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Leaving Imprints

Starry Night, Van Gogh


It is so crazy to think about how reflective our art can be of what’s been wrapping around our minds. These might be concepts that embody what is going on in our own personal bubble or in our exterior world.

It is these concepts that sometimes cause us to have a great day, skipping all the way home with the desire to paint, ecstatic with happiness. Following to bump up your favorite 70s playlist as you begin to paint, getting lost in the rhythm, oblivious of what it’s doing to your hips. You are dancing now. Dancing as you splash the vibrant colors of red, yellow and orange onto your canvas with your bare hands. Warm. You can’t believe how alive you feel, you wish it could last forever. By the time you are done, you glance at your canvas with the biggest smile you’ve ever felt on your face. You follow to hang it up right there on the hallway so that every time you walk past it, it cheers you up.

Other times come the sad days, when everything in life is going south. Those days you walk right past that hung-up painting in the hallway, avoiding it at all costs with absolute frustration. That day was too good to be true. On those days, you find yourself mixing up the darkest shades of blue and grey as they will be a perfect representation for how you feel---hurt, angry and sad. You pay close attention to the dark clouds outside as you paint them, thinking of how they will be bringing in the rain any moment now. Finished with it you turn to bed defeated, hoping that tomorrow will bring a better day.

This is something that artists all throughout the decades have experienced as well, which we can tell just by looking at their art. I will never forget learning about the background of Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Van Gogh actually painted Starry Night during his stay at a mental institute, The Asylum of Saint-Paul de Mausole. At the time, he was in the midst of suffering from hallucinations, epileptic fits, bipolar disorder and depression. Such things left him to romanticize suicide, looking at the sky with complete yearning and admiration--wanting to so badly be a part of it. This is why we see a sky that is beaming with light, portraying to offer so much more than life itself. Within it lies a bright moon and stars that illuminate and overpower the depressing world down below. As a result, the houses get lost in the shadows, depicted in dark shades of blue black and brown.

The way that you feel is the essence of your every artwork. But it is not only our mood that plays a role. It is also the atmosphere and time that surrounds us, working to influence our perspective. A painting that I really admire is Norman Rockwell’s 1964 illustration, The Problem We All Live With. That is for its ability to grasp the tone of an environment through its composition. This illustration is of Ruby Bridges, a six-year old American girl on the way to an all-white public school as a result of the New Orleans desegregation crisis during the Civil Rights Movement. I can’t help but notice the profane words written against the wall behind this little girl as she walks past it. Or the fact that she stands out, being the only highlight of black in a setting of pure white. It is this color use, composition and detail that strikes me, as I notice the intention behind every decision. As a result, I am left sympathizing for this little girl, emotionally attached to the work of art.

This all just makes me wonder what our generation will be known for or what it will be categorized under in the future. Who knows, perhaps we will be known for our progression with technology. Can't believe we now doodle in our iPads and even iPhones. No need for a paper or pen, a painbrush or paint to come out with unbelievably good illustrations. I guess time will tell!


The Problem We All Live With, Norman Rockwell

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