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FYI Quotes from Van Gogh


From: Judy Nagel (jdnag_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Apr 03 2003 - 06:29:05 PST

      Quotes from Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)

      Quotes from Van Gogh, the Dutch Post-Impressionist noted for his
expressive use of colour in his landscapes, portraits, and still-lifes.

"Nature always begins by resisting the artist, but he who really takes it
seriously does not allow that resistance to put him off his stride; on the
contrary, it is that much more of a stimulus to fight for victory."

"As soon as I have more power over my brush, I shall work even harder than I
do now ... it will not be long before you need not send me money any more."

"There are two ways of thinking about painting, how not to do it and how to
do it; how to do it -- with much drawing and little colour; how not to do
it -- with much colour and little drawing."

"I want to do drawings which touch some people ... In either figure or
landscape I should wish to express, not sentimental melancholy, but serious

"I find in many modern pictures a peculiar charm which the old masters do
not have ... there is something ... that appeals to us more personally and

"I do not pretend to anything less than that it would greatly astonish me if
in time my work did not become just as saleable as that of others."

"What I like so much about painting is that with the same amount of trouble
which one takes over a drawing, one brings home something that conveys the
impression much better and is much more pleasant to look at."

"I know for sure that I have an instinct for colour, and that it will come
to me more and more, that painting is in the very marrow of my bones."

"I feel such creative power in myself that I know for sure that the time
will arrive when, so to speak, I shall regularly make something good every
day. But very rarely a day passes that I do not make something, though it is
not yet the real thing I want to make."

"As practice makes perfect, I cannot but make progress; each drawing one
makes, each study one paints, is a step forward."

"You do not know how paralysing that staring of a blank canvas is; it says
to the painter, You can't do anything ... Many painters are afraid of the
blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the really passionate
painter who is daring -- and who has once and for all broken that spell of
'you cannot'."

"To exaggerate the fairness of hair, I come even to orange tones, chromes
and pale yellow ... I make a plain background of the richest, intensest blue
that I can contrive, and by this simple combination of the bright head
against the rich blue background, I get a mysterious effect, like a star in
the depths of an azure sky."

"Just go and paint out-of-doors ... then all kinds of things happen ... I
had to wipe off at least a hundred or more flies from the four paintings you
will receive, not counting the dust and sand, not counting that when one
carries them across the heath and through the hedges for several hours, some
thorns will scratch them."

"Painting is like having a bad mistress who spends and spends and it's never
enough ... I tell myself that even if a tolerable study comes out of it from
time to time, it would have been cheaper to buy it from somebody else."

"I shot myself ... I only hope I haven't botched it."

Judy Nagel
Sax Arts & Crafts