Find things beautiful: van Gogh and us all

Vincent began to make his presence known in my life. Books about him passed through my hands at the library where I work.

The book Vincent Van Gogh by Mike Venezia

A library patron returned the DVD Loving Vincent and took time to tell me how much he enjoyed the movie.

DVD cover for Loving Vincent

A blogger I follow wrote about Vincent in A Sunflower Story.

And then I immersed myself in his art and his thoughts at Beyond van Gogh: The Immersive Experience. (Go, if it comes to a city near you.)

At the exhibition Vincent himself melted from the ceiling.

His brushstrokes came to life on the high walls and the floor all around me.

His artist soul reached out to my creative one as if he had written sentiments to me personally across centuries. I am certain every person immersed in his experience felt the same.

Quote, text against van Gogh brushstrokes: "I also believe that it may happen that one succeeds, and one mustn't begin by despairing; even if one loses here and there, and even if one sometimes feels a sort of decline, the point is nevertheless to revive and have courage, even though things don't turn out as one first thought." To Theo van Gogh, The Hague, 22 October 1882
Quote, text against van Gogh brushstrokes: "...I always think that what we need is sunshine and fine weather and blue air as the most dependable remedy." To Theo van Gogh, Arles, 29 September 1888

Vincent told me to enjoy the air and sunshine. He urged me not to despair.

He reminded me to seek out the beautiful. A message sent to me, and you, from 1874 to the present.

Quote, text against van Gogh brushstrokes: "...find things beautiful as much as you can, most people find too little beautiful." London, January 1874

11 thoughts on “Find things beautiful: van Gogh and us all

  1. Ally Bean

    I know that when I think of van Gogh I think of an episode of Dr. Who. I’d enjoy seeing his painting in person. I like the quotes you have here. Paraphrasing, I agree that the point is to revive and have courage– especially when things don’t turn out as planned. The subtext of the pandemic.

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      I’m ashamed to admit that I have never watched not even one second of any Dr. Who. I know, seems impossible, right? It just was never part of where life took me, and now, who has the time? There are SO MANY. Anyway, I’m glad it resonated with you.

      1. Ally Bean

        I only regularly watched the Dr Who episodes starring David Tennant and then Matt Smith. I don’t know much about the other doctors. The Vincent episode was with Matt Smith.

  2. marianbeaman

    Thank you for immersing us in Van Gogh, literally in the videos and figuratively otherwise. The appeal of Van Gogh for me is his surreal quality. I like Ally’s thought on the pandemic.

    Capital post, Arlene!

  3. Joni

    That was a lovely tribute Arlene. I loved the movie Loving Vincent so much we watched it twice. I didn’t know much about his life, so after I read a bit I watched it again and had more knowledge of who the various people in his life were and the circumstances surrounding his death. I’ve been meaning to order the 2011 book which inspired the movie, Van Goth: The Life – Steven Naifch and Gregory White Smith, as it sounded interesting as I’ve never read a biography about him before, just bits and pieces. It’s funny you should say how he’s come into your life lately, as I turned on the tv a few nights ago and there was the 2018 movie about his life with William Dafoe in it, at Eternity’s Gate, which was also excellent. One quote in the movie stood out, he said he was painting for people in the future, so it didn’t matter if no one understood or liked his work now, they would some day. I wish the exhibit was coming to a city near me….

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      Oh, how right he was about painting for the future. Time travel, in a way. Art, music, writing – it’s time travel. And yes, if you have a chance, immerse yourself in van Gogh. It is an experience.

  4. karen

    Ah, my shoulders relax reading both your and Vincent’s words. I will find the beauty today in the cicadas’ call and rain-filled clouds.

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      Over here I am listening to cardinals and cicadas both – lovely. And I’m working outside despite those rain-filled clouds. Too bad I don’t have van Gogh’s talent or I could paint a picture.


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