As part of my art education, Cheeko had me do a study of a master painting. I had to research and find out what paints were available to that artist at the time of the painting. I had to decide on who I wanted to study and chose Vincent van Gogh. His story appealed to me on many levels, he struggled with art for many years and always thought he was not ever good enough. Added to the fact that he had mental problems made this worse for him as well. He failed in love, he barely was able to make ends meet, of course, Theo, his brother contributed to Vincent so he could buy his pigments. He spent years trying to get by only to end up in a mental institution a couple of times. Poor Vincent, if he only knew how many people would come to love his work. Mine is the one at the bottom. I hope you enjoy.
I chose The Seated Zouave to do my study. Vincent first did a study in 1888 which was different from The Seated Zouave which I chose. Read what Vincent said in a letter to his brother: "I have a model at last.. a Zouave.. a boy with a small face, a bull neck, and the eye of a tiger, and I began with one portrait, and began again with another; the half-length I did of him was horribly harsh, in a blue uniform, the blue of enamel saucepans, with braids of a faded reddish-orange, and two yellow stars on his breast, an ordinary blue, and very hard to do. That bronzed, feline head of his with a red cap, I placed it against a green door and the orange bricks of a wall. So it's a savage combination of incongruous tones, not easy to manage. The study I made of it seems to me very harsh, but all the same I'd like always to be working on vulgar, even loud portraits like this. It teaches me something, and above all that is what I want of my work. The second portrait will be full length, sitting against a white wall."