Thursday, 16 January 2014

Van Gogh and Me

Van Gogh and me go way back.  You see he was the one that got me started (sort of).
He is an inspiration to me; for my personal story includes him. Whenever I feel I can't paint I remember him and it helps me. If ever there was an archetypal struggle for an artist I think his would be it.  

When I was a little girl, I came home from school one day and my mother told me there was a letter from my Grandmother. My Grandmother was a proper little english lady who lived in Victoria, B.C. and  had come to visit us in Halifax a few times. Before she arrived, I have vivid memories of our  household going into a complete uproar as the house was cleaned and prepared for her visit.  She had a quiet and regal manner. Even at the young age of 7; I knew there was something different about her. She was from another time or era.  I was in awe of her. 

The Christmas before my mother had asked me to make a painting for her. Some yellow fields with dark green trees and a tumbling sky. My grandmother sent me back a letter and told me she really liked my artwork and that it reminded her of Van Gogh's Wheat fields.  In particular she said the brushwork was very good. She told me to keep painting and in later years she sent me a painting she had done, it was of the mountains at Banff. We had reproductions of Degas and Gauguin on our walls but none of Van Gogh  Who was this Van Gogh? 

 It was the early 1970's, we lived in a rough area of Halifax and it was not an easy time for me.  My parents had been divorced 3 years earlier and my days were spent scrapping and fighting in the inner city schools I attended.  I continued to draw and paint, I wanted to be an artist even at that young age. It was somewhat of an obsession with me and has been ever since. My Grandmother's encouraging words stayed with me, they meant a lot.

 I recently attended an instructional skills workshop in Whitehorse and did a presentation on "Me and Van Gogh".  I love his paintings and his story is poignant; even tragic but also very inspiring.  The video attached to this post says it really well. 

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