Quick – n – Crazy

April 25, 2007

One of the many present reading materials is the Yellow House, a book about the nine weeks Van Gogh and Gaugin spent living in the south of France, painting together, collaborating, drinking, philosophizing (I’m sure that’s not a word, but you get the idea). And, oh yes, let’s not forget frequenting the cat houses of Arles.

It’s an amusing book, and very insightful if you are interested at all in Van Gogh. He seems to be more the primary focus of the book. Though I do like the system Gaugin introduced for budgeting their money. It was like something I had read as a child on how to budget your money. You have a little box for each fund: one for paint and canvas (the most important), one for food, one for drink, one for tobacco, and one for the whore house. It was funny to see the priorities – I believe food was actually further toward the bottom. Those weren’t actually the categories I read about as a child, but you get the idea.

One thing that really struck me was Van Gogh’s work style. It gives me hope for my own. His more successful pieces were done in very short time periods. Whereas Gaugin would take days or even weeks to complete a painting, Van Gogh would turn one out in an hour or so. He would attack the canvas, painting with a fury, then be done, very rarely going back to correct or edit. It’s not to say all of his paintings were done in this manner. Just many — the good ones 🙂

Why does this give me hope? Because occasionally people think I’m not doing anything, or, gasp, I am procrastinating – when really, I am (doing, not procrastinating). I’m thinking, and planning, and plotting, and then, in the moment, when it feels right, I execute. Lightning fast. Whether it’s a trigger finger on the camera, or my fingers typing furiously at the keyboard which sounds and feels like 1000 wpm. And then it’s done. Just like that. Bam! There might be a correction or two, but for the most part, I’ve captured it, whatever it is (and there’s your eBay plug for the day). And if there was a deadline there, I met it (I’ve never understood the idea of an extension).

So the book gives me hope. It makes me realize everyone has their own style, and my style just happens to be similar to one of the most famous painters of all time who was crazier than a redneck saying, “Hay guys! Watch’is!” (hmm, maybe that’s just stupidity over crazy — you can insert your own “crazier than…” statement). Just because I don’t obsess and toil over the minutia doesn’t mean I’m not giving something my all. Truth be told that planning and plotting has the minutia already embedded in my brain.