Recreating Van Gogh’s White Roses

I painted Van Gogh’s White Roses. Why? Because I had started this painting 3 years ago and I needed to finish it. I had painted the underpainting years ago, but I kept putting off painting the colors because I knew it would need to be painted in one sitting while the paint was still dry. And the canvas is big. But, at the end of July, I decided to paint. I cranked out the top layer of this painting in 2 days. I spent 7 hours on a Friday and 10 hours the next day, making myself paint until I finished. And I did! (Although honestly, there’s a few details on leaves that I’ve neglected and a few mistakes, but it’s all good).

While my recreation isn’t perfect and certainly doesn’t compare with the real Van Gogh painting, I learned a lot about Van Gogh and I appreciate his work a lot more now.

Things I learned about painting like Van Gogh:

  1. Use paint straight from the tube! Thick paint is best
  2. Let colors mix together
  3. Keep painting before the paint has dried (alla prima!)

To paint this, I looked at every brushstroke in the White Roses painting by using the zoom feature on the National Gallery of Art’s website. The NGA website has very clear and focused images of this painting, which made it a lot easier to emulate Van Gogh’s marks. I also went to the NGA a few times to study Van Gogh’s brushstrokes and practice painting like Van Gogh.

Below are my process pictures:

The finished painting:

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