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Friday, September 20, 2013

Van Gogh's Parents Made Him Read

I am currently reading Van Gogh - The Life by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith.  I recommend this excellent biography as an insightful glimpse of Vincent's life and the times in which he lived.  I am charmed to learn that Van Gogh's parents made him and his siblings read extensively. They read everything from Dickens to fairy tales (but not American cowboy and Indian stories which were deemed to be too stimulating).  Reading was a habit that Van Gogh kept all his life.
This biographical information confirms my own belief that reading lots of books is valuable for all endeavors.  As an artist, I tend to get overly focused on the craft of painting and don't pay much attention to anything else.  Ironically, being too focused reduces imagination and creativity.  Taking time to read something everyday keeps creative energy fresh.  
So I follow the advice given to Vincent.  I read a lot of books.  All kinds of books.  Both fiction and non-fiction.  Van Gogh went from painting fairly dull brownish paintings to the masterful intense yellows and blues of Arles during his short life while keeping to his childhood habit of voracious reading.  Maybe I can grab some of that!  Maybe we all can.
Go read something good and spark your imagination.  
Copyright Mona Vivar 2013, Moonlight Rose, 14 inches by 11 inches, acrylic on canvas  

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