Van Gogh's Lively Work Still Inspires

Updated on March 30, 2018
Seafarer Mama profile image

Seafarer Mama/Karen is an artist and loves to design, paint, glue, stitch, sculpt, and do what it takes to make her family's home beautiful.

Van Gogh's art has heart & soul


I believe that Vincent van Gogh's paintings sprang to life as he worked on them. He was an artist of many mediums, of which painting was most passionate expression. His drawings and paintings were heartfelt; they expressed the wonder and respect inherent in his relationship with the world whether the subject was human, animal, landscape, or an arrangement of objects. He was comfortable expressing both light and dark emotions and his art helped him keep his sanity as long as he could. Fortunately, his brother Theo was very kind to him and provided the money Vincent needed for his art supplies.

My Inspiration

The style and soul in Vincent's paintings have always inspired me to put my own heart and soul into the pieces I create. When I work to produce a painting on canvas, it is usually a response to seeing something that carries rich meaning for me, something that I have connected with deeply. That passionate connection informs the style and form of my painting. Here I will describe the aspects of my art that were inspired by my favorite van Gogh paintings, as a tribute to his enduring legacy. This hub is my tribute to Vincent van Gogh.

Meteor Showers on a Starry Night

Perseid meteors, August 2015
Perseid meteors, August 2015 | Source

Perseid Meteor Showers, August 2015

This year the stars have shown most brightly during the nights of peak Perseid meteor shower activity. In addition to the major constellations, stars that are smaller or father away could also be detected without the use of a telescope. The full array of star colors could be seen against the milky gasses of the galaxy.

Childlike Delight in Star-gazing

Stars have held a special enchantment for me from the time I was small. I have always loved to gaze up at the night sky, excited to recognize the patterns of specific constellations. The dark dome full of twinkling white lights glowed like angel dust over me and I have always felt safe under their watch.

Now that I am a parent, my wonder has remained intact because my daughter has kept that spark alive in me. We have a steady tradition of looking at the Perseid meteor showers every August from the back deck of our home. One summer a few years ago we camped out in the back yard in a borrowed tent, but we usually take blankets and pillows out to the deck to enjoy the flight of blazing meteors for a few hours with cups of tea close by.

Van Gogh's Starry Night

One of the feature's of van Gogh's Starry Night painting that draws my attention for long periods of time is the shape and size of the swirling stars and crescent moon in the night sky. They seem to dance over the treetops, as the meteors we watch do today. Not only that, Vincent seemed to also capture the swirling milky gases of our galaxy's spiral path among them.

Beyond the trees that line the far end of our backyard are the houses of neighbors that seem dark from where we sit. Sometimes we can hear their pet dogs, but most of the time they sit silently watching the world from among the trees that separate our property from theirs. They are like the darkened church in van Gogh's painting. The stone walls that separate the property of sleepy private houses in the painting are similar to the stone walls seen abundantly around homes in New England.

Everything about our home and the night sky during a meteor shower reminds me of my favorite van Gogh painting, so I could not resist painting my own impression of the meteors I caught sight of. The fire balls featured in the painting are a collection of meteors seen across several nights of watching the Perseid showers one August.

My Love for Sunflowers

A sunflower painted by the author of this hub in July 2017
A sunflower painted by the author of this hub in July 2017 | Source
Sunflower mural that this hub's author painted on a wall of her home in 2013.
Sunflower mural that this hub's author painted on a wall of her home in 2013. | Source

My Own Sunflower Paintings

Van Gogh captured the magnificent spirit of sunflowers in his paintings of them. He painted them with a variety of color combinations and backgrounds. He also sketched them with different drawing mediums, such as pencil and pen. Though he tried to paint them in their natural habitat, the wind blew them around so wildly that he gave up and brought handfuls of them inside to study. The only way they would stay still long enough for him to observe them was when he painted them in vases. Within that limited space, he painted bouquets of sunflowers with dark centers and petals fanned out like flaming auroras around them. He loved them so much that he painted several versions of different bouquet arrangements that reflected different positions and moods that matched his.

Birthday Sunflower

My friend Elisa brought me to a local paint-and-sip place for my birthday last year. She let me choose the day and subject, so I chose the night that featured a sunflower painting. We were the only customers there, so the instructor gave us extra attention. The process was wonderfully relaxing and exciting at the same time. At the end of the night, each of our paintings looked so different, and matched our personalities.

My Wall of Sunflowers

This wall mural was completed before the painting above it. In 2013, I bought a sunflower stencil at Michael's and decided to paint a wall full of sunflowers in my kitchen, which has a pronounced sunflower theme. The wall actually separates my kitchen area and living room and greets everyone who walks through our front door with cheer. The process of painting the mural brought me happiness, and my daughter shared in the happiness by painting a couple of the sunflowers herself.

Front Common House Garden in Late Summer

Drew a section of garden in front of our co-housing community's common house with pen in late summer, then decided to paint it in.
Drew a section of garden in front of our co-housing community's common house with pen in late summer, then decided to paint it in. | Source

Flowers in Gardens, Fields and Meadows

Last August I took a sunny afternoon to draw some flowers around my co-housing community. Then I copied the drawings to serve as coloring pages for others to enjoy filling in. Three of the copies I painted with watercolors. This pen drawing was one of them, which I painted with warm late summer colors. Clearly, I was inspired by some of van Gogh's paintings of flowers in gardens, fields and meadows around France and the Netherlands. I have postcards of many of them around my home, bought from the Boston MFA.

Van Gogh's Nature Paintings

Browsing through my giant book of van Gogh's artwork, titled Van Gogh, by William Feaver, I am drawn to his paintings of flowers in their natural habitats. This could have something to do with the lingering New England winter that has delayed the early spring planting season. Some of Vincent's masterpieces were titled Garden in Provence, 1888, Meadow with Butterflies, 1890, Field with Flowers (1888) and Irises (1889). I love to paint nature in her full regalia, too. I look forward painting the irises that grow in my own flower garden this summer.

Van Gogh inspires The Doctor!

The Hub Pages writer Gulnazahmad asked the question, "Who is your favorite painter or artist?" This hub is my answer.

© 2018 Karen A Szklany


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    • Seafarer Mama profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen A Szklany 

      2 years ago from New England

      I sure will. Happy to have made your acquaintance here at Hub Pages!

    • profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      2 years ago

      Hey, Karen -- you are entirely welcome. I loved your hub. You are a very talented writer. And yes, I am very passionate about Van Gogh, the man, the painter, and I call him The Master.

      I cannot read enough about him and how he was known to have mental "episodes" that would end up with him going through severe bouts of clinical depression making himself more than miserable.

      Karen, please keep up the great work such as this one and please keepin touch.

      Sincerely, Kenneth

    • Seafarer Mama profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen A Szklany 

      2 years ago from New England

      Thank you so much, Kenneth! Glad you enjoyed my hub so much. It's good to meet another passionate van Gogh fan, too.

      Best wishes!

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, Karen -- amazing. This is the only adjective that aptly defines this hub. Since I am an avid Van Gogh fan and one who appreciates his pains and pleasure, this hub made my night.

      Great work.

      Keep it up by the way. And keep in touch.

    • Seafarer Mama profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen A Szklany 

      2 years ago from New England

      Thank you, Dianna! I'm glad my hub highlighted something new about van Gogh for you.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      2 years ago

      I've not really reviewed his works but your article has brought out some interesting highlights. Enjoy those beautiful starry skies!

    • Seafarer Mama profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen A Szklany 

      2 years ago from New England

      ....and time spent watching the meteor showers with my daughter will be one of my most treasured memories of time we've spent together.

    • Seafarer Mama profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen A Szklany 

      2 years ago from New England

      Thank you, Peggy!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      The starry night and sunflowers are well known works of Van Gogh. It is so nice to know that it inspired your own artwork and is doing so with your child as well. Looking up at the sky from your own backyard and being able to share that experience with your daughter is very special.

    • Seafarer Mama profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen A Szklany 

      2 years ago from New England

      Thank you, Eric. Some people may like other artists better than van Gogh, but he's my personal favorite and I decided to dedicate a hub to him. So tickled that I was also able to find a clip of the best scene in Dr. Who's "Vincent and the Doctor" segment.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Surely do like your work. Do some people not like Van Gogh?

    • Seafarer Mama profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen A Szklany 

      2 years ago from New England

      Thank you, John!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      A delightful hub, Karen. I love Van Gogh's artwork and his story. I have prints of his sunflowers and irises on my living room wall. Well done with your own Van Gogh inspired artwork as well.


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