Welcome to the latest installation of Inspired by Art! Lately, as you may have noticed, I've been thinking Green; after all, Emerald green is Pantone's 2013 color of the year! More importantly though, I've been noticing the first green shoots and buds of spring emerging in windy Chicago, even as the intermittent splinters of winter frost keep our windows shut and our scarves wrapped tight. There is an uncertainty in this year's spring renewal, as if the anxious roots are wondering whether it's safe to peek above the ground.
It was during this time of year in 1890 that Van Gogh was painting his final works in the Saint-Paul asylum at Saint-Rémy. Though his year-long stay at the hospital was often troubled by poor living conditions and crippling bouts of illness, Van Gogh produced about 150 paintings, among them some of his best-loved works, including the world-renowned Starry Night. Near the end of his stay, Van Gogh painted several still-lifes of flowers to convey his cautious optimism toward his impending release. He wrote to his mother:
"But for one's health, as you say, it is very necessary to work in the garden and see the flowers growing."
Among these final still-lifes was a beautiful painting, titled Vase with Roses. It features beautiful white blooms (originally pink, but faded to a soft white through the years) amongst a wash of exuberant greens. Naturally, I was inspired to feature an interplay among the various greens. Rather than using greens as monotones, I've layered them to add intrigue and depth, just like one would find in natural foliage. Light or medium greens like Bobbi Brown Mint eyeshadow or NARS Misfit eyeshadow duo (reviewed here) are a good base. Deeper greens like MAC Plush eyeshadow and MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Shadow #8E (reviewed here) add depth.
The color palette in Van Gogh's Roses provides clues as to what would pair well with our green eyeshadows. I love the blue outlines and shadows on the roses. MAC Parisian Skies (reviewed here) is a great soft blue that could play a similar role in my Van Gogh inspired look. Of course, we can't forget about the aged white of the roses themselves. Illamasqua Sex eyeshadow is a white that would contrast beautifully with the greens above. The large earthen vase in Roses is a great neutral that grounds the rest of the colors. Likewise, I would suggest colors like MAC Moleskin eyeshadow (reviewed here) and Bobbi Brown Cement eyeshadow for use in blending or adding a little depth to the eye crease in this look!
Nail colors are another great way to incorporate the similar verdant greens and complementary colors into a cohesive look. SpaRitual Peace & Harmony (reviewed here) is the color of blousey white roses. Sephora by OPI Havana Dreams mimics the petals' shadows. Sephora by OPI Going Nude Eh? and OPI Did You 'Ear About Van Gogh? (reviewed here) are the color of an earthen flask. Some of my favorite green nail polishes include: Revlon Minted, SpaRitual Introspective (reviewed here), Essie Going Incognito, and China Glaze Exotic Encounters (reviewed here)
Finally, a flower-inspired look wouldn't be complete without a scent to match! Since my last installation of Inspired by Art, I've been incorporating perfume to quite literally add another 'layer' to the experience! Rather than take roses literally, I think the perfumes that would best reflect Van Gogh's Roses would fall into to one of two categories : green florals or big white blooms. Two green scents I've been loving lately include Prada Infusion d'Iris and Cartier Baiser Volé. Two big white bouquet scents suggested by my mom include Estée Lauder Beautiful (a classic) and Estée Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia.
It is thought that Van Gogh saw the springtime blooming of the hospital garden as a renewal --- a reaffirmation of the strength and beauty of life. Perhaps seeking a similar renewal in himself, he painted these beautiful pale-pink blooms floating in a sea of springtime green. Unfortunately, his optimism was ultimately conquered by his illness, and he took his own life not three months after his release from Saint Paul. Although Van Gogh succumbed to the ravages of his winter, the seeds he planted have since bloomed, making the world a more beautiful place --- something we can take to heart as the timid green buds peek out through the frosty ground this spring!
Thanks for reading! What are your favorite Van Gogh paintings? What green items have you been loving lately?
Beautiful post. You have now inspired me to go and pull out an Essie green polish I haven't had the guts to wear yet...ReplyDelete
Hi Kelly, Thank you so much! :)Delete
My favorite Van Gogh paintings are "The Iris" and "Enclosed field with rising sun". They just have the most impeccably perfect greens! I'm glad to see another one of his 'green' paintings featured here.ReplyDelete
I haven't really thought about using greens in my make up so far ,but I might give it a chance!(I am a bit tired of my lavenders....^_^).
Hi Mallard Duck, beautiful choice of paintings! I hope you'll enjoy some green in your routine for in the coming days!Delete
Amazing! You did it again, Dovey. :DReplyDelete
I used to be so scared of green, but lately it's a really enticing choice. This looks like a really wearable palette.
And I can't help but giggle at the name of that OPI shade referring to VG's ear.
Hi Liz, Thank you! I've been easing into green myself --- just hints of it here and there. As for the OPI, me too :-PDelete
Very late coming to the party, but I simply can't let one of my favorite paintings pass by without comment. I love your "Inspired by . . ." series, Dovey. There are such splendid combinations of color all around us and your series helps us to recognize the possibilities whether we are looking for something subtle or bold. I can easily see how the colors you selected could be used to create neutral looks with a hint of color, pastel younger than springtime looks, or deeper dramatic looks. We really don't need to worry about what goes with what when we have nature's palette to guide us. Even though color trends come and go in the blink of an eye, nature will always show us what is tried and true :-)ReplyDelete
Hi Eileen, Thank you so much for such a thoughtful and wonderful comment! You're words are inspiring in themselves... color truly is reflected in the world around us, especially nature!Delete
Wow, Dovey...this was not only one of the most eloquent and beautiful posts that I've read in a long time, but so historically rich & inspirational! I had the pleasure of visiting Paris twice (my honeymoon was the first time, and again on my 1st anniversary) and I actually visited several Van Gogh landmarks, most notably in Auvers-Sur-Oise where the artist is buried side by side with his beloved brother Theo. The Auberge Ravoux where he died, was not open to the public yet, so I did not get to see that, but it was lovely walking around the city and seeing the sights he painted (they have replicas of his paintings beside each landmark). Back in Paris, we went to the Musée d'Orsay almost daily, and I confess to having done something pretty naughty; when the guard wasn't looking, I actually ran my hands down a Van Gogh painting (it escapes me now as to which it was, but I believe it was a landscape) and I also touched a Monet (I also lay down on Monet's bed at Giverny, but that's a whole other story!) and while part of me regrets those actions now, the other part of me is thrilled to have had contact with a part of history from my two favourite artists of my favourite art period - Impressionism.ReplyDelete
The way you melded art with beauty/makeup and your composition of shades, is worthy of being put on a canvas as well -- I loved everything about this!
Hi Eugenia, Thank you so much for your kind comment! I absolutely LOVED hearing about your trip to Paris; I would love to visit Musée d'Orsay and Auberge Ravoux --- and it sounds like you had some truly memorable experiences there as well ;-)Delete
oo! the picture is pretty and NARS misfit is perfect for thatReplyDelete
Thank you Xlovehappyx!Delete
Oh Dovey! I have to tell you how much I love these posts - I agree with other comments - your Inspired By Art posts are inspirational in themselves. I have a few of the nail colours in my collection (Revlon Minted, OPI What's With the Cattitude?) but I think I have only one mint eyeshadow in my fairly hefty collection. Gorgeous, just gorgeous xoReplyDelete
Hi Vita, Thank you so much for the kind comment! I can definitely relate --- I think I only have one true mint eyeshadow, which is the Bobbi Brown shown here :)Delete
Excellent post, Dovey! I've always been a bit scared of greens too, but have been browsing for different emerald and green nail colours and eye shadows to try recently. Nars Misfit and MAC's plush both looks like pretty colours, and the Essie nail polish looks like a fantastic shade!ReplyDelete
Hi Nat, Thank you so much! Both greens are recent pickups for me --- it's been fun incorporating non neutrals into my routine!Delete
Thank you SO much for the amazing comments--- they were truly uplifting and wonderful to read! I will definitely reply to all of them all as soon as I can!