ExistentiaSketch

“Marsh with Water Lilies, Etten” by Vincent Van Gogh (1881) @ Through Vincent’s Eyes

A draw-er doesn’t draw because she loves to draw. She doesn’t draw because she draws well. She draws because once she lost something. And by drawing–she will find it again.

Liana Finck, Passing for Human: A Graphic Memoir

In 1881, the beginning Van Gogh’s transition from pastor to artist, he attempted to “go home again” and spent some time living with his father (who was himself pastor for a church in Etten).

At this point Vincent was surrounding himself with opportunities to learn. A committed scholar of art, he took a beginner’s drawing class. He sought out tutelage on the art of drawing by Charles Bargue. Then, enter painter Athon van Rappard, who took an interest in Vincent and joined him in a 12-day private landscape sketch-a-thon (which is likely where the work above came from).

From all accounts, Vincent quickly excelled in the area of landscapes, but remained hesitant to paint, and even more reluctant to try his hand at depicting people. (As we future folk shake our collective heads.)

In the latter part of that same year, Van Gogh started occasionally visiting his cousin-in-law Anton Mauve in The Hague … and something changed. Was it timing, exposure, the right conversation over the right libation? I don’t know. But at some point in those visits, he decided that was it. Painting was his calling. He would return to his father’s town and set up a studio.

Ah, if only dear ol’ Dad had thought that was a good idea.

Shot on Pixel 6 Pro, black and white filter.

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