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van Gogh


Describe an artist whose work you first discounted but later loved. What caused the change? When I was in about the third grade, I saw a photo of a painting by Vincent van Gogh. It was the Potato Eaters. The painting was dark and the people were grotesque and had strange features. They were a little scary. There was very little color in the art work. I looked up Vincent van Gogh and discovered from his self-portraits that he must have had red hair and he cut off one of his ears as well as shooting himself. So perhaps that explained his strange painting. He had been in an asylum which meant that he was a crazy person. At least in my adolescent eyes that was the case. Then, I found Starry Night. It was very colorful and reflected the stars with rings around them which may have meant van Gogh had cataracts. I then found his Sunflowers and Irises. I could not quit looking at them. I wanted to paint like that. He pushed the paint around on his canvas and it appeared as if the paint was very thick. After all, it was just a photograph of the painting. As I grew older, I came to appreciate his work more and more. I am still amazed at the shear number of works that he painted in such a short life.

I set my classroom up to be a studio and my students work in pods. Last year, the pods were named Renaissance 1400-1600, Baroque 1600 to 1750, Modern 1750 – 1900, Modern 1900 – 2000 and Vincent van Gogh 1852-1890. We studied the periods of Art History and kept Journals with daily entries about a work of art and the artist within the periods. We studied about van Gogh separately. I teach about him to my students and they respect his work almost as much as I.


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