A little more passion, please

Van Gogh’s lesson for me today:

Rappard has painted some good studies, among others a few after the models at the academy, which are well done. A little more fire and passion would not hurt him, a little more self-confidence and more courage. Somebody once said to me, “We must make the same efforts as lost, desperate beings.” He does not do that as yet. His pen-and-ink drawings of landscape are very witty and charming, but in these, also, a little more passion, please.

(From Van Gogh: A Self-Portrait, W. H. Auden, ed.)

I’m focusing on drawing at all right now, and drawing accurately, and learning how to paint, but at the same time I hope I can keep those words in mind. I want to push past my carefulness and dutiful copying, and let some feeling and messiness come out if it wants to.

Here’s a charcoal drawing I really enjoyed doing because I love sumac so much, especially in the late fall when the leaves are gone and they’re very dramatic looking.

Sumac (charcoal pencil)

Sumac (charcoal pencil)

This tiny landscape is of one of my favorite places, a marsh in Essex, Mass., a couple of towns over. I stop at this spot on my way to work when I have time; it’s beautiful in every season.

Essex Marsh, July (oil on canvas)

Essex Marsh, July (oil on canvas)

This was my first attempt at freeform lace.

Freeform lace (seasilk)

Freeform lace (seasilk)

2 responses to “A little more passion, please

  1. As an artist myself i can promise you that you dont need to worry about making mistakes. Its not an issue of passion. In my opinion passion is an excuse for impressing others. Your art is about you i was like that until i got into the mindset of taking an image and painting my version of it.
    It showed in my work

    • OK, that’s good to hear. I know what you mean about the impressing-others passion, and I hope I never fall into that. I think what Van Gogh meant was what he also called “vigor,” the opposite of careful striving for effect. So are you saying you’re happy with the results of painting your version of images?

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