This month’s Virtual Paintout is taking us to the city of Arles, where Vincent Van Gogh moved to in 1888 and which would turn out to be his most productive period, painting the now famous scenes such as les Alychamps, Starry night over the Rhône, The Café Terrace on the Place du Forum, just to name a few.
Like some other Virtual Paintout participants, I decided to paint a scene from one of Van Gogh’s painting. Thanks to Google Street View, I was able to locate and virtually plant my easel in almost the same spot that Van Gogh did to paint “The bridge of Trinquetaille” – To specify that he in fact, painted two different views of the bridge – I chose the view featuring the stairway and which is also known in French as “l’Escalier du pont de Trinquetaille”.
According to a letter that he wrote to his brother Theo, the bridge of Trinquetaille was painted on a grey October morning – The Google Street View photo shows a bright clear sky day, probably in early Spring around mid-day – To work with the Street View reference photo and since I always preferred Van Gogh’s more brighter coloured paintings anyway, I used Cerulean blue as well as my usual Ultramarine, Carmin instead of Cadmium red and more Cadmium yellow for the stairway to give a “Van Gogh-ish” touch to my painting
Interestingly, the young plane tree (Platanus orientalis) in the 1888 painting is still there today, but has grown a great deal, so much that my painting should probably be named something like “The tree next to the stairway of the bridge of Trinquetaille” but that’s too much of a freaking long name – Anyway, I like the way that its smaller branches are poking in every directions – I decided to paint the tree blue, inspiring myself from plane trees in another of Van Gogh’s painting; “Orchard in blossom with view of Arles”.