"This illness is to fatigue,
what a match is to a nuclear bomb.
It's an absurd mischaracterization!"
~Laura Hillenbrand

June 29, 2007

Van Gough

"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.


  1. Hi Melanie,
    I love this painting! I have never seen the original, but the story of how it came about is really encouraging...It is amazing to see your artistic journey the past few years. I was thinking and praying for you as you were in the hospital-I was checking your website to check your updates, and I found your blog! It really is good to know how you are doing-the good and not so good-thank you for sharing your journey...
    jenn ross

  2. Oh Melanie, You are so talented--in both your painting AND your way with words. I love reading your blog and just realized I've been reading your updates, but not leaving comments! Duh! Sometimes! If my head wasn't attached I'd lose it! I slept all day today! It finally hit me after all the visitors and doctors appts! Anyways, this latest blog moved me a lot...I love how you show that there are different paths to serving God. I would love to talk to you more about this (along with our ever growing list of things to discuss! haha!) I reached a point in my illness where I could not see that God was in anything or that there was 'purpose' in things. I found myself finding that I thought everything 'frivolous' and not 'of God' and you remind me that there are many ways to God and He gave us these gifts to use and touch others. THANK YOU. Each day I learn more about you I love you more. Love, Em

  3. Jen - thank you so much for finding and reading my blog. I feel very disconnected from all my friends at church and it's a huge joy to get your message and know you are interested in what's going on in my life. Thank you!


  4. Hi Em!!! Yep... we need hours and hours to talk about life and God and loving Him in the midst of this long and tiring illness. I'm glad you took the time to leave me a message. I know how much effort that took. I love you too!

  5. Hi Melanie ~

    Just found your blog. I have a way to remember to pray for you ... you know that I love to be outside gardening all I can. Well, whenever I hear an owl hoot (and we have a happy owl in our 'hood) I say a prayer for you. Do you remember the funny story that you told me about your son and the "owl" he kept hearing? I've never forgotten the fun story and it gives me a smile every time I hear an owl. So even though I haven't known your specific needs, I have been praying for you.

    Your art work is such a gift from God. Thanks for sharing it.
    Love you!
    K Swick

  6. Hi K!

    How wonderful to hear from you! Thank you for your continued prayers. As you can see... I know do my gardening on canvas instead of in the ground ;-)

    Be sure and sign up for the email updates - then you can see when I update my blog!