Saturday, 20 February 2010

Van Gogh - The Masterpiece

I could not lean away and so I leaned in. I could not give up and so I gave in. I could not stop believing and so I held on. These are the thoughts that crossed my mind as I walked through the Vincent van Gogh exhibition at the Royal Academy. The man had every adversity cross his path and yet he did not let go of his will to live, his faith in love and his belief in people. More than once, he loved with abandon. Every time he reached a dead end he carved a new path. At every opportunity he embraced the good in people and kept learning. He died at the young age of 37, having struggled with life and suffered to death. Yet his paintings are not melancholic. His choice of colours is vibrant. His work makes his words come alive - "For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream."

Why do adults stop believing in dreams? Why is it that we stop looking at the good and highlighting the greys of life? With increasing experience, cynicism and scepticism take precedence over embracing the hope of dreams bursting alive. Every step is taken with abundant caution and every possibility scrutinised to generate every probable negative outcome. The helpless possibility of fireworks lighting our lives is given minimal consideration, if any at all; and so that which could appear in the forefront just withers in the background. The colours recede and the greys abound.

But does it have to be so? Or in van Gogh's words - do we have to wait to the end to grow tired of cynicism and scepticism to be able to live musically! I don't believe so. Life is short. To enrich and beautify this incredible journey we need to believe in ourselves and take a leap of faith - try to embrace love, acknowledge the goodness of other people's hearts and trust that all good things in life are ours to take. All we need to do is to be open, sincere and accepting. If we interpret life with preconceived notions the colours in store will never tumble out, just like a rainbow will never be formed if the travelling light never bends while passing through the mist.

Van Gogh left a wealth of paintings to admire but his life was the masterpiece. It was an honest attempt spent in the quest of learning and love. Because he wanted to experience life he let life happen to him. He did not close himself to any experience or possibility and maintained, "In spite of everything I shall rise again: I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing." And so will I, I will go on with my drawing. It can only get better.

No comments: