Because no one is able to produce a great work of art without experience, nor achieve a worldly position immediately, nor be a great lover at the first attempt; and in the interval between initial failure and subsequent success, in the gap between who we wish one day to be and who we are at present, must come pain, anxiety, envy and humiliation. We suffer because we cannot spontaneously master the ingredients of fulfillment.
It is often said "The public does not appreciate art!" Perhaps the public is dull, but there is just a possibility that we are also dull, and that if there were more motive, wit, human philosophy, or other evidences of interesting personality in our work the call might be stronger. A public which likes to hear something worth while when you talk would like to understand something worth while when it sees pictures… …When a thing is put down in such permanent mediums as paint or stone it should be a thing well worthy of record. It must be the work of one who has looked at all things, has interested himself in all life.
Advice I needed to hear and aim to aspire to.
I’m starting to get a little frustrated with creeping on innocent strangers in coffee shops just to practice drawing. Anyone have suggestions on the best way to get into paying people to sit still so I can practice drawing/painting, without breaking the bank? Anyone in the Troy area?
When I was writing this letter I got up to put a few brushstrokes on a canvas I’m working on - in fact, it’s the one with the battered pine trees against a red, orange, and yellow sky - yesterday it was very fresh - the tones pure and bright - well, I don’t know what came into my head while I was writing and looking at the canvas, but I told myself that it wasn’t right. So I took a color that appeared on the palette, a dirty matte white that you get by mixing white, green, and a little carmine. And I plastered this green tone all over the sky, and at a distance it does indeed soften the tones by breaking them up; and yet it would seem as if one was spoiling the canvas and making it dirty. Isn’t this exactly what misfortune and illness do to us and to our health, and are we not better off like this, with the fate that destiny ordains, than serene and in good health by the lights of our own vague ideas and desires of possible happiness? I cannot tell.
Vincent Van Gogh to his sister, 10 December 1889
What an incredible human.
I believe I am justified in concluding, without exaggeration, that physically I shall be able to stand this life, in spite of all, for a few more years, let’s say from six to ten. I’m not going to take any care of myself or avoid excitement and worry; it’s a matter of relative indifference to me how long I live… so I am living like an ignoramus who only knows one thing for certain: I must accomplish the work I have set myself to do in a few years… the world is of hardly any importance to me, except for the fact that I owe it something, which I am morally bound to pay, since I have been wandering about in it for so many years and ought to show my gratitude by bequeathing it a few mementos in the shape of drawings or pictures not undertaken to please any particular tendency but to express sincere human feeling.