“Sometimes I long so much to do landscape, just as one would go for a long walk to refresh oneself, and in all of nature, in trees for instance, I see expression and a soul.”—Vincent Van Gogh (from an 1882 letter to his brother Theo)
Vincent Van Gogh arrived in Arles in February 1888 just as spring was beginning to bloom. It was invigorating and inspiring to Vincent so much so that he painted a total of 14 trees within a month of arriving.
One of my favorites, Almond Blossoms, was painted when his nephew, named Vincent, after him, was born. It features beautiful close view of the Almond tree branches and the many shades of blue in the background. You can almost see the joy and love that went into this work for his namesake. It was one of the only pieces the family did not part with in the years after his death, and now it resides in the Van Gogh Museum.
Looking out the window as spring is in full bloom, I can understand how inspired he must have been. It is an ever changing magical show that only stays for a short while. In a letter to his brother Theo, Van Gogh wrote “This morning I worked on an orchard of plum trees in bloom; all at once a fierce wind sprang up, an effect I had seen nowhere else but here, and returned at intervals. The sun shone in between, and all the little white flowers sparkled. It was so lovely. My friend the Dane came to join me, and I went on painting at the risk and peril of seeing the whole show on the ground at any moment – it’s a white effect with a good deal of yellow in it, and blue and lilac, the sky white and blue”
In my opinion, Van Gogh captured Spring in his trees like no one else has.
Trees have always been my favorite to paint. As the trees begin to flower it is a sure sign of spring. Trees with their tiny blooms still showing the shape of every gnarled branch. To the full fluffy bloom of an apple tree like cotton candy.
Each delicate bloom here only for a moment before falling like snow to the ground.
I hope you enjoyed just a sample of Van Gogh’s paintings and a few of my attempts at capturing spring. Now go out and catch the beauty of spring yourself. Be inspired! Paint your own masterpiece!