Filtering: Tagged with paintings
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.
But what can one do, unfortunately it’s complicated in several ways, my paintings are worthless, they cost me an extraordinary amount, it’s true, perhaps sometimes even in blood and brain. I won’t press the point, and what do you want me to say about it.
I think that – in spite of myself – I won’t be able to prevent myself sending you a few canvases shortly, say within a month. I say in spite of myself, for I’m convinced that the canvases gain from drying right through here in the south, to the point where the impasto is thoroughly hardened, which takes a long time – that’s to say a year. If I restrain myself from sending them that would certainly be best. For we don’t need to show them at the moment, I’m well enough aware of that.
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.
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.
Because the people here, in order to make me pay pretty high rates for EVERYTHING, make too much of the fact that I take up a little more room with my paintings than their other customers who aren’t painters. For my part, I’ll make the point that I’m staying longer and spend more in the guest-house than laborers who just stay a short time. And they won’t get a sou out of me so easily any more.
I remain enraptured with the scenery here, am working at a series of blooming orchards.
As far as work goes, I brought home a no.15 canvas today, it’s a drawbridge, with a little carriage going across it, outlined against a blue sky — the river blue as well, the banks orange with greenery, a group of washerwomen wearing blouses and multicoloured bonnets. And another landscape with a little rustic bridge and washerwomen as well. Lastly an avenue of plane trees near the station. 12 studies altogether since I’ve been here.
Now I know that it’s fairly impossible for the white potato or salad grubs that turn into May bugs later to be capable of forming credible ideas about their future overground existence. And that it would be rash of them to undertake overground studies to throw light on this question, since the gardener or others interested in salad and vegetables would immediately trample them underfoot as being harmful insects. But for parallel reasons I have little faith in the rightness of our human ideas concerning our future life. We can no more judge our own metamorphoses impartially and sagely than the white salad grubs can theirs. For the same reason that a salad grub has to eat salad roots for its higher development—so I believe that a painter has to make paintings—perhaps that there’s something else after that
If at the age of forty I do a painting of figures or portraits the way I feel it, I think that will be worth more than a more or less serious success now.
The Green Vineyard Arles, September 1888 oil on canvas 72 cm x 92 cm
I have two models this week, an Arlésienne and the old peasant, whom I’m doing this time against a bright orange background, which, although it doesn’t pretend to represent a red sunset in trompe l’oeil, is perhaps a suggestion of it, all the same.1 Unfortunately, I fear that the little Arlésienne will stand me up for the rest of the painting. The last time she came she had innocently asked for the money in advance that I’d promised her for all the sittings, and as I made no difficulty about that she scarpered without my seeing her again. Anyway, one of these days she owes it to me to come back, and it would be a bit rich if she didn’t turn up at all.
There’s a hard frost here, and out in the country there’s still snow—I have a study of a whitened landscape with the town in the background. And then 2 little studies of a branch of an almond tree that’s already in flower despite everything.