use of the swirling stars in the night sky.

The painting is, to my mind, quite magical and a beauty to behold.  It appeals to me because it is not technically perfect but rather because it is more evocative and emotional than finely executed draughtsmanship; it fits within my idea of perfection through imperfection.  It makes me want to start painting again, to splash a few colours onto canvas and to see how they interact.  I hope you enjoy this painting as much as I do.  Here is an interesting webpage detailing Vincent van Gogh’s art work throughout his life, and his biography, which makes for interesting and melancholy reading.  Recently it was announced that a letter, part written by Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin, will go on sale next month in Paris.  Here is a short article discussing the letter.