I try more and more to be myself, caring relatively little whether people approve or disapprove.
~~ Vincent Van Gogh
I thoroughly enjoy the play of the Universe. The continual surprises, tucked like magical beans in unexpected places, keep the days fresh and fun.
About a year ago I bought a book, written in 1938, that was mentioned by Anne Lamott. It’s title is, “If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit” authored by Brenda Ueland. From the Amazon review :
For most, the hardest part of writing is overcoming the mountain of self-denial that weighs upon the spirit, always threatening to extinguish those first small embers of ambition. Brenda Ueland, a writer and teacher, devotes most of her book–published back in 1938, before everyone and their goldfish got their MFA’s in creative writing–to these matters of the writer’s heart. Still, the real gift of the book is Ueland herself: She liked to write, she didn’t care what anyone thought, and she had a great sense of humor. You’re simply happy to hang out with her.
About a month ago, I finally decided to start reading it. Was so surprised to find that Brenda is a friend of Vincent! (also William Blake, who I might have to have some conversations with as well). She had come across some of his letters, and came to love both the writer in the artist, as well as the painter.
“If you read the letters of the painter Van Gogh you will see what his creative impulse was. It was just this: he loved something-the sky, say. He loved human beings. He wanted to show human beings how beautiful the sky was. So he painted it for them, and that was all there was to it”.
While I gave the original nod to Anne for leading me to Brenda (who by the way spent many years in Greenwich Village as a part of a bohemian crowd including Eugene O’Neill and Louise Bryant), because of my Conversations with Vincent, I am confident it was he that nudged me to start reading.
I have learned, I don’t enjoy being a reporter. I don’t enjoy attempting to mold myself into the template for writing that many consider a requirement. I enjoy writing. I love painting with words. When I see something, feel something, understand something, I get so excited and want to share. Words are my vessel for art. Words strung together like mala beads create a space where I can join with someone, where we can merge in understanding, where aaaahhhs, aha’s and oh yes’s can be exchanged.
Vincent is nodding his head now and smiling. He is not wearing his straw hat, but does have a lovely crisp beige shirt on. Looks like linen, but more likely cotton. His hands have the dregs of some leftover paint on them, the last remnants of a recent explosion of color on canvas. He pushes toward me an open book. I at first think it’s a journal, but quickly realize the pages are blank except for words intended for me.
We are all artists. It is essential that the artist be allowed to be integrated into our daily selves. Whatever the medium, be the artist. Come fully from the place of Spirit. Even in your regular adventures – infuse them with the non-mundane. Bounce yourself OUT of the bubble of illusion, and see it all as the play that it is. While it is nice to say “even if one person benefits from what I do”, the truth is, the importance is in you being fully from that place of soul expression. You are the most important person to benefit from what you do. When you are vibrant, it will expand. When you are authentic, it will shine a light for others. When you are not afraid to live your magnificence, another will come stand next to you in gratitude. Art is more than a media. A true artist opens a portal for their Soul to express itself dynamically each and every day.
And now Vincent just sat back and exhaled an contented sigh.
The Blossoming Almond Tree and Painter on His Way to Work pieces can be found with some history at the Van Gogh Gallery. It saddened me to learn that the original PAINTER was destroyed in World War II.
A post for another day, but too much beauty is destroyed by war. I enjoyed the movie Monuments Men (Clooney, Damon,etc), and was brought to tears by this under 6 minute youtube clip presented by one of the book’s authors, Robert Edsel You cannot help but feel gratitude for the mission they voluntarily undertook when watching The Monuments Men and Woman Experience.