He’s one of my favorites for a first day of a new class, because I feel like he is the perfect example to the kids that art is what you make of it. There is no right and wrong. There is no one way to see the world. Van Gogh painted what he saw, but it is so different from what I see. I could sit down in front of the same mulberry tree in Saint Remy and my painting would not look at all like Van Gogh’s.
Van Gogh had a difficult life. He struggled with mental illness, depression and heartbreak. Some of his most famous paintings, including Starry Night, were painted while he was in a mental asylum struggling to recover from an “attack” that lead him to cut off a portion of his ear. His work from this time in his life is made up of short, waving lines that make the entire world appear that it is in motion.
I think the kids really enjoyed it, and they did a fantastic job panting their own swirly, whirly, Van Gogh style trees.