Amy's Whimsical Musings
Today is Vincent Van Gogh‘s birthday…and there are so many thoughts going through my head. Perhaps the most spot on thing I’ve ever learned from him is the concept of
– yes, that is what he called it and it’s just perfect to describe the sort of creative frenzy one can go into while one is in a very dark place. My most creative moments have been in these times and I’m sure I’ll have many more. It’s a mixed blessing, of course. Given that Vincent wrote so many letters to his brother Theo, we have quite a few direct quotes from him – and they are eloquent and inspiring as hell. I’ve pulled a few and have grouped them into four categories, or shall we say “life lessons” from the lips of Vincent.
These are about the essence of creativity…finding a muse in all of nature and one’s surroundings…keeping eyes and heart wide open and trying to pin down the beautiful and poignant into something tangible and lasting. Van Gogh must have had a sort of child-like wonder that is at the crux of all creative endeavors. I want to see poetry in everything…to paint my dreams…to admire more than the average person does.
Van Gogh was a strong believer in going one’s own way, despite the disapproval of others. These quotes would be wonderful to turn to when insecurity creeps in…when you feel yourself too concerned with what others think rather than sticking to your own desires. I’ve adopted Henry Miller’s motto of “paint what you like and die happy” (using “paint” as a metaphor for many things), and these are in the same vein.
Perhaps the most useful are these quotes on keeping courageous, overcoming obstacles, setbacks and lack of confidence. My all-time favourite expression has always been the “just slap anything on…” (referring to a blank canvas staring at the painter). I’ve had this feeling a lot- especially when it comes to writing. But I’ve just encountered the “nobody can in the beginning do as he wishes” and I think this is just brilliant encouragement. I shall remember, when disheartened, to “take up my pencil” and “go on with my drawing”.
The concept of creating to leave a legacy has been a big part of my life for the past decade – ever since I was diagnosed with breast cancer and then losing my mother to cancer as well. I am convinced that art heals – both the artist and the viewer (or as Vincent poignantly says, those “broken by life”). I totally abide by the notion of “I will make something good every day”. Van Gogh is the personification of legacy, of course, because his work didn’t gain popularity until long after his passing. The last quote really floored me…such a poetic description of death (almost reminds me of Bowie)…and in particular death from cancer. Whatever happens, if death puts us on a star Vincent is one of the brightest in the Starry Starry Night.
Below are two of my most loved quotes by Van Gogh set to my sketches
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