Happy Birthday Vincent van Gogh!! Obviously one of my favorites, van Gogh was born in 1853, in Holland. Born to a pastor, at one time van Gogh also planned to go into the field, but missionary work was quite wearing on him, so he eventually turned to art. He was considered a Post-Impressionist and became immersed in the expressiveness of color. While Impressionists used color in an attempt to capture the true effects of light and atmosphere he began to use thick, pure, vibrant color to create mood, aura, and sensation in his work. His palette gradually became darker as did his mood and rather than seeking to depict harmony, van Gogh began to use color to express his own vision of reality, sometimes quite oppressive and somewhat disturbing. Van Gogh became increasingly depressed and was in and out of assisted care, funded by his brother Theo, his only friend and support. Sadly he ended his own life at the age of only 37, never realizing his own greatness. I have been fortunate enough to see several exhibits of van Gogh’s work, one in LA, when the Van Gogh Museum was being renovated and then in Amsterdam when a few years ago our family was able to visit that museum. Words are inadequate for describing the emotion conveyed through his art. Unfortunately, so are pictures (you should really be standing before it to truly experience the feeling) the one I have decided to include is one of my favorites. The Cherry Blossoms illustrate Van Gogh’s incredible ability to not only be dark and mysterious, but also able to express a quiet sensitivity, demonstrated in the delicate handling of the branches and flowers.