I chose to use another van Gogh image for the first Creative Flow Painting class at the Jansen Art Center. Vincent van Gogh is my favorite artist, for a few reasons. One is that his Dutch Reformed background is where my roots also lie. Another is that his style has a raw expressiveness that I find moving and freeing. And, thanks to the publishing of his many letters to his brother, Theo, I feel that I know him, as a brother, friend and fellow traveler in this world that can be so difficult for us sensitive artistic types.
Vincent van Gogh is one of the most beloved artists in our history, perhaps for similar reasons. His ‘Sunflowers’ are his most popular and widely recognized paintings, and the ones he was the most proud of. There’s a bittersweet story to these paintings: He painted them to impress Gauguin, whom he admired and was hoping would help him set up an artist community in Arles, France. Vincent’s own words, written to his brother Theo in 1888:
‘I am hard at it, painting with the enthusiasm of a Marseillais eating bouillabaisse, which won’t surprise you when you know that what I’m at is the painting of some sunflowers. If I carry out this idea there will be a dozen panels. So the whole thing will be a symphony in blue and yellow. I am working at it every morning from sunrise on, for the flowers fade so quickly. I am now on the fourth picture of sunflowers. This fourth one is a bunch of 14 flowers … it gives a singular effect.’
Gauguin did live and paint there with van Gogh for a few months, but things ended badly between them and the community Vincent longed for did not come to fruition.
On a lighter note~ I am excited to bring Our Creative Flow to the JAC tomorrow. It’s a beautiful facility, in a town that has been dear to me. The vision of it’s founder is for it to be a place were small town meets wider creative community. So far, attendance at the various classes has been rather sparse. I hope to help bring a nice mix of people in to experience their creative flow through painting.