"A Tribute to Van Gough"
Copyright M. Pruitt 2007
Two years ago, I traveled from the West Coast to Toledo Ohio to see a doctor who specialized in my illness. At our visit, he found out that I am an emerging artist, and he suggested we visit the Toledo Art Museum.
It exceeded his description! Of course, being a long time Impressionist fan, we headed directly to the area of impressionists to seek out the two Monet's in their collection.
But, though I did love the two Monet's - I was overwhelmed in a room with Van Gough's, Cezanne's, Signat's, Degas' and more! I walked from piece to piece going close to look at the brush strokes and backing up to get the full effect.
I came to a very simple Van Gough - a wheat field. I had never been a Van Gough fan but as I walked up, my heart leapt. I could see every movement and color that he had put into this painting and it was as if his soul touched mine. Tears came to my eyes. Then I moved to the next one... a beautiful blue and green painting of "House at Auvers". I purchased a postcard of that painting to remember it.
When I got home, I checked out several videos about the lives of some of the Masters I had seen. Van Gough's story touched me. His father was a minister. He wanted to be a minister too, but he wasn't good at public speaking. So the church sent him out as a missionary for six months, but then decided he wasn't suited for ministry so they released him. His family rejected his artistic endeavors and he felt very isolated - from the church and family - and though his art had to come out of him, I got the feeling he never really valued it.
The following year, we went back to Toledo and we planned in a trip to the Museum again. They were more spectacular than I remembered! This time I purchased a print to hang on my wall of Van Gough's "House at Auvers". And I determined I would give it try in watercolor!
This year, I have become involved in an art group on eBay called Watercolors Wet'n Wild (WnW). It's a small juried group of artists dedicated to painting in watercolor - though very diverse in style and technique. We decided to do a monthly Masters challenge. Each month, we paint a watercolor of a specific Master or at least in the style of the Master. If you scroll down, you can see my "Tribute to Picasso" in one of my hospital posts.
Well, this month, June, is Vincent Van Gough month. I've been waiting for this month to come!!! And then my illness flared up and I'd just about given up getting my Van Gough done.
Not only that - I couldn't even get myself to paint anything. I wasn't completely sure what was wrong...
I knew I needed to reconnect myself with my life goal of Loving God. Through a series of events, I began to do that - and with each thing God kept pushing and reminding me that my art is a gift he has given me - to love HIM with!
Then, two days ago - totally unknowing that I was pondering Van Gough and his painting - a good friend of mine blogged about Vincent. I strongly suggest you read her post click here.
Suddenly - my passion came back - not to create to become noticed or to make money - but to create for God. To feel his pleasure through my creating. To create for him. Very quickly, I picked up my paints and paper and the result was the painting above - "A Tribute to Van Gough".
(BTW - it is for sale on my website click here It's 5"x7" on Hot press. Do you know how hard it is to use an oil painting as a reference and then paint it with watercolor? And yet the challenge was a thrill!! I had more fun painting this than I have had in a long time!)
Van Gough was rejected from serving God as he wanted, because his gift didn't fit the typical church requirements. But his gift was in his eye and hand and his artistic expression. And I know it pleased God. Sometimes I've wondered if I'm as valuable to God as I used to be - now that I'm stuck at home sick. But that is wrong.
Since God's commandments are to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart" and to "Love other", I know he takes great pleasure in anything I create for him in love.
PS: Here's a YouTube video with the song "Vincent". You can see some of his diverse paintings if you're interested.