Seeing the Unseen.

What happens when you see a beauty in the world,

the world doesn’t see in itself?

The life and art of Vincent Van Gogh comes to mind. I was blessed to see this master, face to face, through his art. And for one afternoon I saw the world through his eyes. As a boy I had prints of Van Gogh hanging in my room. Then there was the song “Vincent” by Don Mclean. I knew he cut off his ear, and killed himself. When I thought Van Gogh, I thought tortured soul.

I never went much deeper than this, but to stand in front of the canvas and the master strokes that flowed from his heart, allowed me to see the man inside the self-portraits.

This was a deeply spiritual and loving soul.

His father was a preacher but these words, and words themselves seemed a betrayal of the simple poetry and grace that he saw in nature and people. He decided to make his art his sermon. He saw the beauty in life with all its scars and hardships. His letters reflected a deep love of family and friends. You could feel his pain in trying to match this inner warmth with the cold reality of a society not ready for intimacy beyond the surface level of manners and masks.

What impressed me the most and I mean literally “impressed” me, was the power in his brush strokes. Each stroke is the full expression of what was churning within his skin. They are alive, they jump out at you, as though he didn’t want to leave this world without showing you what was alive inside his soul. More than any artist I have seen, I felt as if he were present and reaching through time, to touch my heart with his. I walked in with an image of the man, I walked out seeing the man behind the image.

“Now I understand,

what you tried to say to me.

How you suffered for your sanity.

How you tried to set them free.”

“I could of told you Vincent,

that this world was never made

for one as beautiful as you.”

To the day when the world sees the beauty in itself,

that Vincent Van Gogh saw within it.

-Si Gong


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