Lust for Life

 |  December 10, 2005

I wish they would only take me as I am.
~Vincent Van Gogh

While working on some more 4×4’s today I finished listening to Irving Stone’s book on tape Lust for Life a novel based on the life of Vincent Van Gogh. It was long, but really good. I have a renewed appeciation for his work now that I know more about his life and the struggles he went through to paint. I’m ashamed to admit this but I had grown a snobby distaste for his paintings after seeing numerous sunflower and starry night posters in every dorm room in college. And when I worked in a frame shop when we lived in St. Louis, the Van Gogh exhibit happened to come to the city. Everyone and their mother bought the Starry Night poster and wanted to frame it. It drove me nuts.

But really, his work was quite revolutionary for the time. And you have to admire someone who goes against what everyone tells him and keeps on painting. I mean, people telling him that he was a failure, a madman, that he might as well give up, that he couldn’t even draw, that his art was garbage and that he should be ashamed of himself. But he didn’t care. He needed to paint and he did.

Of course this is a novel and maybe I should do more research on my own but I am just happy to say that I see his paintings again for the beautiful masterpieces that they are. Paintings full of force and power.

What an interesting man he was.

If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.

What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?

He was a religious man too. But as with many deeply spiritual people, religion spit him out.

When I have a terrible need of – shall I say the word – religion. Then I go out and paint the stars.

The best way to know God is to love many things.

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