My hat's off
I didn’t start out being a fan of Van Gogh’s. When you learn about art, you see photographs of art and most of the time those photographs are a pretty reasonable rendition of the real thing.
I believe it wasn’t until I visited the D’Orsay Museum in Paris around my 30th birthday that I became a true fanatic of Van Gogh’s.
No one ever told me that to see the texture of Van Gogh’s work would be so extraordinary and so the first time I saw his work live, I was humbled. In my mind, I had often wondered what was the big deal about Van Gogh and his love for yellowish paintings. I had no idea!
Over the years, not only has his work fascinated me but his life began to intrigue me as well. Who was this man that decided to use so much paint on his paintings – such thick paint that it pops off the canvas.
I want to touch his paintings.
On this trip to France, I visited Arles where Van Gogh resided for a few years and where he painted some of his most well known pieces including the famous yellow house that he lived in and painted. I am lucky that my family was willing to play along as we “followed in Van Gogh’s footsteps” for a few hours.
Sometimes I ponder Van Gogh’s mental condition. Was it really syphilis or gonorrhea that caused him to behave as he did in his life or was Van Gogh unbalanced mentally since birth? I think it was a combination of some of the above and perhaps he was on the spectrum… Sometimes I think we’re all a little on the spectrum.
My son is very fond of posing “Would you rather” questions to me. It got me thinking – Would you rather have the success that Van Gogh has had after his death having only sold one painting in his life or would you rather have sold 50 paintings while you were living?
I don’t think Van Gogh thought about his success as much as he thought about how he was going to paint again the next day. His one track mind caused him to paint many selfies (self portraits – lack of a model), barter his pieces for more paint and food and he painted over old canvases.
I’m not quite sure what made Van Gogh so outside the box but I’m glad he was. What would he think today if he knew his name was a household name? I am not sure he’d care...