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Searching for Van Gogh

Searching for Van Gogh

June 21, 2011
Posted in: Totally Random | Reading Time: 3 minutes

While I appreciated the ruins we visited in Provence--no, really I did--I desperately wanted to take in some art, or at least the landscape that inspired the artists in this area. I love art. I especially love the work of tortured artists. Paintings, drawings and sculpture by prisioners, neurotics, psychotics or just plain loopy people fascinate me.  So after a day of visiting ruins, I insisted on going to Arles to see what inspired Van Gogh and his buddy Gauguin.

It was a long drive to Arles, almost two hours. Having drank a large cup of tea before we left, by the time we got there, I was in desperate need of using a bathroom. Only the city streets were so complex, even the GPS was lost. Though it's uncertain whether Van Gogh cut off his own ear or it was his pal Gauguin, I would bet my two dogs he did it to himself, and I can see why.   Thirty minutes of driving in circles around this labyrinth of a city and I was ready to cut off my own head. 

I finally had Mr. Wild Dingo stop the car, I jumped out in the pouring rain and ran into a pizza joint.  And by joint, I mean it was a real joint, run down, nobody inside and decorated with furniture from the 60's. Mr. Wild Dingo fumbled with his French negotiating if he could buy a soda to use the loo, while I just ordered the damn pizza. At this point there's no negotiating and the owner knew it. "Non, rien. Juste du fromage," I told her for my topping as I ran to the loo.   Let me tell you Internet, that pizza was heavenly. And not because I had to go. It had paper thin crust and was shamefully greesy, exactly how we love it. And if I ever go back to Arles again, I'm going to that joint and ordering as much as I can eat and store in a freezer.

After that 11 a.m. lunch, we popped back in the car and accidentally found a tiny parking spot in the most unexpected ally near Constantine's Baths.  And it was free. Snaps for us!


Now Arles boasts many areas dedicated to Van Gogh, such as the Espace Van-Gogh, Foundation Vincent van Gogh, the Van Gogh cafe, where he painted his famous "Cafe Terrace at Night," the little yellow house, home of his famous Bedroom in Arles painting (first photo) and plenty of other small museums.

But I didn't see any of those. It was pouring--coming down in buckets I tell you. And we had very little time as I had an appointment.  Never mind what was on my agenda. Just chock this up to poor planning.  Between the rain and the time, there was no navigating the maps to find the museums. Which is why we ended up going to the Amphitheater.

But what I saw of Arles as we stumbled our way around in the rain, didn't jump out at me as inspiration for such vibrant work. To be fair, we couldn't really get a sense for the city in such dreary weather or the time limit. Most of what we saw were buildings like this pictured above. Kind of ugly, huh?

Then I looked closer. And I saw it.  The shadows, vertical lines, thick brush strokes and edges found in his technique were all there, right in front of me.

Just a tweak to the tones and the hues and: Voila! I found him.

The man was a genius.

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10 comments on “Searching for Van Gogh”

  1. Being a French major in college, Mom spent a lot of time on Van Gogh, Gauguin, and the Impressionists - how she would love to be able to visit as you did. Too bad about the rain. Pizza sounds yummy. Hope you can get back to Arles on a sunny day.

    Love your Van Gogh creation:)

    Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  2. The gods were just punishing you for deviating from all things Roman. 😉

    (Except for maybe the pizza. Maybe the gods were tossing you a bone there...)

    -Dr. Liz, ever helpful!

  3. Well, we don't know anything about art, but those small alleys would probably make for good squirrel chasing because the squirrels would be sort of locked in!


  4. Those are gorgeous pictures. 🙂

    I have so many questions to answer lol! On the clicker training with Faran, it is customary to charge the clicker using a target with horses. For some reason charging it like you would for a dog doesn't work for them. We will keep working on the target until he recognizes the click before we move on. 🙂 Basically with horses target training does the same thing as clicker training a dog.

    Regarding riding, horses have to be at LEAST three years old before you ride them. They have growth plates in their knees that don't close until then. However the growth plates in their back don't close until six or seven years old so it's best not to do any strenuous work like jumping until they are older. Horses are not designed to have riders on their backs. Their backs can be a weak point so it's absolutely necessary to make sure the saddle fits properly and slowly acclimate them to carrying weight so they can build the proper muscles to support their back. I will start riding Chrome lightly when he's three. Probably every other day for about ten minutes slowly increasing the amount of time. When he's four I will start riding him more regularly and for longer. Faran is eleven so he's full grown and can be ridden as soon as he is emotionally ready, which could be a while. 🙂 Oh and Chrome is two years old right now so I have a year to go. He looks so tiny next to Faran that I definitely want to let him grow as much as possible.

    Faran's hooves aren't really, really bad as far as hooves go. There isn't any permanent damage. The cracks are mostly superficial, but the long toes can be uncomfortable, like us trying to walk on our toenails. When my trimmer can get here she will take off the extra hoof wall (remember like fingernails) so that his sole, frog and heel can support his weight. He'll be more comfortable then. 😀 It's not going to take much to get him back to where he needs to be. Getting some of the weight off of him will help too.

    Thanks for your comment! I'm glad you like him. Sorry I'm so far behind on reading your blog. I'm slowly catching up. I have almost two hundred unread posts in Google Reader. Sigh. Let me know if you have any more questions. I can talk horses all day. 😀

  5. Sounds like a serendipitous day in spite of the rain: you stumbled on a great pizza and had a flash of insight about Van Gogh's artistic vision of Arles. Not a bad day.

    Jed & Abby

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