Thursday, June 22, 2017


Artists are seers who have the added gift of enabling others to see what they see.  Some artists share  their vision with colors, others with the written word, and others through carving and sculpting.   Their creative works remain long after their personal journey is over and their vision lives on.  Vincent van Gogh of the 19th century, was one of these gifted artists.  His work was not appreciated until long after his suicide at age 37.  During his lifetime, he sold only two paintings, but today his work is found in museums around the world and is worth millions.

Vincent wanted to be a minister, tried it, and failed.  Afterward, he broke all ties with organized religion.  He turned to art, seeing in it a better medium for bringing meaning and beauty to people; a way of opening their eyes to the deeper mysteries of life (helping others see what he saw). Vincent saw meaning and beauty in ordinary things:  flower vases, houses, cafes, cypress trees, and sunflowers.  He saw an inner beauty in people:  peasants working and eating, shopkeepers, weavers, postmen, prostitutes and attempted to paint this inner beauty.  In the faces of common people, seasoned by life’s trials and joys, Vincent could see the sacred; and he wanted to share what he saw with the world.  “It is looking at things for a long time,” wrote Vincent to his brother Theo, “that ripens you and gives you a deeper understanding.” While Vincent saw the sacredness, the beauty, and the wonder in the ordinary, he seemed unable to see his own beauty and worth.  His story is a story worth reading.  I think of Vincent each time I hear the song, Vincent, which I heard yesterday and I am still hearing this morning.

Starry starry night
Paint your palette blue and gray
Look out on a summer's day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul
Shadows on the hills
Sketch the trees and the daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills
In colors on the snowy linen land
Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free
They would not listen they did not know how
Perhaps they'll listen now
Starry starry night
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds in violet haze
Reflect in Vincent's eyes of china blue
Colors changing hue
Morning fields of amber grain
Weathered faces lined in pain
Are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand
For they could not love you
But still your love was true
And when no hope was left inside
On that starry starry night
You took your life as lovers often do
But I could have told you Vincent
This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you
They did not listen, they're not listening still

Perhaps they never will

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