“I was only interrupted by my work on a new painting representing the exterior of a night café. On the terrace there are small figures of people drinking. An immense yellow lantern illuminates the terrace, the facade, the side walk and even casts light on the paving stones of the road which take a pinkish violet tone. The gables of the houses, like a fading road below a blue sky studded with stars, are dark blue or violet with a green tree. Here you have a night painting without black, with nothing but beautiful blue and violet and green and in this surrounding the illuminated area colours itself sulfur pale yellow and citron green. It amuses me enormously to paint the night right on the spot. Normally, one draws and paints the painting during the daytime after the sketch. But I like to paint the thing immediately. It is true that in the darkness I can take a blue for a green, a blue lilac for a pink lilac, since it is hard to distinguish the quality of the tone. But it is the only way to get away from our conventional night with poor pale whitish light, while even a simple candle already provides us with the richest of yellows and oranges.”
– Vincent van Gogh (in his enthusiastic letter sent to his sister upon completion of this masterpiece, Cafe Terrace at Night).
Precursor: Suddenly you arise in a new bed. You were in a different one 24 hours ago, the larger one that you (and your wonderful cat, Big Brown) have slept in for years. But now your living space is a meager 12 by 12 ft. room, and you’re stuck here; you’re alone… alone to sit around and prepare your own food, make your own bed, wash your own clothes, etc. This—of course—isn’t a bad reality or anything, but will inevitably make you ponder your life and its rapid, frequent change.
Another Precursor: Why did I put Cafe Terrace at Night in this post? This painting, my all-time favorite work of art, symbolizes my current season in life. It doesn’t do what modern photography does; it doesn’t capture visual aesthetic reality, but instead emphasizes the vibrancy and color in life and how perspective, change of scenery, and open mindsets can change the way you see yourself and the world in which you live. This altered visuality, yet strong personality, is what I love about the works of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. Vincent van Gogh, who was, frankly, troubled and senile, made life beautiful on canvas in a way that can’t be codified on paper or explained in some benign dissertation. And if that isn’t enough, keep in mind that his penchant for color and self-expression was laughed at by not only society but also even art critics. He, Monet, Manet, Renoir, Cezanne, Degas, Gaugin- critics laughed at these guys (only then, of course—not now) for their huge, textured strokes and vehemently made it known that these guys couldn’t draw or paint for their lives. They were so stuck in their own preconceptions and couldn’t get past the avant-garde idea that art can express emotions, political ideas, social frustrations and passions—rather than mere appreciation for royalty and mythical antiquity. Vincent was a unique genius of art and has, as other great artists have, substantiated the beauty of things and ideas that we cannot otherwise convey with material items. Plus he shared himself with billions and billions of people to come—now I’m here to “burn his ears” (yes, pun intended).
I have been in the weirdest mindset for approximately 8 days now. How has this new season been for me? Incredible, quite awe-inspiring. I feel as though I’m starting a brand new life right now, like I’ve immolated my old physical self and then reincarnated its remaining ashes—intrinsic characteristics and personality—into an original masterpiece, one which has no stupid regrets nor frustrating past times nor lame (tiresomely mentioned) social constructs to be enslaved to. College—let me tell you, high schoolers—is thousands of times better than high school. It is here that I have quickly learned to live my life however I want to, albeit I’d prefer slightly less disgusting communal housing (old all-male dorms in a nutshell). Furthermore, there is, quite simply, a lot more fun stuff to do in college—nothing can summarize how entertaining all the dynamics of college are, so I’ll just keep this sentence as vague as possible. Even the dynamic of university curriculum is vastly better than anything I’ve previously dealt with; I love not being jailed in eight hour blocks of classroom time and I cherish being able to take courses like art history and philosophy (rather than chemistry, health- subjects in which I wouldn’t immerse myself out of pure, unadulterated interest). Needless to say, the adjustment to college, although sensational, takes a lot of work.
I have learned to appreciate everything my mom did for me, on a sincerely inexplicable level. Everybody knows the infamous laundry ordeal is hard to adapt to (plus I personally need separate washes for my nice clothes and for my soccer jerseys), but I find it hard to do even the small things now. For example, it only takes a packet and some water to make oatmeal, which sounds easy, but I would need clean bowls to put the oatmeal in and that would, in turn, require somebody constantly washing the bowls and making sure the pantry is stocked with things like, once again, oatmeal packets, plus the (insert ludicrously high quantity) junk food items, e.g. Nacho Cheese Doritos and Skittles, I require. As for making my bed, I thought I would be able to make it provided that I take three or four minutes every day to put all the sheets on properly, but my bed is still extremely messy and, at this point, there’s no changing that. I suppose I now need to wash my towels and sheets too. All of this stuff is annoying right now, but it reminds me that I’m slowly morphing into an independent adult, so I actually really love this annoying stuff. It’s just weird how different my life is today than it was 10 days ago and, even weirder, that there are 7.3 billion people out there who live their own plethoras of seasonally changing lives. Any time I think life is becoming dull, I’ll think about that.
Granted, this post is hardly anything special or intuitive and it certainly doesn’t have extravagant ambitions, but I just wanted to share with you that life, looking back on all of its forms and nuances we’ve encountered, is never too harsh and NEVER too bad to terminate. This change of scenery I’ve gone through has allowed me to appreciate all the stuff other people did for me in my past, but of course has also shown me more depth and greatness than I ever knew. As I implied in my last post, I’ve been wanting to expand my horizons; having just done that, I’m so glad that I moved to Waco for college and am now having the time of my life. Now then, it’s a Friday night, I might go play some volleyball and then visit the late night club fair at the and then stop by Common Grounds (famous coffee shop on Baylor’s campus) and then check out a few fraternity parties and then get a few Honey Butter Chicken Biscuits at Whataburger and then jam to some Local Natives in my room and then fall sleep. Tomorrow morning, I’ll wake up and put on the Baylor men’s soccer uniform for a scrimmage—I have no idea what the rest of the day will entail, but I’m happy to be able to exercise my free will and enjoy myself however I want. If you have the liberty to exercise this too, cherish it and be happy about the changing seasons and nuances of life.
Feel free to share or comment on this. Feedback is always great. Anyway, talk to you all soon!