Portrait of Van Gogh as a Young Man

I did this pencil portrait from a photo of Van Gogh that was hanging in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.  It’s a bit hard to believe he was ever this healthy in appearance.  His self portraits reveal his struggle for mental health and artistic achievement.  


Van Gogh as a Young Man

3 thoughts on “Portrait of Van Gogh as a Young Man”

  1. Poor, talented and tormented soul…as we all are. Struggling with sanity and adjusting to societal norms is something we all have to contend with in one form or another. Nobody said life was an easy ride. Living with Aspergers’ has always been a never-ending struggle and, unlike manic-depression, schizophrenia and others, it’s something that can’t be treated through medications. Thankfully, I’ve been able to manage my issues through therapy and a large abundance of support through family and friends since childhood and continue to do so even now. Whenever I see Van Gogh’s work, I seem to empathize with him. Another artist that comes to mind is Pablo Picasso, who also struggled with depression following the sudden death of a close friend. He said his blue period took away his inspiration to paint and lack of purpose along with a will to live. After spending quite a while in a sanitarium, he was encouraged to express himself through painting. He used the walls as canvas and was told to paint the way he felt at that moment. Slowly his spark began to grow as he did more and more paintings. When someone observed his works, someone scoffed at him, “You paint like a 5 year old! They’ll never sell!” He smiled and said, “Who said I wanted to sell these? I’m just getting my groove back!” Just then it had hit me also. When I turned 50, I had a bit of an anxiety spell about turning 50 because I had always looked, acted and felt younger than my actual age. Turning 50 made me feel as I were expected to act my age and it drove me f***ing nuts! I then called some of my family and friends in tears due to my anxiety and the most comforting words I heard was, “Turning 50 is just a number and little else…so what’s the fuss? Just act the way you feel! If you feel like a teenager, act like a teenager and if it offends somebody else, screw ’em! They don’t know how to live anyway!” So, in short, I’d like to say I’m proud to say when somebody asks for my age, I might counter them with, “On the inside or the outside? On the outside, I may be in my 50s but inside I feel like a ‘recycled teenager’ and will remain that way!”

    • So glad you like my stuff! Enjoyed reading your comments. I became somewhat familiar with Aspergers as a result of the stresses arising from my wife’s family. Likewise he has benefited from a supportive family. We all have not found it sometimes challenging to know how to deal with. It helped to learn about Aspergers. I am happy to hear you have benefited from counseling and family support. Vincent struggled with mental health issues as we all know. It’s not out of sympathy that I am a fan but knowing about his life adds some depth to how we see his art, that swirling paint perhaps reflecting the dizzying emotions he could not entirely control. As for age, well I can not say I enjoy looking older (I have several self portraits on my website BTW) I do enjoy feeling great! Lucky me. Also BTW I did a water color painting of the church Vincent painted in Auvers sur Oise (L’eglise sur Auvers sur Oise) http://www.garyjkirkpatrick.com/water-color-painting-of-the-church-at-auber-sur-oise-updated/

  2. I dig your drawing, btw. Reminds me of a young actor James Olson with those piercing hazel eyes and wavy dirty blond hair, something I found quite attractive in him while watching him on TV in a spectrum of roles, displaying a plethora of emotions like a skilled artist using a palette with the roles he played. John Saxon too comes to mind as well. I was moved to tears upon seeing Saxon in the film ‘God’s Ears’ and the way he played a surrogate father to a young man who was struggling with autism and helping making his dreams realized of having a moment of fame in the boxing ring. I’m in a long-term relationship with a man who’s twice my age, but has also helped me live out a few dreams of fantasies of my own over the years. I thank God everyday for our relationship as we’ve engaged in numerous activities together as a couple. I hope one day to meet these famous celebrities and thank them for being an inspiration to me in coping with my Aspergers’….


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