Tuesday, June 25, 2013

If only I could paint

Ok, I'm having a little trouble letting go of my France trip.

Months before I went to France and purely by coincidence,
I bought a book about the life of Vincent Van Gogh.
I have no idea why,needed a change from my usual political or sports related subjects,
 but I'm glad I did, for a few reasons.

First, the short time he was on this earth, he lived quite an interesting
if troubled life.
I mean, the guy did cut off his ear in a drunkin rage,
and then shot himself in the stomach years later,
so to say he was troubled is not a stretch.

Second, I never imagined I would be remotely interested
in the story of a well known artist.
But I couldn't put the book down.

So what a surprise it was for me
to find out that some of the towns we were visiting on our trip in France
were the same towns that Van Gogh meandered about in and painted some of his most famous work.

Our last day in France we headed north and spent a day
in the town of Auvers, which is just a half a wine bottle away from Paris,
(if I were allowed to drink and drive.)

This happened to be the place where Vincent Van Gogh
took his own life.

The painting below is titled
"Church at Auvers.

..and he set up his easel ......

right about here.

Let me tell you
I loved the fact that I got to stand in just about the exact location
that Mr. Van Gogh did when he painted this church.

The painting below is titled
"Village scene, Auvers."

...and yes,
Vincent stood right around here those many years ago.
The steps, that are so obvious in his painting
are obscured by the green growth.

As I walked down this alley
I pictured Van Gogh, doing the same thing,
while carrying his easel, paints and probably a bottle of Provence's rose.

The "Auvers Town Hall",

hasn't changed much
since he squeezed out paint onto his pallet.

Below is the rooming house where he died.

In a small room upstairs
he lay in bed, mortally wounded from a self inflicted gun shot,
for days before dying.

We visited his room,
it's part of a museum tour.

There was a definite energy shift
when you entered.

I didn't take photos.
Didn't seem right.

Vincent Van Gogh died an unknown artist,
having only sold a painting or two during his life.
He didn't paint for money.
He painted because he was an artist.

Below, is the spot where he painted one of his most famous works.

"Wheat field with Crows"

Some suggest it was his last painting.

He died broke.

"Wheat field with crows" recently sold at auction for

83 million dollars.


Denise at Autumn Sky said...

Travelling in Europe is so interesting because we see the places where so much of the history we studied actually happened. Nice post.

Jerral Miles said...

This BLOG post is one I'll revisit. Wow! You took me there. I'm guessing you'll spend some time in the Van Gogh Museum the next time you're in Amsterdam.

...and about that ear thing: if it gets to bothering you, wear earmuffs. I've seen your ears in the photographs, and they're nice. If somebody says they're too big or shaped funny, don't do what Van Gogh did. Just ignore them... or say something back like, "Well, your ears aren't so hot either" ... or change the subject to noses or some other body parts. Anyway, take care of your ears.

...and about that other preoccupation... Don't stop talking about your trip ... We like it... and we like the pictures. Don't stop.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed this post very much, Mark. To stand where he stood is pretty neat.

Wayne (Woody), whatever said...

I think this is a really cool and creative tribute; I really like the photos from the same vantage point.

I wonder if someone has created a 'van gogh' plugin for photoshop or lightroom where you could transform your photos at the click of a button ...

Donna said...

What a GREAT post, Mark!
Loved seeing the art and the current reality. As the mother of an artist (hopefully not as tortured as Van Gogh but certainly as poor), I can definitely say the life of an artist is NOT easy - such passion can be a blessing and a curse. Thanks for this insight into the area that formed this artist.

dcpeg said...

Your post really moved me. I've read about Vincent and know many of his paintings, but to BE where he was . . .. I'm speechless.

Island Soul said...

I've always be a wee bit fascinated by Vincent but never bothered to really learn alot about him. Maybe I should rectify that. Certainly one of my favorite songs ever is the Don McClean's ode to him......

On another note you've inspired me to do something else. I'm always looking for different ways to "see" a place when I travel. Going to Brussels next I'm off to the internet to find an artist to guide me through the streets....Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

lucky you getting to step through time like that, sad that van gogh never got to see how his art was appreciated though

SueAnn Lommler said...

I always get miffed when I hear what his paintings go for today. It is obscene for sure.
But you are so right...he painted because he must....
I work as an artist because that is what I must do.
Thank you for sharing

Zorana said...

You paint with words.... You made him very "real". I love love love that you stood where he did, took pictures and shared it with us. Thank you! What a wonderful post!

Melinda Owens said...

Irony...gotta love it. And I agree with Jerral, you took me there. I know what book I'll be reading next. Great post, Mark...we love hearing about your trip!!