Vincent

One of the surprise consequences of spending time in Arles with Mike, my travelling companion, was that I was forced to think more about how I interpret the world visually. He is what's commonly referred to as colour blind and so sees things differently to most people. Being British we happily walked around in the scorching midday sun when colours are rich and saturated, Mike would sometimes ask me to describe how I saw a colour. In return he would explain what he saw. I think I'm observant but these conversations challenged me to look with fresh eyes and find new words to articulate shades or meeting points between hues.

It is impossible to walk far in Arles without seeing reference to Vincent Van Gogh who spent a couple of years in the city at the pinnacle of his creativity. Colour is obviously central to his painting and interestingly there have been studies in recent years that suggest Van Gogh had colour blindness or Colour Vision Deficiency. So he was potentially painting merely what he saw rather than experimenting with technique. 
It seems ironic that we describe difference as 'blindness' or 'deficient' when the works he made are so significant and valued.










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