Filtering: Tagged with painting
Now I’ll tell you that I’m working on the 2 paintings of which I wanted to make repetitions. The pink peach tree is giving me the most trouble.
The colorman here made absorbent canvas for me, but he’s so lazy about doing it that I’ve decided to have everything sent from Paris or Marseille, and give up — having lost all patience — the idea of getting him to do it. (While waiting for a no. 30 absorbent canvas I painted two on non-absorbent canvas.)
I’m in a fury of work as the trees are in blossom and I wanted to do a Provence orchard of tremendous gaiety.
I’ve just done a clump of apricot trees in a little fresh green orchard.
I’ve bought some coarse canvas here and I’ve had it prepared for matt effects, I can now get everything, more or less, at Paris prices.
What wouldn’t I have given to be able to spend a day here with you and to show you the work in progress and the house.
At the moment I’m really in the shit, studies, studies, studies, and that’ll go on for some time yet – such a mess that it breaks my heart – and yet that’ll give me neatness when I’m 40. From time to time a canvas that makes a painting, such as that sower, which I too think is better than the first one.
I don’t know if you’ll understand that one can speak poetry just by arranging colors well, just as one can say comforting things in music. In the same way the bizarre lines, sought out and multiplied, and snaking all over the painting, aren’t intended to render the garden in its vulgar resemblance but draw it for us as if seen in a dream, in character and yet at the same time stranger than the reality.
This week I did a new study of a sower; the landscape utterly flat, the figure small and blurred.
As far as the house is concerned, the fact that it will be habitable continues to soothe me very much. Will my work be worse because by staying in the same place I’ll see the seasons come and go on the same subjects? Seeing the same orchards again in spring, the same wheatfields in summer, I’ll inevitably see my work regularly before me in advance, and can plan better. And by keeping certain studies here to make an ensemble that will hold together, after a certain time that will make a calmer body of work for you. I feel that as far as that goes, we’re pretty well on the right road. I could only wish that you were nearer here.  
Ah—my study of the vineyards—I sweated blood and tears over it—but I have it —another square no. 30 canvas—once again for the decoration of the house.
I have no canvas left at all.
I’ve tried to express the terrible human passions with the red and the green.
Is it true, as I think in moments when I’m in a good mood, that what is alive in art, and eternally alive, is first the painter and then the painting? Well, what difference does that make — but if one sees people working it’s still something one doesn’t find under glass in museums.
There’s no better or shorter way to improve my work than to do figures. Also, I always feel confidence when doing portraits, knowing that that work is much more serious — that’s perhaps not the word — but rather is the thing that enables me to cultivate what’s best and most serious in me.
At the moment I’m concentrating on doing something to enhance the value of my paintings. You know I have only one means of achieving that end — it’s to paint them. 
Another hard day’s work today. If you saw my canvases, what would you say about them — you wouldn’t find Cézanne’s almost diffident and conscientious brushstroke there. But since at present I’m painting the same countryside of La Crau and the Camargue — although in a slightly different place – nevertheless, certain color relationships could remain. What do I know about it — from time to time I couldn’t help thinking of Cézanne, particularly when I realized that his touch is so clumsy in certain studies – disregard the word clumsy — seeing that he probably executed those studies when the mistral was blowing. Having to deal with the same difficulty half the time, I can explain why Cézanne’s touch is sometimes so sure and sometimes seems awkward. It’s his easel that’s wobbling.
I’ve sometimes worked excessively fast; is that a fault? I can’t help it. For example I’ve painted a no. 30 canvas — the summer evening — at a single sitting. It’s not possible to rework it; to destroy it — why, because I deliberately went outside to make it, out in the mistral. Isn’t it rather intensity of thought than calmness of touch that we’re looking for — and in the given circumstances of impulsive work on the spot and from life, is a calm and controlled touch always possible? Well — it seems to me — no more than fencing moves during an attack.
I’m working on a landscape with wheatfields which I believe is no worse than the white orchard, for example. It’s of the same kind as the two Butte Montmartre landscapes that were in the Independents, but I think it’s more substantial and that it has a little more style. And I have another subject, a farmhouse and wheat stacks, which will probably be its pendant.
I haven’t left for Saintes-Maries — they’ve finished painting the house and I had to pay, and I also have to buy quite a considerable supply of canvas.
And out of the fifty francs I’ve got one louis left and we’re only Tuesday morning, and so it was hardly possible for me to leave and I fear it won’t yet be possible next week either.
What have you painted now? I myself have done a still life with — a coffee pot in blue enamelled iron — a royal blue cup and saucer, a milk jug with pale cobalt and white checks, a cup with orange and blue designs on a white background, a blue majolica jug with green, brown, pink flowers and foliage, all of it on a blue tablecloth against a yellow background. With these pieces of crockery, 2 oranges and three lemons. It’s thus a variation of blues enlivened by a series of yellows ranging all the way to orange. Then I have another still life, some lemons in a basket against a yellow background. Then a view of Arles — of the town you see only a few red roofs and a tower, the rest’s hidden by the foliage of fig-trees, &c. All that far off in the background and a narrow strip of blue sky above. The town is surrounded by vast meadows decked with innumerable buttercups — a yellow sea. These meadows are intersected in the foreground by a ditch full of purple irises. They cut the grass while I was painting, so it’s only a study and not a finished painting, which I intended to make of it. But what a subject — eh — that sea of yellow flowers with a line of purple irises, and in the background the neat little town of pretty women. Then two studies of roadsides — afterwards — done out in the mistral.
Many of the subjects here are just — in character — the same as in Holland — the difference is in the colour. There’s sulphur everywhere where the sun beats down.
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