I have lived by the ocean my whole life, but something about this one was different. It wasn’t just the glassy blue I was used to, it was made up with an assortment of different colors as the waves crashed into the picture frame. Golden brown, green and white created the chaotic waves and the rough sea as sailboats chopped through the water out into the distance. I could almost feel the breeze on my skin and hear the waves as I stood and admired the haphazard brush strokes, or at least what looked like haphazard brush strokes.
“That one’s really nice.” Melody had come up behind me, and I hadn’t even noticed.
“Yeah, reminds me of home. I have never thought to think of the ocean like that.”
“With all these colors. You always think the ocean is blue, but when you look at this, ” I gestured to the painting, “you realize how crazy you were to think it was just blue.”
“I never realized how much I liked Van Gogh until we came here.”
“I honestly think he is now my favorite painter.” Before I stepped into the Van Gogh Museum, I knew nothing about Vincent Van Gogh. The only thing I really knew was that he had cut his ear off and gave it to someone. After hearing a story like that, I just assumed he was another crazy artist, and I didn’t feel the need to learn any more about him.
But he wasn’t just another crazy artist. As I walked through the halls of the museum and I saw and read more about him, and I realized he was much more than crazy. He was a genius. A colorful, overemotional genius who never got to see the impact he had on the world.
It was his experimentations with color that were my favorites. He painted thousands of landscapes, mixing colors and brushstrokes to create something real and something breathtaking. I was fascinated with how lines, dots, and dashes of different colors came together to create a picture of a pot of sunflowers or a starry sky.
But my favorite painting of his by far was that ocean scene. I could just imagine him sitting on the beach with his easel and paints in front of him watching the waves crash on the shore. To look at that painting was to look through his eyes and see what he saw and that amazes me. He looked at the world so differently than I did. He saw so much beauty in it.
In the end, we stayed in that museum for over three hours. Melody found me again at the seascape painting and told me it was time to go. So I took one last look at that ocean and let it sink into my memory, so when I get back to my beach, I can remember that the ocean isn’t just blue. It is so much more than blue.