Creative Inspiration: Vincent van Gogh

It’s all too easy to  fall into a creative slump, and even easier to allow yourself to stay there, particularly with all the distractions of the modern world. While van Gogh never had to resist the siren call of RuPaul’s Drag Race, he did know a thing or two about discipline, focus and inspiration.

Creative Inspiration: Vincent van Gogh distils the creative genius and artistic determination of Vincent van Gogh into illuminating quotes and sketches, perfect as an artistic pick-me-up. Don’t wait around for your muse to visit – go searching for beauty, put in some time and ‘break the spell of “you can’t”‘.


Why Create

“I’m an artist… those words naturally imply always seeking without ever fully finding. It’s the exact opposite of saying, ‘I know it already, I’ve already found it.’ To the best of my knowledge, those words mean, ‘I seek, I pursue, my heart is in it.’”

Daily Work

“Through working hard, old chap, I hope to make something good one day. I haven’t got it yet, but I’m hunting it and fighting for it, I want something serious, something fresh – something with soul in it! Onward, onward.”


“Many painters are afraid of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas IS AFRAID of the truly passionate painter who dares – and who has once broken the spell of ‘you can’t’.”

“Last year I painted almost nothing but flowers to accustom myself to a colour other than grey, that’s to say pink, soft or bright green, light blue, violet, yellow, orange, fine red. And when I painted landscape in Asnières this summer I saw more colour in it than before.”

“Do you get up early? I do regularly, it’s good to make a habit of it. It’s precious and already very dear to me, that early morning twilight.” 


On Nature

“If one truly loves nature one finds beauty everywhere.”

“Question: was everyone also thoughtful as a child? Question: did everyone who saw them – heath, grassland, fields, woods – also love them, and the snow and the rain and the storm?”

On Humanity

“I’d rather paint people’s eyes than cathedrals, for there’s something in the eyes that isn’t in the cathedral – although it’s solemn and although it’s impressive – to my mind the soul of a person… is more interesting.”


“If something in you yourself says, ‘you aren’t a painter’ – IT’S THEN THAT YOU SHOULD PAINT.”

Signs of Progress

“Studies that fail in some respects turn out one day to have a purpose and to be of use for some new composition after all.”



“It’s really terrible that one sometimes has to search for a year for something that could be explained in a fortnight by someone who is further along. It comes down to personal effort, but the road is easier or harder depending on whether one is alone or not.”


“A person who doesn’t feel small – who doesn’t realise that he’s a speck – what a fundamental mistake he makes.”

“I believe so strongly in your artistic ability that to me you’ll be an artist as soon as you pick up a brush or a piece of chalk, and, clumsily or not clumsily, make something.”


We believe in you, Vince believes in you – what are you waiting for? 

For a peek at the book itself, take a look at our preview of Creative Inspiration: Vincent van Gogh below:

Creative Inspiration: Vincent van Gogh is published on the 25th May by September Publishing (9781910463574, p/b, 192pp, £10.99)

Post by Clare

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