Van Gogh in NOLA

Van Gogh’s Café Terrace at Night [in Arles] is the first of his paintings that pops up in an image search. Does that mean it’s popular? I think so but other paintings of his are more well known. When you think of Van Gogh, you think of works like: Starry Night, Sunflowers, Almond Tree Branches, Black Crows in Wheatfield and many, many  others. He was quite a prolific painter.

When my mother snapped these shots of a mural of Van Gogh’s Café Terrace at Night in New Orleans (NOLA), I was happy to see them because I hadn’t seen this mural before and this is one of my more connected memories to Van Gogh’s paintings. Art, I believe, has most meaning when there is connection.

VanGogh-in-Arles_NOLA on Art Is Everywhere

Mural of Van Gogh's Café Terrace at Night. Photos by Lorre Lei Jackson

VanGogh-in_Arles2_NOLA on Art Is Everywhere

VanGogh-in-Arles3_NOLA on Art Is Everywhere

I love Van Gogh’s work but certain pieces speak to you and this one did because even though I wasn’t in Arles, where he painted it, I was at that very scene in 2006, when I went on an “art trip” with my parents and my sister Lindsey in the Provence region of France. We were traveling with a well known pastel painter, Alan Flattmann. He taught us how to paint with pastels, which I was reluctant to do before because I don’t like the feel of pastel and/ or chalk. The difference is that pastel is pure pigment. Alan taught us through his creative process from finding the scene to paint, determining the composition and the type of paper to use, laying out the foundational drawing to the layers of additional pigment and showing us how the painting developed. He was a good teacher and is an exceptionally talented artist. I’ll have to reserve an entire future blog post dedicated to Alan and that trip, but for now, here’s just one picture of him in the process of painting the harbor in Coullioure, France.

AlanFlattmann_Coullioure_AIE on Art Is Everywhere

In going back through this album, I just had to post this endearing photo of my dad, which I love,  doing his best at drawing. The problem for a neurosurgeon is they get too stuck on the details. He did a good job but boy, did it take long — and  he never lost focus. He was a practicing surgeon until 80 years old. Amazing!

Dr.John-JacksonDrawing_on Art Is Everywhere. Photo by C. Ashley Spencer

Here’s my reproduction of Van Gogh’s Café Terrace at Night, that I painted when I returned home from this trip. It greets people when they enter my living room.

VanGogh_Repro-painting by Ashley Spencer 0059_blog

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2 Responses to “Van Gogh in NOLA”

  1. Hi Ashley,

    I’m honored to be featured on your weblog. That was a wonderful trip to France and I have fond memories of you, Lindsey and your parents. I’m glad to hear you are doing so well with your art. By the way, I think the date of the trip was 1996, not 2006.

    Best wishes……………Alan

  2. casart says:

    Alan,

    Good to hear from you! We’re all still talking about that trip to this day. It was great. You’re right about the date. I’ll correct that, thanks. Lack of sleep, I guess… But where has the time gone? Hard to believe it was that long ago and still feels like just a few years ago. Take care and hope to connect with you regarding a future feature blog post, if you’re up for it…Will look forward to seeing more of you wonderful paintings.

    –Ashley

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