Letter 09/01/1881 - by Vincent van Gogh

My dear Theo,

Though it is only a short time since I wrote to you, I have something more to tell you now.

For there has been a change in my drawings, both in the way I set about them and in the result.

Also, as a consequence of some of the things Mauve told me, I have started to work with live models again. Luckily I have been able to get several people to sit here for me, including Piet Kaufman, the labourer.

Careful study and the constant & repeated copying of Bargue's Exercices au fusain have given me a better insight into figuredrawing. I have learned to measure and to see and to look for the broad outlines, so that, thank God, what seemed utterly impossible to me before is gradually becoming possible now. I have drawn a man with a spade, that is 'un becheur', times over in a variety of poses, a sower twice, and a girl with a broom twice. Then a woman in a white cap peeling potatoes & a shepherd leaning on his crook and finally an old, sick peasant sitting on a chair by the hearth with his head in his hands and his elbows on his knees.