THE STACKS Travel Diary

Glorious Yellow Suns

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On Today’s Menu:
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
** Share some speculaas cookies
for the birthday of a beloved Dutch painter.
** Linger to marvel at
how inspiring change of scene can be.
** Savor a last ½ cup on a bicycle tour of
a national park with a museum attached!
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First Sip:

This part of the world seems to me…beautiful …
for the
clearness of the atmosphere and the gay colour effects.
The stretches of water make patches of…emerald and
a rich blue in the landscapes… Pale orange sunsets…
glorious yellow suns.
…Perhaps there’d be a real advantage in
emigrating to the south for many artists
in love
with sunshine and colour.

Slice of Cake:

When I was 18, I asked my sister-in-law something along the lines of:
“So why do people think this guy is so great anyhow?”
and I pointed to an art print that hung over her bed.

I knew she’d had training in drawing and art, and I asked because I believed she would have a real answer.
She did.

“Look at that mirror,” she said. “Even in this low-quality print,
you can see how light seems to shine from it—
and how that light is different from the light of the window.”
I’m sure she said more, but that’s what I remember. The light.

Almost exactly ten years later, I saw that same painting in person.

‘The Bedroom’ by Vincent Van Gogh

At the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, I had been looking at a very different painting.
When I turned and saw the Van Gogh, it was way across a long room
and through a hallway—yet its colors all but leaped off the wall.
The painting seemed to glow. It looked back-lit.

When Van Gogh painted ‘The Bedroom,’ ++
he said he wanted it to be relaxing to look at.
And it is…

…But it also seems so animated—you almost expect the objects to spring to life
and start dancing about.

For his earlier paintings, back in the Netherlands, Van Gogh had tended to use dark colors.

detail of The Potato Eaters, April 1885 
by Vincent Van Gogh

Once he arrived in Paris, and then in Arles, in the South of France,
his paintings brightened a great deal…

The Sower, June 1888
by Vincent Van Gogh

…And he fell in love with color.

I have lacked money for paying models…
but I have made a series of colour studies
in painting simply flowers,
red poppies, blue corn flowers and myosotys.
White and rose roses, yellow chrysantemums—
seeking oppositions of blue with orange,
red and green, yellow and violet.

– Vincent van Gogh
in a letter to Horace Mann Livens
September or October 1886, Paris

Happy 166th Birthday
** Vincent Van Gogh **

– born March 30, 1853
in Groot-Zundert, southern Netherlands

By the way,
I had to look it up: When he says
“blue corn flowers and myosotys”,
the myosotys are forget-me-nots.

Linger Awhile:

I’ve been thinking this week about new beginnings.

My dear Theo,
I’m in a fury of work as the trees are in blossom
and I wanted to do a Provence orchard
tremendous gaiety.

– Vincent van Gogh
3 April 1888, Arles

Sometime around 2000, a good friend said to me:
“One of the advantages of immigrating
is the chance to re-invent yourself.”

I had recently moved to New Zealand, and I was
moaning about how hard it was to pursue an M.S. degree
when the closest university that offered one in my field
was a four-and-a-half-hour drive away—
and their ‘correspondence courses’ sounded
less than appealing.

In a new place, I could become a new person.

“What do you want to do?” my friend asked me.
“Instead of science, you mean?”
She nodded.
I said, “Write.”
She said, “There you are.”

There’ve been a lot of bumps in the road, but the facts are
I never got that M.S. in science, and
I’ve been writing ever since. And,
on my best days, I’m in a ‘fury of work.’
And trees bloom.

Me & Vincent

“Half-Cup More”

One year, I got to see Van Gogh’s art
via bicycle.

Me in
Hoge Veluwe National Park

When Prof B had a sabbatical in the Autumn of 2015, he and I spent seven weeks in Utrecht in the Netherlands. One day we took a trip to Hoge Veluwe National Park,
which, at about 21 square miles, is the Netherlands’ largest national park.

Included in the price of admission to the park
is a free bicycle rental for the day.

The bus we rode in on let us out at the gates—
where we found a ginormous parking lot of bikes.

We took our pick. Rode about for an hour or so.

Your ride awaits…

Eventually we came across some buildings and figured, that must be the museum!
And it was.

With over 180 of his drawings and almost 90 paintings,
the Kröller-Müller Museum has the second-largest collection of Vincent Van Gogh’s work in the world.

(The only larger collection is at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.)

—unlike any other museum I’ve ever been to—
Kröller-Müller Museum is in the middle of a national park!

you can see a tribute to Van Gogh’s paintings in a beautiful and
unique movie called Loving Vincent (2017), which has gasp-worthy hand-painted animation.

Take-Away Box

Here, under a stronger sun, I have found true what
Pissarro said, and what Gauguin wrote to me as well…
gravity of great sunlight effects.

– Vincent van Gogh
in a letter to Theo, Oct. 1888 +++

Thank you for reading!
Kelly J Hardesty

Thoughts? Questions?
Scroll down to the endand you can leave me a note!
Always so lovely to hear from you.

You Can Read More…


++ I love a good audio tour, and I heard a very good one
in 2013 at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam,
which is where I learned what
Vincent Van Gogh said about his painting ‘The Bedroom.’

+++ I accessed all the quotes from Van Gogh’s letters

STT- 12

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© Kelly J Hardesty 2024

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