|Courtesy of www.VincentVanGogh.org|
My dear Theo,
It matters greatly to me that you shouldn't get the idea that I'm in a dejected or abnormal mood. That's why I wrote to you already about work in my last letter, and since I have a few more things to ask in that connection I haven't waited long before writing again.
By the time you come I'll do my best to have several watercolours done in different ways ready for you to see, then we can discuss which seems best to you.
So I'll work regularly on this every day, and continue to do so until you come.
I now have 3 of Scheveningen - again the Fish-drying barn you know - drawn in as much detail - only now there's colour as well. As you well know, Theo, it isn't harder to work in colour than in black and white, the opposite perhaps, but as far as I can see 3/4 comes down to the original sketch, and almost the whole watercolour depends on its quality.
It isn't enough to give an approximation, and my aim has been and still is to make it more intense. I believe that's already evident in the black-and-white fish-drying barns, because there you can follow everything and see how it all fits together, and look, I think this is why I now work much more fluently in watercolour, because for such a long time I did my best to draw more correctly.
Tersteeg said that what I was doing was a waste of time; soon you'll see that I've saved a great deal of time.
I already feel that, and you'll see it for yourself when you come.
This evening I went from one shop to another searching for thick Ingres, but in vain. They have the thin, but the dense or double is nowhere to be found. At the time I bought all that Stam had left, and it was wonderfully mature. Before you come, oh do your best to find some once more. And if you can't get any, try asking for 'papier de la forme'. That is with a yellowish tint - stiff - and you can use wash on it. I believe it's also much cheaper than Harding or Whatman, so that in the end there's quite a saving.
When you come I know of a few lovely paths through the meadows where it's so quiet and peaceful that you'll be delighted. I've discovered old and new labourer's cottages there, and other houses that are distinctive, with small gardens lining the banks of the ditch - really charming. I'm going to draw there early tomorrow morning. It's a path through the meadows from Schenkweg to Enthoven's factory or Het Zieke.3 I saw a dead pollard willow there, just the thing for Barye, for example. It hung over a pond with reeds, all alone and melancholy, and its bark was scaled and mossy, as it were, and spotted and marbled in various tones - something like the skin of a snake, greenish, yellowish, mostly dull black. With white flaking spots and stumpy branches. I'm going to attack it tomorrow morning. I've also done a bleaching ground at Scheveningen, on the spot in one go, entirely in wash almost without preparation, on a very coars.