how to paint a starry night background

How to paint a starry night background
1889. Oil on canvas, 29 x 36 1/4″ (73.7 x 92.1 cm)
Vincent van Gogh: Emotion, Vision, and A Singular Style

How to paint a starry night background
Starry Night is one of the most recognized pieces of art in the world. It is absolutely everywhere, too. It can be seen on coffee, mugs, t-shirts, towels, magnets, etc. Honestly, it sometimes feels as if the painting’s fame has exceeded that of its creator. It is a magnificent piece of art. That Starry Night resonates with so many people is a testament to how its beauty is timeless and universal.
Vincent van Gogh painted Starry Night in 1889 during his stay at the asylum of Saint-Paul-de-Mausole near Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. Van Gogh lived well in the hospital; he was allowed more freedoms than any of the other patients. If attended, he could leave the hospital grounds; he was allowed to paint, read, and withdraw into his own room. He was even given a studio. While he suffered from the occasional relapse into paranoia and fits – officially he had been diagnosed with epileptic fits – it seemed his mental health was recovering.
Unfortunately, he relapsed. He began to suffer hallucination and have thoughts of suicide as he plunged into depression. Accordingly, there was a tonal shift in his work. He returned to incorporating the darker colors from the beginning of his career and Starry Night is a wonderful example of that shift. Blue dominates the painting, blending hills into the sky. The little village lays at the base in the painting in browns, greys, and blues. Even though each building is clearly outlined in black, the yellow and white of the stars and the moon stand out against the sky, drawing the eyes to the sky. They are the big attention grabber of the painting.

How to paint a starry night background
The foreground in this particular painting is a lake lined with mountains. However you can put whatever you like. I am a big fan of simple silhouettes such as trees, mountains, grasses, lakes, tree swings, cabins, the possibilities are endless.
Using your sponges in different ways will create different textures and effects. Try lightly wiping to create wisps, circular motions to create a cloudy effect, dabbing, twisting, and rubbing will work together to create a more natural un-uniform sky.

How to paint a starry night background
► Full list of all the supplies I used ( English / Deutsch )
Joakim Karud – Canals (Chillhop Essentials Summer 2016)

How to paint a starry night background
Van Gogh continued to paint after leaving the asylum, where he lived in Auvers-sur-Oise under the care of homeopathic doctor Dr. Gachet. Sadly, Van Gogh was not able to overcome his mental illness, and on July 27, 1890, he shot himself in the chest with a revolver. Joined on his deathbed by his brother Theo, his last words were reportedly, “The sadness will last forever.”
The Starry Night is of course the most well-known from this time period, and was the view outside of Van Gogh’s window on a clear, still night. In a letter to his brother Theo, he wrote, “Through the iron-barred window, I can see an enclosed square of wheat… above which, in the morning, I watch the sun rise in all its glory.” In another letter he stated, “This morning I saw the countryside from my window a long time before sunrise with nothing but the morning star, which looked very big.” In an interesting turn of events, researchers have determined that this would have been the planet Venus, and that this can be seen in the painting just to the right of the cypress tree.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *