For some reason, I found myself thinking about Vincent van Gogh this evening. I'd been outside admiring my yard and its inhabitants. Of the botanical kind. There are just so many greens. I recalled letters Vincent wrote to his brother and benefactor, Theo, about color and its nuances, particularly those found in yellows and greens. He wrote in one of those letters, dated October of 1885, "I don't mind so much whether my color corresponds exactly, as long as it looks as beautiful on my canvas as it looks in nature." I still have, after the great purge, a few books about Vincent left in my library. I took them down tonight and paged through them. Some of the plates are so well-done that it's almost the next-best-thing-to in-person.
Maybe you have a favorite self-portrait of his. That one is mine. His first. For me, it goes directly to his heart. For a brief moment, he captured a part of himself that was vulnerable, but had not yet gone mad from the world's inability to see and feel what he saw and felt. The beauty. The truth of it.
Below, is one of my favorite paintings of his, Interior of a Restaurant, painted in the summer of 1887. I love the greens. Each dash of color on the restaurant wall, the splashes of green in the table bouquets. And the yellows in the floor. I can start to understand his obsession. Taken from inside the dreamlike quality of Impressionism, they almost feel touchable, knowable.
When my younger son was in elementary school, first grade, I believe, he had a fine music teacher who understood that creativity involves all of our senses; that you can feel, even hear, a painting; that paintings can remind us of music and music can reciprocate. One day, Mr. C. had put up a picture of a van Gogh painting and asked if anyone knew who the painter was. Coleman provided the answer and the name of the painting. Sometimes, children have a natural predilection for something or someone and this was one of those for him, art and music being integral to our lives.
I believe art and music should be integral to everyone's life. But, before I start to preach, perhaps I should give my confession.
It was an exhibit of Impressionism at a well-established art museum which shall go unnamed. I had not intended to go astray. It just sorta happened. As these things tend to do. Let's call it temporary insanity, shall we?
Anyway, it was near the end of the day and everyone else had left. Not planned. Just convenient. One lone guard stood sentry at the end of the hall. I had been standing before a particular painting for several minutes. I believe it was, Landscape With Cart and Train," by Vincent. I'm telling you, I simply could not get enough of that field.
I didn't arrive at an elaborate plan. It was an almost instantaneous decision to go insane and reach out, just for a
I know. I can hear you gasping. I do know better. I do. I know all the reasons why it's so wrong. I'm telling you, it was just completely and utterly irresistible to me, in that moment. That's why they call it temporary insanity.
I have oft asked forgiveness for that particularly egregious act. I'm not certain, yet, if I've been forgiven. If it's even possible. Maybe I'm hoping this will increase my chances.
I hope you have time to watch and listen to this video. Almost unbearable beauty. And a song to match.
And, I'm certain I'm not the first to ask, 'Who's going to fill these shoes?"