Below are sketches of Vincent Van Gogh, which he included in his letters to his brother, Theo.
Orchard in blossom with two figures: spring To Theo van Gogh. The Hague, Sunday, 8/10/1882
Just to complete the seasons, I’m sending a scratch of spring and one of autumn with it, which I thought of while making the first. How beautiful it is outdoors — I’m doing my best to capture autumnal effects. I’m writing to you in great haste, I assure you that there’s a lot involved in compositions with figures, and I’m very busy. It’s like weaving: you have to give it all your attention to keep the threads apart; you must control and keep an eye on several things at once.
Café Au Charbonnage To Theo van Gogh. Laken, 13 – 15 - 16 November 1878
That little drawing, ‘The Au charbonnage café’ is really nothing special, but the reason I couldn’t help making it is because one sees so many coalmen, and they really are a remarkable people. This little house is not far from Trekweg, it’s actually a simple inn right next to the big workplace where the workers come in their free time to eat their bread and drink a glass of beer.
Back during my time in England I applied for a position as an evangelist among the coal-miners, but they brushed my request aside and said I had to be at least 25 years old. You surely know that one of the root or fundamental truths, not only of the gospel but of the entire Bible, is ‘the light that dawns in the darkness’. From darkness to Light. Well then, who will most certainly need it, who will have an ear to hear it?
"At last I’m sending you a little croquis to give you at least an idea of the direction the work is taking. Because today I’ve gone back to it. My eyes are still tired, but anyway I had a new idea in mind, and here’s the croquis of it. No. 30 canvas once again. This time it’s simply my bedroom, but the colour has to do the job here, and through its being simplified by giving a grander style to things, to be suggestive here of rest or of sleep in general.
In short, looking at the painting should rest the mind, or rather, the imagination.
The walls are of a pale violet. The floor — is of red tiles.
The bedstead and the chairs are fresh butter yellow.
The sheet and the pillows very bright lemon green.
The bedspread scarlet red.
The window green.
The dressing table orange, the basin blue.
The doors lilac.
And that’s all — nothing in this bedroom, with its shutters closed.
The solidity of the furniture should also now express unshakeable repose.
Portraits on the wall, and a mirror and a hand-towel and some clothes.
The frame — as there’s no white in the painting — will be white.
This to take my revenge for the enforced rest that I was obliged to take.
I’ll work on it again all day tomorrow, but you can see how simple the idea is. The shadows and cast shadows are removed; it’s coloured in flat, plain tints like Japanese prints."