Making your own Vermeer

February 21st, 2009
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I have recently uploaded my new personal website which displays 7 interiors painted in oils and 10 watercolors of the suburban American landscape. Many of my colleagues and collectors find it hard to reconcile the two. But I simply paint for two different reasons. Here’s the first.

Ever since I saw my first Vermeer during RISD days, one of my goals has been to possess one of his works. Excluding the fact that I would eventually make or come into that kind of money, the only open venue was to do one myself (or at least an acceptable version).

Conceiving proper motifs wasn’t the real obstacle, on the contrary. By assuming the proper angle, it was striking to note how little seemed to have changed over the centuries. Everywhere I turned I saw, and still see today, Vermeer compositions. The looks, gestures and the simple sense of being there of today’s people engaged in letter writing and reading, courtship, study and music making appear identical as once did (the next time you see some young girl across the table batting in an email on her laptop, observe her expression when her hands come to stand still).

And then there was the indispensable ingredient of every Vermeer, the incessant activity of daylight. The laws which govern it are even more immutable than mankind’s daily activities. So there I had it, the plausibility of doing a contemporary Vermeer without a trace of anachronism.

The most problematic part was figuring out how to transform a theoretical Vermeer motif into a living picture with the primitive stuff we call paint and brush. Nobody at RISD had a clue and great pictures are not very reliable if considered as painting manuals.

2 Responses to “Making your own Vermeer”

  1. ARech

    You have not only made a Vermeer for your own, you have presented us with so many marvelous, truly ‘new Vermeers’ coming so close to the Master’s unsurpassed art! They make us believe that such precious moments of silence, either while being absorbed in a daily activity like reading a magazine or writing an email, or a moment of piece over a Seattle parking lot covered with the first snow, are still possible to experience today, even in these times of constant rush and trouble.

    Moreover, with your unique book and CD ‘How to Paint Your Own Vermeer’
    http://howtopaintyourownvermeer.jonathanjanson.com/index.html

    you have revealed Vermeer’s so sublime painting technique with all its aspects in such clear and comprehensible manner, thereby rescuing the great Master’s specific technique from falling into complete oblivion. Please accept my deepest and sincerest thanks for all your invaluable efforts regarding Vermeer’s art in these past decades, as well as for the so precious gifts of your own Vermeers.

    AR

  2. ARech

    You have not only made a Vermeer for your own, you have presented us with so many marvelous ‘new Vermeers’ coming so close to the Master’s unsurpassed art! They make us believe that such precious moments of silence, either while being absorbed in a daily activity like reading a magazine or writing an email, or a moment of piece over a Seattle parking lot covered with the first snow, are still possible to experience even in these times of constant rush and trouble.

    Moreover, with your unique book and CD ‘How to Paint Your Own Vermeer’
    http://howtopaintyourownvermeer.jonathanjanson.com/index.html

    you have revealed Vermeer’s so sublime painting technique with all its aspects in such clear and comprehensible manner, thereby rescuing the great Master’s specific technique from falling into complete oblivion. Please accept my deepest and sincerest thanks for all your invaluable efforts regarding Vermeer’s art in these past decades, as well as for the so precious gifts of your own Vermeers.

    AR

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