Everyone knows the basic story: Vincent Van Gogh, arguably the most important painter ever to have lived, died broke and alone and unappreciated. He committed suicide in 1890; exactly 100 years later, his painting, “Portrait of Dr. Gachet,” sold for $82.5 million (which translates into roughly $150 million today). Van Gogh’s work has influenced and inspired countless artists, and reproductions of his paintings are everywhere- books, cards, t-shirts, coasters, you name it. To say that he had no idea what kind of impact his work would have on the world is a bit of an understatement.
Like millions of other fans, I’ve often thought, “If only he could know! If only he could see this!” Never have I felt that longing as keenly as I did while watching Loving Vincent. Loving Vincent is a gorgeous, moving tribute to Van Gogh’s work and life, and it might be the most visually stunning film I have ever seen. Van Gogh’s story is told through his paintings, and they have been brought to life here in a way that will make you catch your breath. A team of over 100 artists hand-painted each and every frame of Loving Vincent (how fun must that have been?) and the results are extraordinary.
I have my fingers crossed that Loving Vincent will eventually make its way to one of the theaters here in Brunswick, but if you don’t want to wait, this is a film worth traveling to see on a big screen. If you’re looking for an even more immersive experience, Curtis Memorial Library can help! Check out The Complete Letters of Vincent Van Gogh or one of the many other relevant titles available in the Art & Architecture section upstairs.
Last fall, I hosted a four-week series in the library’s basement called “Playing With Paint.” It was so well-received, they asked me to come back and do it again for the month of April!
Each week, our group focused on a different painting by a different artist: Vincent Van Gogh‘s “Sunflowers” was week one, Jackson Pollock‘s “Convergence” was week two, Georgia O’Keeffe‘s “Red Canna” was week three, and Marc Chagall‘s “Blue Circus” was week four. I would begin each class chatting about that week’s artist and why they were so important, and then the focus would turn to fun. My hope was for people to have a good time, to enjoy the experience of putting paint onto canvas, and to gain a new appreciation for art and artists. Thankfully, that is just what happened! Here are some photos to give you a sense of what the classes were like:
I’m grateful to Curtis Memorial Library for offering this opportunity, and I’m thankful for Sarah Brown (and library volunteer extraordinaire, Ellen!) for making sure every class went as smoothly as possible.
Were you a part of “Playing With Paint”? If so, how was your experience? Please let me know in the comments!
photo credit: Chris Tucker
Do you live locally? If so, you can check out the awesome work that was created during “Playing With Paint” in person: there is a show hanging in the front lobby of Curtis Memorial Library until November 10th! The show went up on Monday, October 24th, and I stopped in to the library last Tuesday to see how everything looked…here’s a video of my visit! Thanks to Michael Gorzka for shooting this footage, and thanks to Melissa Hall for doing such a great job hanging this show!
Here’s a brief write-up about the class:
…and here are some photos of the finished work all in one place!
The feedback on “Playing With Paint” from class attendees, library patrons, and staff members alike has been overwhelmingly positive, and the hope is that we can do more things like this in the future. Keep your fingers crossed! Have you seen the “Playing With Paint” exhibit in person? If so, please share your thoughts in the comments section!