Thursday, July 12, 2012

Starry Night

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The work of Van Gogh had one influence on me when writing OCULUS, the sequel to Slipstream. I decided to make Jordan's mom an artist, who painted pictures (similar in style to Van Gogh) while staying in a psychiatric hospital. Kathy learns about this when she visits her advisor who worked on the case, and he tells her a story of how the images that this woman painted came to haunt him for years. Later, Kathy is viewing one of these paintings on her iPad when she accidentally opens a portal that allows her to converse with her mother for the first time in her life. The entire conversation plays on a video player, only Kathy can feel a breeze emanating up from the iPad while her mother tells her about the history of the Watchers and a coming war between angels and demons.

Below you will find a digital painting created by artist Alex Ruiz in an attempt to reinterpret Vincent Van Gogh's work "The Starry Night". I think it's stunning.
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In reading about Van Gogh, I learned that he had a form of epilepsy that could descend upon him at random, cause him to black out, and when he woke...he would have no recollection of what occurred during the black out. People who have studied his life believe that he lived every day with the spectre of death hovering over him and that he stared at things and sought to capture them because he felt, it could be the last time he would ever see them.
In the book I was reading, Van Gogh would never have actually stood under the stars as Alex Ruiz would suggest in this painting. Rather, Van Gogh was committed to an asylum by his brother and wasn't allowed to go out at night. Instead, he would have stared out from his window at the night sky and then waited until morning before he could go to his workshop and paint what he saw.

In any event, the original, and this one by Ruiz, possess a certain magic to them.

Wouldn't you agree?

44 comments:

  1. I never knew that about Van Gogh. Very interesting!

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  2. Absolutely fascinating. And the pictures are both stunning in their own way. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Both paintings are truly moving and amazing. Thanks for sharing.

    Denise

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  4. Wow. That digital painting is stunning. My daughter had epilepsy when she was younger, she's an artist too. I'm not going to commit her though! lol ;)

    They pronounce Van Go as Van Goff here in the UK. Just FYI ;)

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  5. The digital one is amazing. And Van Gogh's life brings new meaning to the term 'tortured artist,' living in an asylum.

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  6. It's a shame one so talented had so many problems. :(

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  7. The digital painting is absolutely amazing. Interesting about the Van Gogh's epilepsy. To me, whenever I saw this painting, I thought of astigimatism. I have it, and without glasses at night, all lights look like his starry night. Makes for crazy driving.

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  8. Both are simply stunning. I've always admired Starry Night and Ruiz's interpretation is beautiful.

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  9. Was it during one of his blackouts where he cut off his ear? That is a nice painting. Too bad we can't see the night sky anymore with all the light pollution. The teacher of my astronomy class like 13 years ago said all we'd have to do is change our streetlamps a little bit and we'd reduce light pollution by a lot, but nothing seems to be done about that. If anything street lamps are brighter, except in parts of Detroit where they don't work at all.

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  10. I love the interpretation of what Van Gogh saw when he painted that. It looks awesome.

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  11. Ruiz's vision is visionary in and of itself.

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  12. Absolutely incredible Van Gogh has always been a favorite of mine. I love the song "Starry Starry Night" by Don McLean, too.

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  13. Both pieces here are impressive. I've always loved Van Gogh. The Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam is amazing. And did you know that researchers have now found evidence to suggest that Van Gogh didn't actually commit suicide as originally believed? They say it was an accidental shooting that involved two young boys in a wheat field, and he took responsibility to protect them.

    Here's the link to the article. You may find it interesting :)

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-15328583

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  14. I didn't know that about Van Gogh either. It could be the picture of something he saw out an asylum window. I love the recreation though.

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  15. Absolutely. Stunning is the perfect word.

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  16. I've always loved Van Gogh's Starry Night, but that digital one is awesome. Neat tribute.

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  17. There is something magical about the way Van Gogh taps into our hearts and minds. I remember in the seventies driving into San Francisco to see the Van Gogh Foundation's traveling exhibit. We got in line in front of the museum at 7:30 am and the show didn't open until 9:am. It was pouring rain and there were three thousand people in line ahead of us.
    I can only wonder what Vincent would have thought about all the attention.

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  18. There's a great Dr Who episode with Van Gogh.

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  19. Wow, that's some really interesting history. I wonder if that's part of the magic of the painting, like maybe there's also longing.

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  20. Ruiz's picture is gorgeous.
    There's an old movie about Van Gogh starring Kirk Douglas called Lust for Life. I haven't seen it in years but I remember how moving it was and how devoted and supportive his brother was.

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  21. @Elizabeth: For 10 years, writers Gregory White Smith, Steven Naifeh and a team of researchers delved deeply into the life of Vincent van Gogh. They read the books he read in his day, dissected his numerous letters and scoured every text and record they could find on him. Their new biography of the fabled artist lays bare van Gogh's deeply troubled, fanatic and passionate soul, and it offers a revisionist history of his death. It's called "The Life" and an impressive achievement.

    @Angeline: You're welcome

    @Denise: You're welcome

    @Suzanne: I knew that from a Dr. Who episode.

    @Alex: I suppose you are right.

    @Cindy: Genius and madness often go hand in hand

    @Em: That's an interesting observation.

    @Rusty: Spoken from a true artist.

    @Laura: I think Alex Ruiz has created a modern day masterpiece.

    @P.T.: It would be nice to see the night sky.

    @Jamie: I do too

    @Richard: I agree

    @Michelle: I don't think I've heard that song. I'll have to see if I can find it online.

    @DRC: Thank you for the link. I had no idea.

    @Clarissa: Me too.

    @Matt: It's very calming, similar to the beautiful stone garden that Lee toils in (speaking of your book "Warrior Monks" which is beyond excellent btw). I will get more feedback to you on it shortly.

    @L.G.: It's an impressive painting.

    @Stephen: I was hoping you would comment. You sir are a man that knows how to appreciate art.

    @Andrew: LOL I was thinking the same thing. I loved how they took a smudge in the church window of one of his paintings and made that into this whole incredible episode with invisible creatures.

    @amberlin: I agree.

    @Helena: I agree. Van Gogh's brother was very supportive. He paid all the bills to the asylum and never once bothered his brother with those details so that he would be free to ruminate on his paintings and the incredible world in which he lived.

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  22. I love Starry Night, and the other by Ruiz is gorgeous. The night sky has such a depth to it - I want to reach in and touch it!

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  23. I didn't know that about Van Gogh, but Starry Night is my favorite painting. I have a reprint of it in my room, and I love the digital one too. So beautiful.

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  24. I've seen that painting on facebook, and I've been wanting to find out who the author of the painting is. THanks for sharign! I love it!
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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  25. beautiful...

    another of van gogh's afflictions, apparently, was a form of autism...

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  26. Always, mega-talented people are troubled by depression or some terrible form of illness. Haven't read about Van Gogh artist, at all.

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  27. Absolutely gorgeous. I wished our night sky looked like that!

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  28. I love his work. I have several framed prints in my house.

    Was he even 40 when he shot himself???

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  29. Agreed! They're both amazing images.

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  30. Van Gogh, one of my favorite artists.

    @PT Dilloway: In parts of France highway streetlamps are being ripped for their copper wiring and in certain areas it has been deemed too expensive to repair. Result: slower speeds on the darker parts of the highway which translates to fewer accidents and less light pollution.

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  31. I didn't know that about Van Gogh either. I love the reinterpretation of "Starry Night". Truly beautiful!

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  32. I feel that the best imagined tales were those that were done from afar-- dreaming of the things they want to see or can only envision from afar. And conversely-- the best tales to read are those that take you to those places. Both pieces are terrific! Cheers Michael!

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  33. I didn't know all of that about Van Gogh. Makes me sad. But I love his work and the digital picture is beautiful as well. I love art.

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  34. It does have a magical quality. We use to play a game as children called Masterpiece. It's where I first discovered this painting and the disturbing story of Van Gogh's life. It was a fantastic game.

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  35. not a fan of Gogh, I prefer more realistic artists and painters, but the Ruiz one is lovely!

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  36. Love that pic! Making it my wall paper now.

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  37. Ever since i saw the episodes of Doctor Who with Van Gogh, i totally love him.

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  38. Just learned something new about Van Gogh. I was lucky enough to see some of his paintings a few years ago when I was in Washington DC:)

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  39. Oh my god, Michael that is gorgeous. I could look at that all day. Even if it never would have happened, it is a truly stunning tribute.

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  40. STUNNING! An absoluting intriguing digital version of my favorite 'masterpiece'. Thanks!

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