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Van Gogh Journal – My 4 Words


Hello Friends!

Here are two more pages in my homemade van Gogh journal. I put a black background behind it merely for a better photo.

I have a couple of patterns of washi tape that have patterns from some of Vincent’s paintings. I love the color of the blue in them.

First I painted the pages in acrylic reds and oranges.Then I put the blue washi tapes on the left page and added the stars and circles. Next I added the birds and other washi tape patterns on the right page. I also painted over the print of Vincent’s self-portrait. That was fun! I love his self-portraits!

Lastly, I added four words which are going to be my words for this year. I don’t normally do that sort of thing, but I wanted to focus on more positive things. So my four words are: Lessons, Love, Gratitude and Connection. I love them!

Have a wonderful day! 😀


Van Gogh Journal Pages – My Poem & Drawing




Hello Friends!

Over this past weekend I wrote this poem as I was thinking about all of the people I know who identify as LBGTQ, or Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender and Queer. I have talked to several people in the last few years who have had or still have valid fears about coming out to their friends and family. Many go through dark periods of depression, identity crisis, and rejection from loved ones. And I just find this sad.

I have always felt sad for people that the so-called “normal” society sees as “different.” I grew up in Georgia in the 1960’s, and although I was born in 1960, I saw enough racism in those few years to leave the impression on me of how wrong it is to judge a person just because of the color of their skin!

But throughout my life I have seen too many other injustices. I could go on and on and this post could turn into a book! My mom always taught me that people with different beliefs, physical or mental struggles, or different lifestyles is THEIR business, not mine. They are the way they are whether or not by choice. However, in spite of this, I chose to go through many years of my life picking and choosing who to accept or “shun.” I admit this to my shame!

This is just not right. And I don’t hate people who may disagree with me. But I do hate the way some choose to treat others simply because they see others as “abnormal” or not living up to THEIR standards! For me, this is simply unacceptable. In the past, I was one of those who didn’t listen to others who live and believe differently than I do. I acted like I “tolerated” them when what I really did was avoid getting to know them! I don’t believe this is right!

Lately, I have been desiring to use my art to speak out to these issues, but I haven’t come up with how I want to do it yet. In the meantime, I am still working on this journal, and still stand in admiration for the person that Vincent van Gogh was. He loved people. He drew and painted those in his society whom others looked down on or ignored. He was treated like an outcast himself because of his mental struggles. He was ridiculed and rejected. Artists who were selling their work made him feel like his paintings weren’t good enough to sell. And although his brother, Theo, helped him as much as he could, even he couldn’t convince art curators to accept Vincent’s work. And yet, now each piece is WORTH millions! What has changed? Nothing, really. Yet, back then no one could see that Vincent’s work was brilliant and lovely, and that IT WAS HE WHO WAS INVALUABLE! 

I don’t need others to agree with my thoughts about any of this! I just want to say that have decided that I am not going to be the type of artist who only creates what society says is ACCEPTABLE or HAS TO SELL TO BE WORTH SOMETHING. I am worthy! I love and accept myself. I give what is inside of me freely, because that is what I have always desired to do. Would I love to make money from my art? Sure! But if I don’t, I am okay with that, because…I love what I do. And if I love what I do, that is all that matters. And I appreciate others who love what I do. That is a bonus!

If you are a creative person in any way, I hope that you see your own value and how you can enrich others with your creativity and how you can help others see their own value.

Have a wonderful day! :-)


Van Gogh Journal Pages 3 & 4


Hello Friends!

Here is another journal page spread. I wanted to have them be a contrast of monochrome and color. The photo of Vincent on the left-hand page is said to have been taken of him when he was between 16 and 20 years old. And even then his eyes look intense to me. The surrounding pieces of text are from various places in his letters. I have a book of many of his letters to Theo. Last year when I was working on another project, I copied some, and “aged” them by painting tea over them and letting them dry. They wrinkled some, but not all of them look as aged as I would have liked. I need to do some more at some point.

On the right-hand page I painted the page with acrylics first, then glued one of his self-portraits and some random ephemera on there along with a another photo of Vincent when he was about seven years old that was in the book. And again, he looks so intense! Perhaps he didn’t want his picture taken that day! Ha ha!

I will have more journal pages to come for some time since there are many pages left. So I will share the journey here. I already have the next page planned which is something I wrote and drew. Stay tuned and stay safe and well!

Have a wonderful day! 🙂


Van Gogh Journal Pages 1 & 2


Hello Friends!

In my last post I showed a video of an art journal I began making from a book I have of Vincent van Gogh’s portraits. I had read it many times and thought it would be a great book to make into an art journal!

So the other day I began by gluing this colorful tissue paper over the copyright page. I like the way the print shows through a little bit. Then I used white Liquitex Gesso to cover some writing under the page with his first name. I decided I wanted to paint a quote of his underneath it which says:

“I want to touch people with my art. I want them to say ‘He feels deeply and tenderly.'”

I love his words. Vincent was such a beautiful soul. He may have had what doctors now call bipolar disorder. He certainly went through long deep depressions and was hospitalized a few times. But he did not cut off his whole ear like some still think; he only cut off the tip! I think that story has been embellished ever since it happened.

I love reading his letters to his brother Theo, too. I feel sad, though, that although Theo supported him financially, he was never able to sell any of Vincent’s art. It seems like the art curators at the time just didn’t take Vincent seriously, and judged him for the state of his mental health. So he was just one of those brilliant souls who didn’t “fit in.”

Lately, I have been thinking that I really want to get back to creating what I feel is in my soul, not just doing the assignments in my art classes. Although, I am grateful for them, and have learned a great deal, I just don’t feel like I have to do every single assignment in both of my classes this year! So I have decided to pick and choose and to do what inspires me.

I am here to also encourage and inspire others to follow your heart and create what YOU love!

Have a wonderful day! 🙂


“Loving Vincent” Film

Hello Friends,

Today I am actually working on something that I hope I can finish and post by tomorrow.   I had to take a break from standing, though, to look for something online.  AND…low and behold I came across something totally unrelated to what I was looking for!  (I honestly don’t remember how either!)

Anyway, this wonderful video is about the new film called “Loving Vincent”!  It is about six minutes long, but worth the watch!  It is several minutes long, but if you have any interest in Vincent van Gogh, his art, film making or animation, you will love this!  I am so hoping I will be able to see it someday…somehow!

Check this out!  

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

Vincent’s Thoughts on Colour

Hello friends,

I can’t believe it is February already!  This morning I was doing some more reading in a couple of books I have about Vincent van Gogh.  I found his letter #252 from The Hague, dated Monday, July 31, 1882, to his brother Theo very interesting.  In a great part of it he is relating his findings about color theory!  He enclosed this drawing he did which was called “Pollard Willow” and evidently was done in watercolors.


And here are Vincent’s thoughts on color theory!  I hope you enjoy them!

“As regards black in nature, we are of course in complete agreement, as I understand it.  Absolutely black doesn’t in fact occur.  Like white, however, it’s present in almost every colour and forms the endless variety of greys – distinct in tone and strength.  So that in nature one in fact sees nothing but these tones or strength.

The 3 fundamental colours are red, yellow, blue, the 3 composite colours are orange, green, purple.  From these are obtained the endless variations of grey by adding black and some white – red-grey, yellow-grey, blue-grey, green-grey, orange-grey, violet-grey.

It’s impossible to say how many different green-greys there are for example – the variation is infinite.

But the whole chemistry of colours is no more complicated than those simple few fundamentals.  And a good understanding of them is worth more than 70 different shades of paint – given that more than 70 tones and strengths can be made with the 3 primary colours and white and black.  The colourist is he who on seeing a colour in nature is able to analyze coolly and say, for example, that green-grey is yellow with black and almost no blue, etc.  In short, knowing how to make up the greys of nature on the palette.”

“I also have nothing against making watercolours – but they’re founded on drawing first, and then from the drawing springs not only the watercolour but all kinds of other shoots that will develop in due course in me as in anyone else working with love.”

Then referring back to the Pollard Willow drawing above, he says:

“Where the black is darkest in this little sketch is where the greatest strengths are in the watercolour – dark green, brown, and dark grey.”

I thought this was a great reminder that color mixing can be fun!  I enjoy it.  I don’t always consciously think about how what I mix will turn out, but I am forever learning.  Sometimes I get impatient looking through my box of watercolors for the color or shade I want at the moment.  Perhaps it is time to go back to the basics of color mixing and re-learn some things afresh!  Especially mixing for blacks!  I am finding I don’t really care for using blacks straight out of the tube anymore.

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂


Vincent’s Self-Reflections


Self-portrait with Straw Hat, 1887, Vincent van Gogh

Hello everyone.  Today I want to get away from sharing just myself and back to my very favorite artist, Vincent van Gogh, to share with you some excerpts from one of his letters that is in my GIANT book of his letters!  I am going to write some quotes here from the letter, and then say a few words of my own.    This self-portrait of him in his straw hat is my very favorite self-portrait painting that he ever did.  Thanks for reading!

Letter #249/The Hague, on or about Friday, 21 July 1882/To Theo van Gogh (D)

“Today I made an agreement with myself, which was to regard my illness, or rather what’s left of it, as non-existent.  Enough time has been lost, the work must be carried on.”

“So, well, or not well, I’m going to draw again regularly from morning till evening.  I don’t want anyone else to be able to say, ‘Oh, those are only old drawings.'”

“My hands have become rather whiter than I care for, but what can I do about it?  I’ll also go outdoors again.  It matters less to me that it may strike me down than that I’m kept longer from my work.  Art is jealous; she won’t allow illness to be placed above her, so I’ll let her have her way.” 

“People like me aren’t allowed to be ill.  You must really understand how I regard art.  One must work long and hard to arrive at the truthful.  What I want and set as my goal is damned difficult, and yet I don’t believe I’m aiming too high.  I want to make drawings that move some people…contain something straight from my own feelings.”

“In short, I want to reach the point where people say of my work, ‘that man feels deeply and that man feels sublty.’  Despite my so-called coarseness – you understand – perhaps, precisely because of it.  It seems pretentious to talk like this now, but that’s why I want to push on.”

“What am I in the eyes of most people?  A nonentity or an oddity or a disagreeable person – someone who has and will have no position in society, in short a little lower than the lowest.”

“Very well – assuming that everything is indeed like that, when through my work I’d like to show what there is in the heart of such an oddity, such a nobody.”


I am amazed that some people wrote such long letters back then!  However, it was there only way to communicate long-distance so they really had no other choice like we do today.  Personally, I love handwritten letters and cards that I get in the mail.

These excerpts from Vincent’s letter to Theo are over 300 words, but there are at lease 300 MORE words to this letter!  Amazing, huh?

As you can see in this letter, Vincent was trying to carry on his work and put his mental illness behind him.  Even though he was allowed to do some art in the asylum he was admitted to, he didn’t feel free.  When he got out, he went to work immediately.  I think he conveys that he was trying to make up for lost time.

What I admire about Vincent most is his determination to leave his mark on the world, but it still saddens me that he never felt accepted or praised for his work by other artists and felt like such an outcast in society.  He wanted to express “deep sorrow” in his work, no doubt from the pain he was feeling about where he was in life but also the enormous compassion in his heart for others who were also considered to be “lower than the lowest.”

I have been where he was at many times in my life and even since I began learning to draw and paint over ten years ago.  I can identify with many of his thoughts and feelings.  I wish I could have known Vincent van Gogh as a friend; I think we would have been kindred spirits.  Kindred spirits are not always easy to find in life.  I am glad I have the good fortune to have several in my life.

If you made it through this post, thanks for taking the time to read.  What do you think about Vincent?


Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

P. S. (Hopefully tomorrow I will have a picture of the portrait of Mary I’m doing!)


Vincent van Gogh Quote: Letter #220

Hello friends.  Today I decided to get back to the wonderful Mother’s Day gift my family gave me last year:  the book called “Vincent van Gogh, Ever Yours, The Essential Letters.”

I was reading letter #220 which was written on April 23, 1882 by Vincent to his brother, Theo van Gogh.

In this letter Vincent is writing to Theo about his sketch “Men Digging” that he enclosed with the letter.  Here it is:

Vincent's Men Digging

“Men Digging” by Vincent van Gogh

He has told Theo about Tersteeg’s (the manager of Goupil in The Hague whom Vincent was well-acquainted with) discouraging comments to him reminding Vincent of past failures.  I found Vincent’s thoughts provoking and humorous.  This is what he had to say:

“It’s precisely because I have a draughtsman’s fist that I can’t keep myself from drawing and, I ask you, have I ever doubted or hesitated or wavered since the day I began to draw?  I think you know very well that I’ve hacked my way through and am obviously ever more keen to do battle.

Coming back to that little sketch – it was made in the Geest district in the drizzle, standing in a street in the mud, in all that bustle and noise, and I’m sending it to show you that my sketchbook proves that I try to capture things first-hand.  Put Iterson or H.G.T. himself, for example, in front of a sandpit in the Geest district where the dredgers are at work laying a water or gas pipe – I’d like to see the kind of face someone like that would pull and what kind of sketch he’d make.  Struggling on wharves and in alleys and streets and inside houses, waiting rooms, even public houses, that’s not a nice job, unless one is an artist. (Emphasis his.) As such one would rather be in the filthiest neighbourhood, provided there’s something to draw, than at a tea party with nice ladies.  Unless one draws ladies, in which case a tea party is nice even for an artist.”

I love Vincent’s humor!  Well, getting to the issue of drawing from life, back in May and today I tried to draw my hand.  This is the one from last year.  My Hand drawing in May 2015

This is the one from today along with some thoughts I had about Vincent’s drawing from life.  (I hope you can read my writing!)

My Hand and Thoughts March 2016


Drawing from life is not something I do a lot of.  I mostly draw from photos I have taken or practice things from others’ illustrations, etc.  I don’t have the greatest long distance vision so working outside like Vincent and most plein air painters of his time has never really appealed to me.  I have done it, but it frustrates me.

So these are just some thoughts I wanted to share today.  To close I am putting in one of Vincent’s drawing of hands.  Amazing, huh?  I really have a lot to learn!

Vincent's study of three hands

“Study of Three Hands” by Vincent van Gogh


Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

Van Gogh’s copy of Delacroix’s “The Good Samaritan”

Delacroix and Van Gogh's Good Samaritan

I have always loved the painting of “The Good Samraitan” by Delacroix, but even though in my art history class in 1990 I also saw Vincent van Gogh’s copy of it, I did not remember that he painted a mirror image of Delaroix’s original. I found that to be intriguing today, so I thought I would share it with you.

Honestly, I like Vincent’s version better because of the colors he chose. However, his painting came 41 years after Delacroix’s. And we all know Vincent van Gogh had his own style of painting!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug! 🙂

“Vincent” by Don McLean

Here is a wonderful video of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings set to the song of “Vincent” by Don McLean. Enjoy!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug! 🙂

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