Irises after Vincent (14 x 16) - 6.20.2001 NFS

I have been painting in watercolors most of my life. I have also created many commercial art-works digitally “painting” them on the computer. Here is one of my first oil paintings. It was done in the summer of 2001. It is a loose copy of one of my favorite Vincent Van Gogh paintings “Irises.” I have always loved this painting. It reminds me of Jesus teaching his disciples. The purple irises seem to be leaning toward the single white iris, as the red faced pharisees stand in the background talking amongst themselves plotting the end of his life. I love the bold lines Vincent used.

I wanted to use this “copy” to break out of my tight, frustrated attempts at oil painting that I started during the prior weeks. Those attempts all ended up half-started and later tossed. The freedom that found me during this painting, brought out a part of my creative self that had been hidden for many, many years, but the process was sparked with this Van Gogh piece.

I have read a couple of biography’s of Vincent Van Gogh. My favorite is called Lust for Live. In it, Vincent’s passion for the Church and for the poor is highlighted. A bit of a clumsy student when it came to his time in seminary, he eventually made it through at the protest of several of his professors. They felt that he was just not cut out for public service in the Dutch Reformed Church. They decided it was best to place him in the mining village of Wasmes to work with the poor coal mining families. Their idea was that since no other pastors wanted to go out there, this would be a good training ground for Vincent and his presence there would do some good for the community. There was a nice parish home for him to live in. The “problem” was that he fought the feelings of superiority while he lived in a home much nicer than the villagers. He gave away most of his food, clothing and other belongings in an altruistic attempt to aid those who were in need. This was met with disfavor by the leaders of the denomination and he was eventually removed from his position. <doh!>

Thank you Vincent!