Lawren Harris on Creativity and Despair

“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change” — Mary Shelley Fewer things are harder than to change one’s self, one’s mind. Neuroscientists would blame it on the loss of brain plasticity that comes with aging. Behaviorists blame the habits themselves, ingrained in our everyday actions and thought patterns….

Emily Carr – Church in Yuquot Village (1929)

She couldn’t believe it.  In fact, she could barely lift up her eyes to look at the thing! There it was, her painting, hanging in the dining room of one of Canada’s most talented artists, a man whom she greatly admired. People were gathered all around it, gasping with delight — quite an unusual reaction…

Lin Fengmian’s Wild Geese

“You do not have to be good. / You do not have to walk on your knees / for a hundred miles through the desert repenting”, is how Mary Oliver starts off Wild Geese, a short, heart-warming poem about coming home to oneself, the same way wild geese return to their nesting grounds after long…

Tomás Sánchez – Man Crucified in a Dump (1992)

He is arguably Cuba’s most prolific contemporary painter, enchanting his fans with his idealized depictions of luxuriant vegetation, imbued with a sense of meditation and perfect stillness. Just like Russian realist artist Ivan Shishkin, Tomás Sánchez searches for spirituality in his nature-inspired artworks, with the distinction that he often recreates landscapes from his own memory…

Ivan Shishkin – Rain in an Oak Forest (1891)

Given the monikers “Forest Tsar”, “Old Pine Tree” and “Lonely Oak” by his contemporaries, Ivan Shishkin enchanted everyone with his meticulous eye for detail and with his extraordinary skill in grasping the beauty and simplicity of nature. His highly realistic landscapes – usually rendering forests – belong to a larger movement at the time, called…

Vincent van Gogh – Green Wheat Fields, Auvers (1890)

After having a severe nervous breakdown during which he cuts his own ear and being institutionalized in an asylum for a year, Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh moves to northern France, to Auvers-sur-Oise, to start afresh. He was hoping that his mental frailty was a consequence of the strong impressions and strident colors of Arles…