Living in Colour

Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh

It is New Year’s Eve. Everywhere are posts about the year in review or hopes for the coming one. It’s sort of obligatory.  A mini rite of passage as the old year fades and the new comes to birth. So instead of jumping on that particular bandwagon today, I decided to write about painting. A voice from the past, words from the present and a hope for the future.

For myself, I have always scribbled and drawn. One of my earliest memories is of a very childish picture of Pearl Bailey in Carmen Jones… chalk on small blackboard in Grandad’s parlour. Of course, the film was in black and white on our TV back then, but the colours were vivid on the blackboard… I remember I drew the dress blue. It had felt blue.

I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.~ Vincent Van Gogh

I lack skill in painting, being self-taught and coming to it late. But that’s ok. It frustrates me when I cannot capture the vision in my dream with the accuracy I would like, but it really doesn’t matter…

If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. ~ Vincent Van Gogh

Van Gogh is a hero of mine in many ways. There is an absoluteness and honesty in his work that I never understood until these past few years. I always saw the energy. You don’t see it in reproductions of his paintings, not really, but stand a foot away and see how his hands and fingers have dragged the paint, see the brushwork and urgency in the strokes… and the vibrancy of the painting jumps out and grabs you by the heart. Look at many of his canvases and you can hear people saying ‘a child could have painted that.’ In some ways, I think, a child did.

Wheat field with crows by Vincent Van Gogh

Wheat field with crows by Vincent Van Gogh

Children have a clarity of vision, an uncompromising inner honesty in their view of the world. Life is vivid and multi-coloured to their eyes. There is nothing mediocre, everything holds the possibility of magic and adventure. Children have a passion for life we often lose as we move into adulthood. They know how to dream.

For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream. ~ Vincent Van Gogh

The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh


Vincent never lost that childlike passion. Read his words and his paintings and you see that. More importantly, you feel it. For a moment outside of time you can touch the fire in his soul as he stood beneath the stars or the blazing sun. That fire is in and around us if we care to look. Too often we forget…

One may have a blazing hearth in one’s soul and yet no one ever came to sit by it. Passers-by see only a wisp of smoke from the chimney and continue on their way. ~Vincent Van Gogh

Or perhaps we are afraid. Afraid to be different from the crowd, to draw attention to ourselves, to actually see with our whole Self and not through the grey lens of normality. But somewhere, buried beneath the layers of personality and social graces, I think we all share the same yearning:

I wish they would only take me as I am. ~ Vincent Van Gogh

We try hard to be what we feel we should be, often not daring to chase the dream of what we could be, or constrained by an accumulation of ‘circumstance’ we let go of the dreams. We stub our toes on the rocks of life and the visions of possibility fade into the background. Necessity and compromise drown the hopes we had and each crossroads can lead us further from the goal that may have glowed like a beacon in the soul… but by keeping that vision vividly in mind we can, by moving forward, find another road towards it.

Even the knowledge of my own fallibility cannot keep me from making mistakes. Only when I fall do I get up again. ~ Vincent Van Gogh

It doesn’t take a lot, sometimes to reignite the fire in the soul. I had always dreamed of painting like my grandfather. But then there was dance until that future was lost to injury. Then life, and children… and then a friend gave me some paints….and I had time on my hands… and emotion in bucketloads as my husband’s last illness coloured our lives. So I painted. And found that flame again.

Great things are done by a series of small things brought together. ~ Vincent Van Gogh

Mulberry tree by Vincent Van Gogh

Mulberry tree by Vincent Van Gogh


Sometimes there is a defining instant that can open up a whole world of possibility. It may be so small you barely notice it. But if you are awake to possibility and the fire of dreams you will see it, as someone said to me the other day, like ‘the one bit of reality’ a grey landscape.  All we need, when we see these motes of reality is the courage to make them part of who we are.

One must work and dare if one really wants to live. ~ Vincent Van Gogh

So as a new year dawns, I wish for you the eyes of the child, filled with hope and magic, wonder and possibility. I wish you dreams to follow with your heart, and a heart open to experience and joy, to life and to Love.

Happy New Year.

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
This entry was posted in Life, Love and Laughter, Spirituality, The Silent Eye and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Living in Colour

  1. prewitt1970 says:

    Your clarity, insight, wisdom and truth in this post speak volumes go me. I knew house be brilliant but now I know. Lovely post, well thought, well written. My the new year bring health and happiness to you and your family.
    I’ve only “followed” for a day it two and you’ve already graced my table. I look forward to the year to come


  2. Echo says:

    Thank you, Benjamin. That is a lovely thing to read.
    Happy new year to you!


  3. Thank you for reminding me of Van Gogh, he’s always been a favorite and though I’ve read biographies I’ve never read his own writitngs. This impells me to do so. Happy New Year to you and yours.


  4. Lois says:

    Great post, I must just read it again it has so much in it.
    I’d like to wish you a very happy new year, and happy blogging in 2013!


  5. Kokowrites says:

    Reblogged this on charlesbassey's fragments and commented:
    The warmth and simplicity which Sue exudes in her writing made me consider this piece a befitting tone to begin the New Year. It is truly a year with variegated colours and opportunities and I invite you to come embrace the mosaic. Enjoy. Happy New Year.


  6. simonsundarajkeun says:

    Reblogged this on Simon Sundaraj-Keun.


  7. ajaytao2010 says:

    I Nominate you for the Liebster Blog Award. Please accept & oblige.
    Please the link below & follow instructions.


  8. Pingback: Liebster Blog Award « Ajaytao 2010

  9. Anita Lubesh says:

    That was beautiful and a great insight to an adored genus. I love writing and the best time I had was few days delving more into his world writing two poems about him and his work. He is my favourite artist and maybe we are not able to have only one, but he is close. Just recently I watched a documentary of how one researcher solved the mystery of his ear and the trauma surrounding that horrific time and incident. Such a lot was opened up to us in doing that, and those revelations are expected to change slightly a familiar story and thus the affection and admiration we have for him, or the reasons which led to all of that, with more factual representation – it was a concern that maybe what drove us to love him through his work will be altered somewhat, but I cannot see this happening.

    Again, fascinating, and I wish you well with your artistic endeavours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I don’t think anything will tarnish our love of his work or our affection for him. People make too much of a mistake to equate any artist or writer with their work, though you can learn a lot about the one through the other.Vincent’s paintings are still the most incredible I have ever had the privilege to see in person…they sing on the canvas, and move me to tears every time, leaving me as breathless in wonder as a child. No biographical details will ever change that 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Maha says:

    Loved reading this write up. A new fan of Vincent Van Gogh is born 🙂


  11. This is a brilliant post. I mean it. Beautiful and insightful writing. I became a Vincent fan when I learned how to play and sing “Starry Starry Night.“ The song capture’s Vincent’s essence and your post expresses Vincent’s spirit so eloquently. I’ve also seen his work in person at MOMA in New York. Enjoyed reading “Dear Theo as well.


    • Sue Vincent says:

      Thank you, David. That song was always a favourite of mine too. And still moves me to tears, knowing his story.
      I’ve been fortunate to see Vincent’s work in London and Paris… and I always end up with a glad smile on my face and eyes too full to see clearly. That is his gift.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. memadtwo says:

    Sue was so wrong about her lack of skill in painting, but so right, always, in her insights. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  13. restlessjo says:

    A wonderful read, Stuart. Thank you and happy new year!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I wish you had mentioned at the beginning that you were reblogging Sue’s post. It really threw me for a haunting loop. I am in no way being critical to you or anything about this, just saying that I couldn’t understand how she was posting something today. ❤️ A lot of people miss her. It is nice to see her writing again.

    Liked by 1 person

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