To-Do List Before Painting Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear

Explore the brushstrokes on the print pinned to the wall.
Paint it into the background of the latest self portrait.
Don’t forget the most important thing of all –
locate the pawnbroker’s ticket for your thick winter coat.
Ask Theo for money for brushes and tubes of paint:
Prussian blue, emerald, chrome yellow and vermillion.
Gather kindling and logs – where is that blue furry hat?
Remove the grubby strip of bandage and put some clean on.

Kim M. Russell, 19th May 2021

Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear - Wikipedia

Image from Wikipedia 

My response to Poets and Storytellers United Weekly Scribblings #70: Listmania

For this week’s prompt Rommy would like us to think about lists. Our mission, if we choose to accept it, is to compose either a list poem or prose piece that incorporates the idea of a list.

During this April’s NaPoWriMo, I wrote a poem in response to a prompt to write a ‘to-do list’ of an unusual person or character. I wrote an ekphrastic one, inspired by Gentileschi’s Judith. If you want to read it, here’s a link:

I decided to something similar with van Gogh’s Self Portrait with Bandage.

21 thoughts on “To-Do List Before Painting Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear

  1. I went back and read the Judith one too. Both are very confronting subjects, brave of you to tackle. This one is rather endearing, in the ordinariness of some of his concerns. At the same time that very ordinariness, in the face of what he has done to himself, suggests all the more his mental disturbance. Poor Vincent! (And yes, that bandage does look very white and clean, doesn’t it?)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with Rosemary. The way the darker bits are woven well with ordinary thoughts is haunting. Or rather he felt those ‘ordinary’ thoughts with the same intensity to match the pain. And in that way you can really feel the ferocity in the desire to create and express himself in a way that eclipsed everything else.

    And the clear-eyed efficient voice you gave Judith in your previous poem was intense! This was the focus of a soldier, confident of their plan of attack.

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  3. I really enjoyed reading a poem of a subject that is so well-known. Your poems gives us a new glimpse into something old, something some of us might’ve thought we knew everything about. An artistic gift.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. O so very nice, Kim. Right on target, I believe you capture well in writing van Gogh’s state of mind while preserving his body on canvas. Did you ever cut a toe while cutting your tonails making it so bad that it bled and bled? Minor to cutting off an ear but on the same vein.
    Although I’m a “sow’s ear”, Vincet van Gogh is high on my ‘hero list’. In 2006 we stayed a week in St. Remy, Provence, France. We didn’t go inside but we did walk the sidewalk around the sanatorian where he admitted himself. I have photos of his olive grove there. His ear painting is now on exhibit at the London Courtauld Institute of Art near the Thames up from Big Ben. I hope you might go.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Please forgive me if I have missed returning a comment lately. I feel better today but that teeth pulling surgery was rough on me. I am still icing for swelling.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Than k you so much, Jim. When the pandemic is over, I hope to visit several museums and galleries. How wonderful to have photos of van Goghs’s olive grove!


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