Monday, November 30, 2015

Vincent Van Gogh's Trees

Vincent Van Gogh Pollard Birches
Vincent Van Gogh Trees "Pollard Birches" 1884

"I can think of no other European painter whose work expresses such a stripped respect for everyday things without elevating them, in some way, without referring to salvation by way of an ideal which the things embody or serve." - John Berger on Vincent Van Gogh

It's no secret that Vincent Van Gogh is number one on my list of favorite artists.  He was passionate, disciplined, incredibly smart, innovative, and someone who loved deeply.  Can you just get lost in his trees?  I can.  In the above drawing, the trees take center stage, but it's not long before you notice the image of people working in the fields.  I love this piece.  Please enjoy another quote below by John Berger.  He writes of Van Gogh's act of drawing in beautifully descriptive terms.

"What do we see? Thyme, other shrubs, limestone rocks, olive trees on a hillside, in the distance a plain, in the sky birds. He dips the pen into brown ink, watches, and marks the paper. The gestures come from his hand, his wrist, arm, shoulder, perhaps even the muscles in his neck, yet the strokes he makes on the paper are following currents of energy which are not physically his and which only become visible when he draws them. Currents of energy? The energy of a tree’s growth, of a plant’s search for light, of a branch’s need for accommodation with its neighboring branches, of the roots of thistles and shrubs, of the weight of rocks lodged on a slope, of the sunlight, of the attraction of the shade for whatever is alive and suffers from the heat, of the mistral from the north which has fashioned the rock strata. My list is arbitrary; what is not arbitrary is the pattern his strokes make on the paper. The pattern is like a fingerprint. Whose?" - John Berger on Vincent Van Gogh

This past summer I had the opportunity to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art on three different days.  I spent quite a bit of time at the Van Gogh exhibit.  I was mesmerized by his brushstrokes and use of color.  If you have any opportunity to visit any museum that houses works by Van Gogh, please don't miss the opportunity! - Jill Saur