Many painters are afraid in front of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the real, passionate painter who dares and who has broken the spell of you can’t’ once and for all.
Life itself, too, is forever turning an infinitely vacant, dispiriting blank side towards man on which nothing appears, any more than it does on a blank canvas.
But no matter how vacant and vain, how dead life may appear to be, the man of faith, of energy, of warmth, who knows something, will not be put off so easily.
He wades in and does something and stays with it, in short, he violates, “defiles” — they say.
Let them talk, those cold theologians.
From Vincent van Gogh’s Letter to Theo (1884)