Tempera paint, thickened with glue and cornmeal, is used in an impasto technique to recreate Van Gogh's famous painting, Sunflowers.
Van Gogh was born March 30, 1853, in the Netherlands, son of a Dutch Protestant pastor. Early in life he displayed a moody, restless temperament. By the age of 27, he had been a salesman in an art gallery, a French tutor, a theological student, and an evangelist among the miners in Belgium. His experiences as a preacher are reflected in his first paintings of peasants and potato diggers. Dark and somber, these early works show van Gogh's desire to express the misery and poverty as he saw it among the miners.
Vincent van Gogh is believed to have taken a medicine called digitalis. Large doses of digitalis caused van Gogh to see mostly yellow and gold. It also caused his vision to blur, and made him see halos around objects. Digitalis also made van Gogh lose his temper. Sometimes he would get so mad, he couldn't control his temper. He also had many other hard times. He fell in love with his cousin Kate, but she rejected him. Van Gogh always had bad luck with women. Then in 1885, van Gogh's father died. When his father died, van Gogh was even more depressed, so he went to live with his brother Theo, an art dealer in Paris.
In Paris, van Gogh became familiar with the new art movements developing at the time. He started painting with the brilliant hues found in the paintings of the French artists Camille Pissarro and Georges Seurat.
In 1888, van Gogh left Paris for southern France, where he painted scenes of the fields, cypress trees, peasants, and rustic life characteristic of the region. During this period, he began to use the swirling brush strokes and intense yellows, greens, and blues associated with such typical works as Bedroom at Arles and Starry Night. Van Gogh met the painter Paul Gauguin and they started painting together. After less than two months, they began to have violent disagreements, culminating in a quarrel in which van Gogh wildly threatened Gauguin with a razor. The same night, in deep remorse, van Gogh cut off part of his own ear. He then spent a year in an asylum, working between repeated spells of madness. Under the care of a sympathetic doctor, van Gogh spent three months at the asylum. Just after completing his ominous Crows in the Wheatfields, he shot himself on July 27, 1890, and died two days later.
(Note on cleanup: Don’t throw the thickened paint down the sink drain, since it contains glue and could clog. It’s safer to throw it in the trash.)