Late fall 2012 I had the pleasure of traveling to the Denver Art Museum to see the exhibit “Becoming Van Gogh”, where 70 drawings and paintings displayed Vincent Van Gogh’s influences and chronicled his transformation as an artist. I’ve always considered him to be one of the great colorists and a tremendous inspiration. Although he began painting with quite somber, monochromatic colors (“The Potato Eaters”), Van Gogh (Dutch, 1853-1890) developed his vibrant color palette after exposure to the French Impressionists and travels in the south of France. Van Gogh attempted the Pointillist painting technique of Georges Seurat (” A Sunday on the Island of the Grande Jatte”), but lacking the patience, developed his own “dash”-like brushtrokes. Since Van Gogh could seldom afford models, he often painted his own self portrait. I’ve selected one of my favorites from this show, “Self Portrait with Straw Hat”, 1887. There are so many colors just in his beard! I was inspired to imagine a room created from a color palette based on this self portrait. I used the Sherwin Williams “Color Snap” app on my Android smart phone to see what paint colors it would pull up. Of the 12 colors it selected, I only rejected two that were way off. I’ve added some additional SW colors I thought worked: SW 6238 “Fireweed”; SW 6607 “Red Tomato”; SW 6489 “Really Teal”; SW 6767 “Aquarium”. (Not pictured.)
This is tricky business, of course, with variations in color monitors, but a fun exercise. Can you connect the Sherwin Williams color to the strokes in the painting? Which ones would you use for wall colors? Furnishings? Accessories?