Letter 08/01/1882 - by Vincent van Gogh

Letter 08/01/1882 - by Vincent van Gogh
Courtesy of www.VincentVanGogh.org

I now have three painted studies. One is of a row of pollard willows in the meadow (behind the Geest bridge), then a study of the nearby cinder track, and today I was in the vegetable gardens in the Laan van Meerdervoort again, and there found a potato field by a canal. A man in a blue jacket and a woman were busy lifting potatoes, and I included those figures.

The field was of white, sandy soil, partly turned, partly still covered in rows of dried stems, with green weeds between them. In the distance, dark green and a few roofs.

I took great pleasure in making this last study. 1 have to tell you that painting does not seem as foreign to me as you might think. Quite the reverse, it appeals to me very much because it is a powerful means of expression. And at the same time you can express tenderness by introducing a soft green in the middle of the rugged terrain.

These studies are of medium size, a little larger than the lid of an ordinary artist's box, because I don't work in the lid, but fix the paper for the study with drawing pins to a frame on which canvas is stretched, which is easily carried by hand.

That the studies will have to become better stands to reason, and also that there is certainly still something lacking, but I believe that you would in these first efforts already see that there is something there from the world outside, something that proves that I have a feeling for nature and that there is a painter's heart in me. I add a little scribble of the Laan van Meerdervoort. Those vegetable gardens there have a kind of old-Dutch cachet that appeals to me.

I marched to the beach this morning and have just come back from it with a fairly large painted study of sand, sea, and sky; a few fishing smacks; and two men on the beach. There is still some dune sand in it, and I assure you that this will not be the last one. I thought you might be pleased to hear that I have tackled this.

These scribbles have been made in a tearing hurry, as you can see. Now that things are going more smoothly, I will try to strike while the iron is hot and carry on a little with painting.