recent paintings and news

recent paintings and news

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Amsterdam with Van Gogh & Rembrandt


When I planned my recent journey to Germany, I also, with a lot of help, mapped out a detour before heading home and made a train ride pilgrimage to Amsterdam to visit the Van Gogh Museum.

I have experienced Van Goghs’ work 'live' in California as well as here in Canada but needless to say I was so very moved by the body of work presented in this museum. So much so that I held back tears more than once.   

Like many artists who depict the natural world, I feel a symbiotic connection with Van Gogh.  Throughout the years I have developed a deep regard for his unwavering faith in his work and his courage to continue on in his own path-despite the onslaught of  obstacles that he endured. And when he could endure no more, he took his life rather than take a different road. I admire a lot of artists who go out in the land and paint;  but only a  few I feel deeply in regards to how they become one with the land with such raw, honest emotion.

It was fascinating to view Van Goghs’ influences (so much more than I realized re Japanese), the artists who influenced him, and artists that were influenced by him. It was also riveting to follow his earlier dark works as they brightened in their chroma and varied in malleable application. I was also quite pleased to see works that I have never seen in print (and through the years I thought that I had seen them all!).

  In all the works depicted, I found his self portraits to be unnerving-I can’t put into words the expression in his eyes –but I think if I did not know anything about him, I could see everything in them.

A while back I posted a note about a new website that depicts all of Van Gogh’s letters-here is an excerpt from the museum’s site. 

The letters of Vincent van Gogh

October 2009 saw the culmination of the extensive and prestigious Van Gogh Letters Project. Fifteen years of research into the correspondence of Vincent van Gogh by the Van Gogh Museum and the Huygens Institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences will be crowned by this special exhibition, the launch of a freely accessible website encompassing the complete research results and the publication of a six volume book in three languages. Various aspects of Van Gogh's letters are also highlighted in the iPhone application and the Van Gogh blog.

I also visited the Rijksmuseum,  which houses many of Rembrandts' works, as well as Vermeer and many Dutch masters. Rembrandt lived and painted in Amsterdam so it was really a thrill to be here and  experience this exhibition. 

It also holds artists whose work was inspired by Rembrandt and I was interested to see  the influence he had on Degas and his development as an artist. Depicted were small portraits and etchings of Rembrandt rendered by Degas, presented with works rendered by Rembrandt.

*thanks to Liah, Mat & Mogi for the  journey


  1. Love the painting! I can picture you, racing out there with the dogs to paint, even though your body is still giving mixed messages about when to sleep, when to eat, and when to be upright painting.

    I envy you the trip to the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum. When I saw the Van Gogh paintings in California at the Norton Simon Museum, I was in tears. Such vibrancy and boldness!! And honesty. I felt him shouting at me: THIS IS LIFE! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!