Cheerful and Colorful Paintings

Cheerful and Colorful Paintings in Oil, Acrylic, Mixed Media and Collage
nancystandlee@sbcglobal.net

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Altered Book ~ Vincent Van Gogh: Brush With Genius by Texas Daily Painter Nancy Standlee

These two pages were done after our Canvas by Canvas group had a birthday celebration lunch at the Kimbell Museum Buffet this week and then viewed the Vincent Van Gogh: Brush With Genius IMAX movie. In approximately 45 minutes it tells about the months prior to his death. It was breathtaking.
These pages are done in the Woman's Health book I'm altering for an art journaling workshop the last of July at Dena Wenmoh's ranch. See previous posts for more details. This particular journal will be more about women and I thought how women make and keep their friendships and how lonely Vincent was at the end and how he needed some painting friends. After doing some comparing and contrasting, I just wrote Vincent a letter and I've attached it at the bottom. This is one way to make an entry into a journal - write a letter to a real or an imagined person.


I added color and stamps above his "Starry Night" painting, one of his most famous. I drew his grave stone and wrote down his birth and death dates. I collaged my ticket and a label from a delicious chocolate one of the birthday girls had brought us from her cruise. The gold was from the chocolate wrapper and what journal page can't use a little glitz.

His portrait painting was in the newspaper, some more gold, I added the crows and some stamps, and the music I felt was fitting with what I was thinking after a day with friends, That's What Friends Are For." I painted the daffodil because of the line in the song, Starry, Starry Night "Sketch the trees and daffodils" by Don McLean. And if you want to see a You Tube Video of this "Starry, Starry Night" Click HERE. You will not be disappointed.
HERE is another version on Don McLean's site.


These are two pages I've prepared to paste our photograph of the group around the dining table and the other side will hold the letter. I drew a sunflower into the wet paint.

Dear Vincent,

Yesterday, June 15, 2010, 6 good friends and members of the Canvas by Canvas group of collaborative painters, met to celebrate 2 birthdays and you were invited. We saw an afternoon showing of Vincent Van Gogh: Brush With Genius, at the Omni IMAX Dome Theater with a screen 8 stories high and 120' wide. The brushstrokes on your paintings were amazing. We loved hearing and seeing about your last days in Auvers-Sur-Oise. I learned you wrote 900 letters to Theo, your brother. If you were alive today I think you would be a blogger. I write one letter and it 'might' be seen by 900 people, if the "Google spiders" cooperate.

I wish we could have known each other. It sounded like you were very alone at the end of your life. Our painting group could have been your friend. You could have gone to lunch with us like yesterday when we ate at the buffet at the Kimbell and the food was delicious. You would have liked the conversation and fit right in as we don't talk shoes, shopping, makeup or clothes...just art and painting mostly. We tend to get excited and interrupt each other about supplies or a new technique and we get together often and this was for 2 birthday celebrations. One member couldn't come as she was waiting for the pool man and he was late. Another one has moved away but we had 6 to enjoy your movie.

Sometimes we take a painting holiday together and paint for days. You really would like that. We don't do plein air as in Texas plein air means sitting on a sun porch looking outside when it's over 100 degrees but you could and stay out as long as you would like. When you get home, we'd order in pizza and have a group critique of our day's effort. Later maybe we could talk you into giving us a quick sunflower demo over a glass of wine.

I thought about you today when I drew your gravestone in my journal and wrote down your birth and death dates - 37 years old at death. Vincent, that is too young to die and it is 1/2 the number of years I have lived. I think about the good memories I've had in those past 37 years and what paintings you might have produced had you been able to cope with your sadness. Do you know all the paintings all 8 of us combined in our career doesn't equal the numbers you produced in those last few years? Well, they are not as good either - lol (that is a little humor and means laugh out loud). But dear Vincent we know how some sales can lift our spirits and know you got despondent when you had to rely on your brother for money.

If you had been our friend, maybe you wouldn't have been so lonely at the end. We help each other out over the rough spots. We laugh a lot and try to live in the moment. We know how to relax and have a good time. I wish you had some good meds. We sure take our share of hormones and maybe a mood enhancer at times because we know about mood swings. We just wish there had been something to help. I've thought about you today and the people who were so sad about your death and what it did to them. It can be so unfair to the ones left.

I listened again to the YouTube of Starry, Starry Night today.

"On that starry, starry night You took your life, as lovers often do."

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For Workshop Info:
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call 830 825-3465.

10 comments:

Cheryl Wilson - O'Pry said...

Hi Nancy! I love the letter to Vincent. I don't think I ever realized how young he was when he died. So sad. Thanks for sharing!!

Nancy Standlee said...

Cheryl, I thought some before posting the letter.. but went ahead and when doing some research, I was surprised at how young he really was and now I'd like to read all of the Theo letters.

Rhomany said...

Beautifully written and lovely pages. I'm reading the Yellow House at the moment myself.

Nancy Standlee said...

Rhomany, I wasn't familiar with the book but looked it up on Amazon - really good reviews. I see you have a Roz book..congrats. Thanks for the visit.

Eva said...

What a wonderful letter! You touched on so many things with your usual wit and insight.I love your other journal entries too. I know your workshop will be awesome. Years ago I visited the sanitarium where Vincent was confined and other places he painted in Provence. It was an emotional experience.

Simz said...

Hi ,

I loved this journal entry ... Van Gogh is a genius ...

I like the thought of a day and so many memories collected of him

Nancy Standlee said...

Simz, thanks for the visit all the way from India. Looks like we like many of the same books.

johan.weiss said...

I do not agree that your scrbblings and collage pasting is a valid reason to destroy someone else's book. Vandalism in the name of self-expression is still vandalism.

Nancy Standlee said...

Johan, thanks for your comment and what's so great we don't all have to agree. We are having some good discussions over at Wet Canvas about this issue in the journaling section. As a former librarian, I know some books have to be weeded. If a book is rescued from the landfill and save a tree from purchasing a brand new journal, maybe a good thing? The owner and purchaser of an item does have some rights also. When I sell a painting I can no longer control what the owner does with it.

Nancy Standlee said...

Eva, how wonderful that you got to visit where he was. Because of these entries I've ordered used books from Amazon of his letters to Theo and plan to read them soon.