I love this little Johnny Jump Up Viola. Every year a plant or two of this variety springs up within the confines of a crack in my front stoop. The foliage gets a little bruised and battered by foot traffic and concrete detritus, but the bloom is radiant and perfect. This type of garden quirkiness always becomes a favorite, compelling me to keep at all my dreams, “Onward!”
Did you know that Vincent Van Gogh was a Christian Evangelist before he became an artist? Van Gogh had such empathy for the poor villagers he gave away his clothing.
“I knew him some forty-five years ago in the Borinage where he was an evangelist (not a pastor, as he had no theological degree). Faced with the destitution he encountered on his visits, his pity had induced him to give away nearly all his clothes; his money had found its way into the hands of the poor, and one might say that he had kept nothing for himself. His religious sentiments were very ardent, and he wanted to obey the words of Jesus Christ to the letter.” M. Bonte
This excerpt was taken from the article titled the Van Gogh’s Letters
Another controversial fact revealed in recent years is the theory that the suicide of Van Gogh was a fabrication to protect the person/persons who accidentally shot him.
The Death of Vincent Van Gogh is an excellent article on this subject.
The television show “Sixty Minutes” presented a very compelling episode on this same subject.
Although time has drawn the curtain on the true facts ever being known, Van Gogh’s paintings will forever be center stage as some of the world’s very best works of art.
About twenty years ago, my then teenaged son purchased a moped. The first time he took it out to ride was after a rainy day. When he walked in the house after the ride he was covered in mud, and when he smiled his teeth were covered in mud splatters too. What joy he must have felt as he rode. I still imagine him in my mind riding through those puddles while the mud flew in an arc of earthly joy all around him. The photograph is a favorite of mine, as is the memory.
I had the best time painting these anemones. Although there are quite a few flaws, the painting is full of life and I think captures a bit of the enthusiasm I felt while I painted it. You see…I love to paint. I have decided it does not need to be perfect, my joy will not be diminished by what others may think, or if I deem it perfect or flawed. What matters to me is the GRAND time I had painting it. I hope I smiled as big as my son as I splashed the paint onto the paper.
I wonder if that is why historians think Vincent Van Gogh ingested his paint. I have read more than once that many attribute some of his health problems, physical and mental, to paint being internalized. Perhaps he did not nibble his paint, but loved painting so much he smiled with joy when he painted, and the paint somehow got into his system. Oil paints at that point in time contained many dangerous chemicals and metals. Since I love Van Gogh’s paintings and his words in the numerous letters he wrote to family and friends, I hope this is the case. His joy in creating overrode his caution. By no means is this in any way a fact, just a theory I like to daydream about.
I wish I could paint like Van Gogh, but I will always be me in everything I do, and a Van Gogh I am not. But I do love to create and I do love to paint. If you are interested here is a short step by step video of the creation of my Longwood Anemones. I wish I could have videoed the wild background as I painted. It is wet into wet and was SO much fun to paint.
Longwood Anemones: 12 x 14, Winsor & Newton Watercolors, Arches Hot Press 140 lb Paper
You can find the thread to the April Plant Parade here: April 2014 Plant Parade
Take a look at the gorgeous paintings the other artists have created.
Here is the finished painting. I opted to change the color of my reference photographs into a brilliant red and black flower with a green-blue center. They are lightly shaded with no shadows. The flowers are a rendition of the Bread Seed Poppies growing in my Square Foot Gardens. Three artists inspired this work. Georgia O’Keeffe for her pure, oversized flower paintings. Vincent Van Gogh was definitely in my thoughts as I created the swirling movement around the sun. Paul Gauguin, Van Gogh, and O’Keeffe are all in my lack of dark shadows. I wanted color, color, color…not distracting blotches.
Kathy’s Poppies – June 2012 – 24 x 34 Acrylics on Stretched Canvas