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Friday, March 02, 2018

My all time favourite Van Gogh painting

Well, that was a question from my client this afternoon ( You know I talk about art all the time while cutting hair ).

It’s really a difficult one to answer. I’m always drawn to his earlier works done in, say, Nuenen. 
He managed to produce magnificent body of work, most famously, The Potato Eaters. He did fabulous head studies of peasant women, still life and landscapes. With his distinctive use of earthy colours, Millet’s influence is obvious. 
His works in these early days as an artist are quite often overlooked, but, I myself see much greater sense of compassion for humanity in these works than his later ones. 

Having said that, now going back to the first question. 
My all time favourite of Van Gogh is actually this one. 

Painted in Arles in 1888, ‘The Painter on the Road to Tarascon’ was sadly destroyed during WWII. It’s a rare form of self-portrait by the artist. “For instance, there is a rough sketch I made of myself laden with boxes, props, and canvas on the road to Tarascon”, he wrote to Theo describing some works he did in August. 

This charming painting, Van Gogh walking in the field wearing a straw hat, carrying painting equipment on a sunny day in summer, strongly resonates in my heart. 
In a way, I feel as if I were looking at myself. I’ve no idea how I look like when I’m carrying those easels and canvas. Yes, I do wear a straw hat!
I don’t think you appreciate this painting as much as I do unless you actually love painting outdoors. It’s been only 3.5 years since I started painting en plein air, but, I can tell you, it’s changed my life. I’m forever grateful to Greg, my painting teacher, for that. Whether it’s 42°C heatwave or freezing cold, I'm just loving it

And every time I’m outside painting, I project myself on this painting. Then I feel like sharing the same space and time painting together with Van Gogh. 

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