One of my favourite paintings is Van Gogh’s Starry Night Over the Rhône (1888).
Blue and yellow. That’s all it is.
Then there’s the sky, the vast expanse of azure and cerulean and aquamarine, broken up by the brightest of stars and the faintest of stars. I’m drawn to the line of rooftops, to a church, to houses and civic buildings lining the banks, a town simultaneously sustained by and protecting from the river.
I follow the knee of the river and starlight gives way to gaslight, drenching the water and illuminating its sparkling surface, and while the reach of the latter overpowers the former, yet I keep getting pulled away back to the stars.
Only after the sky has drawn me in and drowned me in its simple complexity does it reveal the lovers, escaping the town for their starlight stroll by the shore. I see them talking of their day and enjoying the minutiae of life surrounded by the expanse of the world, idling past the sailing boats abandoned for the night, waiting for the new dawn.
The more I look at it, the more I see. The whole and its parts dance back and forth and reveal something new with each ebb and flow.
One of my favourite occupations is teaching.