Saturday, October 4, 2014

conversing with Van Gogh ...

Ah ... finally, it's Friday  - oops - Saturday!

Time flies when one is engaged in conversation with a deceased master.


Yes, always the mistress of distractions ... as if my plate isn't already full ... I've gone and signed myself up for another course.  But when I saw the first week (ha! about a month's worth of content in that one week) was an exploration of Vincent Van Gogh and specially his drawings ...

how could I resist?  (week six is Frida Kahlo - hello?!!)

Honoring MY Frida (1990 - 2008)
She was my first kitty, joining us when I was in grad school.  I had a colleague get mad at me because she was planning to name her cat Frida, but believed she couldn't since I had taken it.  Well, my girl - all 9 pounds of her - more than lived up to her name and the reputation of her namesake. She never dabbled in the arts or politics, but she was very outspoken and flamboyant in personality ... she taught me "no" is not an acceptable answer when one feels strongly otherwise ... and a well-timed purr will get you very far ... 

So here I sit, wondering how Vincent would translate my backyard? What patterns of lines and dots would he employ to capture the wild jungle of my tomato plants, the rambunctiousness of the marigolds?  In attempting to learn more about his technique and style, I am indulging myself in copying some of his sketches which are overwhelmingly detailed and intricate. It is no small feat to copy and my mind boggles at how he was able to break a scene down into the organized fields of pattern and design.  I find myself looking at my yard and wishing I could ask his advice on how to simplify the scene into the key elements. 

Of course, the answer lies in continuing the conversation through paper and pen and practice.  (Today, I discovered the delights of using a Lamy fountain pen swoon!)

pre-Lamy pen ... I can't wait to try some new copies now that I have a better pen ... although Van Gogh used reed pens to get a richer variety of lines - nice juicy, fat ones and darker ones

It always comes back to practice. And thank goodness for that.  As the winds of Autumn attempt to blow me off balance, I know my practice helps me to find my roots, and gather support and energy to keep me engaged in learning and growing.  

Meanwhile, the season calls me to attend to other pressing tasks ... 

Can we say salsa?  Lots and lots of salsa ... 

Such are my thoughts on this Autumn day.  This is my world as I live it ... what is happening in your world?  How do you stay connected and engaged?  What delights call to you? Do you dare to reply?  And why not, I say ... why not?!

The course I am taking is called Studying Under the Masters {Portraits and Self-Portraits} and a preview of week one can be seen HERE.  It is great fun and I may never get past week one ... and I don't care! (but I have 2 years ... so I'm not worried ...)


  1. Yum, salsa! I can't wait to have a garden again, crossing my fingers for the spring. Van Gogh, oh wow! Have you watched Simon Schama's Power of Art: Van Gogh? Pretty amazing and eloquently portrayed. Enjoy your sketching and with the new pen! xo

  2. ooooh.....very scholarly indeed!! i wish i had the patience for these things...i'm finding myself to be a draw-n-dash type these days. of course, you've tweaked my interest in the fountain pen -- oh MY -- must consider that. very seriously.

    i'm feeling very 'up-in-the-air' at the moment....too many plates spinning and not enough focus to call any of them 'a project'...but, grace...that much i can offer myself. i figure it's transitional energy that's scattering me to the four winds...;)


  3. Did you make the salsa? I was recently given a bunch of tomatoes from a friend's garden and tried salsa. For some reason I have been scared of making salsa, but it turned out well and wasn't as hard as I thought. I heard from someone that if you put a little bit of olive oil in your salsa it helps it stick to the chip a little better. I tried that out and it seems to work! Happy fall :) Harper is 16 months and I feel like I am finally getting some time to do things like read blog posts again :) xoxoxo -Kristen

    1. I must confess ... my husband and girl are the salsa makers! I've been told it is super easy, and given the bounty of tomatoes STILL on my counter (2 large jars were made, then given away) I believe it IS in my future. I'll let you know how it goes ;) Thanks for the olive oil tip!

      16 months?! How can that be?! Enjoy these days ... they actually get busier ... I know, that sounds impossible! xo