Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Prolific Artist

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I was watching Doctor Who the other day, and I was reminded of one of my favorite episodes from Matt Smith's seasons. It's titled "Vincent and the Doctor."

The ending of that episode still pulls at my heartstrings. I tried finding a clip of it on YouTube, but there isn't one. I did manage to find a fan-made video for it though.

If you haven't already seen it, you might still be able to catch this episode on Netflix's Instant Watch. (I haven't had Netflix for over a year now, but hopefully it's still available). The ending with the museum really was beautifully done, and the actor that portrayed Van Gogh was brilliant I thought. I enjoyed him a lot.

This was a BEAUTIFUL episode, not to mention a fantastic introductory episode for anyone wanting to get a friend or family member interested in the Doctor Who series.

After watching Vincent and the Doctor once, I did some research about him online and discovered that today is the anniversary of Van Gogh's death.


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"Look at the sky. It's not dark and black and without character. The black is, in fact deep blue. And over there: lighter blue and blowing through the blues and blackness the winds swirling through the air and then shining, burning, bursting through the stars!"

- Vincent and the Doctor


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- “One may have a blazing hearth in one's soul and yet no one ever came to sit by it. Passers-by see only a wisp of smoke from the chimney and continue on their way.”

- “Your profession is not what brings home your weekly paycheck, your profession is what you're put here on earth to do, with such passion and such intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling.”

- “There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”

- “Normality is a paved road: It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.”

- “I don't know anything with certainty, but seeing the stars makes me dream.”

- “I would rather die of passion than of boredom.”

- “I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it.”

- “At present I absolutely want to paint a starry sky. It often seems to me that night is still more richly coloured than the day; having hues of the most intense violets, blues and greens. If only you pay attention to it you will see that certain stars are lemon-yellow, others pink or a green, blue and forget-me-not brilliance. And without my expatiating on this theme it is obvious that putting little white dots on the blue-black is not enough to paint a starry sky.”

- "How can I be useful, of what service can I be? There is something inside me, what can it be?"

- “I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart.”

- “The beginning is perhaps more difficult than anything else, but keep heart, it will turn out all right.”

- “Love is eternal -- the aspect may change, but not the essence. There is the same difference in a person before and after he is in love as there is in an unlighted lamp and one that is burning. The lamp was there and was a good lamp, but now it is shedding light too, and that is its real function. And love makes one calmer about many things, and that way, one is more fit for one's work.”

- "The way to know life is to love many things."

- “Be clearly aware of the stars and infinity on high. Then life seems almost enchanted after all.”

- “Success is sometimes the outcome of a whole string of failures.”

- “If you don’t have a dog--at least one--there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life.”

- "How difficult it is to be simple."

- “It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.”

- “It is with the reading of books the same as with looking at pictures; one must, without doubt, without hesitations, with assurance, admire what is beautiful.”

- “Someday death will take us to another star.”

- “What am I in the eyes of most people — a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person — somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low. All right, then — even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart. That is my ambition, based less on resentment than on love in spite of everything, based more on a feeling of serenity than on passion. Though I am often in the depths of misery, there is still calmness, pure harmony and music inside me. I see paintings or drawings in the poorest cottages, in the dirtiest corners. And my mind is driven towards these things with an irresistible momentum.”

- "One can speak poetry just by arranging colors well."

- “What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything? If you hear a voice within saying ‘You are not a painter’ then by all means paint – and that voice will be silenced.”

- “The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.”

- “I wish they would take me as I am.”

- “Dear brother,

I feel what Pa and Ma instinctively think about me (I don’t say reasonably).

There’s a similar reluctance about taking me into the house as there would be about having a large, shaggy dog in the house. He’ll come into the room with wet paws — and then, he’s so shaggy. He’ll get in everyone’s way. And he barks so loudly.

In short — it’s a dirty animal.

Very well — but the animal has a human history and, although it’s a dog, a human soul, and one with finer feelings at that, able to feel what people think about him, which an ordinary dog can’t do.

And I, admitting that I am a sort of dog, accept them as they are."

- “Just slap anything on when you see a blank canvas staring you in the face like some imbecile. You don't know how paralyzing that is, that stare of a blank canvas is, which says to the painter, ‘You can't do a thing’. The canvas has an idiotic stare and mesmerizes some painters so much that they turn into idiots themselves. Many painters are afraid in front of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the real, passionate painter who dares and who has broken the spell of `you can't' once and for all.”

- “I think that I still have it in my heart someday to paint a bookshop with the front yellow and pink in the evening...like a light in the midst of the darkness.”

- “I feel such a creative force in me: I am convinced that there will be a time when, let us say, I will make something good every day , on a regular basis... I am doing my very best to make every effort because I am longing so much to make beautiful things. But beautiful things mean painstaking work, disappointment, and perseverance.”

- “If one feels the need of something grand, something infinite, something that makes one feel aware of God, one need not go far to find it. I think that I see something deeper, more infinite, more eternal than the ocean in the expression of the eyes of a little baby when it wakes in the morning and coos or laughs because it sees the sun shining on its cradle.”

- “So often, a visit to a bookshop has cheered me, and reminded me that there are good things in the world.”

- “What preys on my mind is simply this one question: what am I good for, could I not be of service or use in some way?”

- “Looking at the stars always makes me dream, as simply as I dream over the black dots representing towns and villages on a map.

Why, I ask myself, shouldn’t the shining dots of the sky be as accessible as the black dots on the map of France?

Just as we take a train to get to Tarascon or Rouen, we take death to reach a star. We cannot get to a star while we are alive any more than we can take the train when we are dead. So to me it seems possible that cholera, tuberculosis and cancer are the celestial means of locomotion. Just as steamboats, buses and railways are the terrestrial means.

To die quietly of old age would be to go there on foot.”



  1. Van Gogh is one of my favourite artists, and also writers. His journals and letters are so inspiring because they give a poignant glimpse into the real struggle of being and artist. Thanks so much for sharing these images and quotes and reminding me of how much I love him! X Jane

    1. Oh, absolutely! I especially loved discovering all those quotes by him. When I decided to share them on my blog here, for the first time I was actually a little unhappy that my blog isn't well known. (I'm terrible at blog pimping. I'm just not a fan of that and only comment on blogs I actually enjoy). I was just so impressed with his words that I wanted to share those words with others. He was a deeply complex man, yet I feel he treasured the simple things in life.

      I had no idea just how wise Van Gogh was until I started researching out of curiosity. He was such a brilliant man, and not only artist-wise. It's a travesty that he wasn't given that credit while he was still alive.


  2. Hi Kristin!
    This is my first visit to your blog. It is both interesting and beautiful.
    Thank you so much for visiting my Saturday's Critters offering. Have been a bit under the weather the past few days, so I've been slow responding to comments.
    Miniature horses are cute as buttons and stubborn (and strong) as mules! It took three of us to give Gracie her first bath! And we were STILL pulled into the sticker bushes!
    Hope to see you this coming Saturday with another critter!

  3. a true artist indeed!! a beautiful entry!!!!

  4. I thought I left a comment, perhaps not!? I enjoyed this entry you shared, he was a gifted and very talented man!!

  5. He had his style figured out for sure. You can always spot his work. But a very tragic existence. I like less drama. LOL!! Great post!


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