Letter 08/03/1882 - by Vincent van Gogh

Letter 08/03/1882 - by Vincent van Gogh
Courtesy of www.VincentVanGogh.org

It stands to reason that many people are unable to carry on because of expenses, and I cannot express how grateful I am that I can work regularly. To catch up on the time I lost by starting later than others, I will have to try twice as hard, but even with the best will in the world I would have to stop if I did not have you.

I will tell you what kind of things I have bought.

First, a large moist-color box for twelve tubes of watercolor, with a double-hinged lid, which serves as a palette when open and at the same time has space for some six brushes. That is a valuable piece of equipment for working outside, and is in fact absolutely essential. However, it is very expensive, and in my mind I had put it off to some later date and meanwhile worked with loose bits on saucers, which are difficult to take with me, particularly when I have other luggage. So that is a wonderful thing, which now that I have got it will last a long time. At the same time I have bought a stock of watercolor paints and replaced and supplemented my brushes. And I now have everything I absolutely need for actual oil painting. And also paint in stock, large tubes (which are much cheaper than small ones), but as you will understand, for both watercolor and oil paints I have limited myself to simple colors: ochre (red-, yellow-, brown-), cobalt and Prussian blue, Naples yellow, sienna, black and white, supplemented with some carmine, sepia, vermilion, ultramarine, and gamboge in smaller tubes. But I refrained from buying colors I can mix myself. This is, I believe, a practical palette with sound colors. Ultramarine, carmine, or other colors can be added if it is absolutely necessary.

I shall start with small things, but I do hope that this summer I can still practice with charcoal for larger sketches, with a view to painting them later in a rather larger size.

What we saw together in Scheveningen - sand, sea, and sky - is something I would most certainly hope to express sometime during my lifetime.