There are many painters I admire, but only a few that speak right to my heart.
One of them is Johannes Vermeer(1632-1675).
A couple of his paintings can be seen in the Gemäldegalerie (Picture Gallery) in Berlin, and I can not count the times I stood in front of them, completely mesmerized.
In comparison to Rembrandt (1606-1669), who lived and worked around the same time, and whose works depict a wide range of style and subject matter – from portraits and self-portraits to landscapes, genre scenes, allegorical and historical scenes, biblical and mythological themes as well as animal studies – Vermeer specialized in domestic interior scenes of middle-class life, which are also called genre paintings.
Vermeer frequently worked with very expensive pigments, like ultramarine, lead-tin yellow (which is also known as the “Yellow of the Old Masters”), madder lake (Alizarin) and vermilion, and there are also theories that he worked with technical aids like curved mirrors and the camera obscura, in order to explain his almost photorealistic attention to details.
But all these facts don’t really matter when you stand in front of one of his paintings.
In my mind what matters most is the essence and soul that he managed to entrap within them. You can not help feeling something when you look at them. And this can not be explained but only admired.
So when I set out to paint my version of his “Girl with a Pearl Earring” (1665), I didn´t aim for producing a perfect likeness of said painting – which I would not have achieved anyway – but rather for capturing a feeling.
I wanted to paint my interpretation of this girl.
So here it is, my “In the Mood for Vermeer… Girl with a Pearl Earring”.
And for those of you who are interested in these kind of things, I include in this post the sequence of posts I published 2015 on my blog that also illustrate the process this painting of mine went through – you´ll be surprised to see what transformations can occur. 😉
This is what I posted on Aug 18, 2015:
In the Mood for… Vermeer – Girl with a Pearl Earring – Part I
I started a new painting last weekend and thought that it might be interesting for you to see the whole process bit by bit instead of just being presented with the result… 🙂
As you can see from the title – and probably already from the painting as well – it´s heavily influenced by one of my favourite paintings – “The Girl with a Pearl Earring” by the famous dutch artist Johannes Vermeer.
So, here it is: my first draft:
This is what I posted on Aug 24, 2015:
In the Mood for… Vermeer: Girl with a Pearl Earring – Part II
I found some time over the last weekend to work further on my Vermeer-like painting!
I “closed” the area around the eyes a bit (now it doesn´t look like she´s wearing too much eye liner anymore:) ) and started giving the skin a little bit more texture. I´m still not happy with the nose and the lips of course, but they´ll have to wait until next time!
This is what I posted on Aug 31, 2015:
In the Mood for… Vermeer: Girl with a Pearl Earring – Part III
Another week has passed and I worked more on my latest painting. As you can see, I concentrated my focus mainly on the nose: now she actually has some nostrils, but all in all, the nose is still too long for my taste:( But I didn´t paint it over at once, ´cause I think it might be interesting for you to see, how it grows (the picture, not the nose – although the latter definitely did that, too!). So, I stand by my “mistakes”, of which I can only learn and hope to get it right next time:)
I also worked a bit on my girl´s mouth: I added some teeth and started with putting some reflections on the lips.
This is what I posted on Sept 8, 2015:
In the Mood for … Vermeer – Girl with a Pearl Earring – Part IV
I did it! Finally I´ve managed to shorten the nose from “my” girl 🙂
Better now, don´t you think?
And this is what I posted on Sept 16, 2015:
In the Mood for … Vermeer – Girl with a Pearl Earring – Final Act!
And here it is – the final act of my latest painting! As you can see, I added some final brushstrokes for the lips, the ear and the headscarf, and also added the earring at last!