“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”
– Vincent Van Gogh
One of my favorite artists is Vincent Van Gogh. Many people don’t realize that Van Gogh worked very hard for many years before he started to paint masterpieces. He was fueled by sheer determination. His art pursuit began from his mid twenties, leaving lasting impression on his life leading to a most profound understanding.
Did you know Van Gogh taught himself to paint by just doing it day after day after day? He once said “if you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”
This process that sometimes energizes me and sometimes paralyzes me is essential in what I do and will have an influence on my mood of that particular moment. That could be the special ingredient that an artist provide to each artwork.
Van Gogh knew there was no such thing as wrong, no such thing as a mistake. There were just opportunities to try it and see what happened. He never stopped working. In the end, he produced an average of 4 works of art a week for a decade.
“I am always doing what I cannot do yet in order to learn how to do it.” Van Gogh didn’t wait for inspiration to strike. He sat himself down every day and made himself work in sketches, drawings, and paintings.
The style Vincent used in his drawings carried over into his oil paintings where he employed short, blunt strokes. Looking closer ‘Starry Night’, one can see that the lines are a wide variety of thicknesses and strengths of ink and flow this way and that to almost give a sense of movement in the heavens. Add to this the colour of the oil version and you have another painting full of life.
What looks so simple was the result of years of practice, patience and perseverance that went into his works. In the end, it’s about making things happen with work and study and sheer determination.