van Gogh – the original blogger

You know how people always talk about going full circle? Well, this is one of those instances. How it happened is a mystery but I recently rediscovered Van Gogh’s letters online. Yes, I’d seen them online before, noted it, and moved on. This time, however, I’ve become obsessed with them – again. The first obsession was a very long time ago, hate to even admit how long ago, (so I won’t) when I read them straight through like a novel. It occurred to me this time that Vincent was the first blogger – writing about his thoughts, inspiration and moods while adding drawings to illustrate his point in his letters to Theo. Now that I’m much older and maybe a little wiser, I’m understanding more and relating better to what he had to say.

Here is the link to the van Gogh letters:

Although it’s fun to click on various topics, you can go to the Calendar of all letters and just start from the beginning.

van Gogh drawing
van Gogh drawing – Lane with Trees and One Figure

“Mauve takes it amiss that I said, `I am an artist,’ which I  won’t take back, because it’s self-evident that what that word implies is looking for something all the time without ever   finding it in full. It is the very opposite of saying, `I know all about it, I’ve already found it.’ As far as I am concerned, the word means, `I am looking, I am hunting for it, I am deeply    involved.'” Vincent van Gogh from a letter to his brother Theo

to be continued…

The same path

So, after I posted and edited and updated “This Way to the Beach” I was thinking about it and it seemed like something that would be a fun monotype print.  Apparently, that thought ran across my mind before because here it is – done already:

This Way to the Beach Again

In fact, it’s posted on my original WordPress blog, that I haven’t been using because it didn’t link me to my location.

That blog is found at: and oddly enough, my last post was on monotypes, this one included.   Hope you don’t mind the resurrection.

Please let me know if there is  too much redundancy because obviously it doesn’t occur to me.  Sometimes I’ll draw or paint the same thing until it’s right or because it’s a pleasant composition.  Don’t you think it’s interesting to see how the same subject looks with different mediums?

This Way to the Beach

This Way to the Beach

This Way to the Beach – 6×8 oil on panel

Using very visible brush marks and staying away from detail – Done!

Yesterday I was very non-communicative, keeping everything inside as usual.  My apologies – especially to myself! Here’s what I meant to say:

This path to the beach is on Jupiter Island, FL and really does have the perfect “S” shaped path that is a must component for a perfect composition.

(Read Edgar Paynes book: “Composition of Outdoor Painting” for other great compositional tips.)

The “S” shape leads you into the painting and makes your eye wander around.  In this case it wasn’t something I made up – I found it there while driving down the road to the beach on the north end of the island.  It’s private property so I couldn’t just pull over and paint.  But, I usually just snap a picture so that I can paint it later when presented with a situation like that.  Actually I also will take many pictures for later reference even if I’m on location painting.

Painting from photographs is a challenge because the camera doesn’t duplicate what we see with our eyes.  However, there are two things that are good about photographs – one you can take your time with the painting because the light won’t be changing and second you can view the picture on your computer screen and it’s a fairly good replication of outdoor light.  The one thing I modified immediately was to not include the “for sale” sign in front of the bushes.  Next I decided that in order to compensate for the unruly shadows produced by the camera I would paint in a lighter range, something I’m working on in general.