Hi, I’m dead. I took care of that myself. We artists are self-reliant creatures. We know what to do on rainy afternoons. We are also temperamental and needy. Can I help it if my palette is dark and melancholy? Don’t you start. I’ll teach you a lesson! Come back here!
Vincent Van Gogh’s Things To Do on a Rainy Afternoon
...all right, the chemist has given me some powder. I’m fine now. Oh it’s raining, is it? Here are some things we can do to maintain that proper feeling of malaise and misfortune that is the rightful mindset of all true artists.
A shockingly disappointing change in one’s appearance can be just the thing to induce the habit of failure. Friends’ attention will be brought to you, and then you can argue with them. Rainy afternoons offer one the splendid opportunity to indulge in such a task.
This activity may be undertaken indoors, but the effects of outdoor completion may prove vastly superior.
- Sit in chair.
- Prepare ‘Before’ self-portrait.
- Apply makeup with brushes (mirror optional—best outcomes by expert artists have been achieved without one).
- Consider surgical adjustments. Employ straight razor if needed. I am personally convinced that self-immolation can be quite charming. Bring such a gift with you when visiting a friend, especially those of the under-classes. Ensure they remember your present by admonishing them to keep it well.
- Prepare ‘After’ self-portrait for later testimonial use.
Enhancing a mood of gloom is vital to the artistic temperament. A dull, unredeeming walk through the grime and damp of the human squalor in your town is often very effective in achieving this. I admit this was easier to do in 19th Century Paris, but hey, make do with what you’ve got.
- Embrace the rain: dress inadequately and head outside. Be sure to leave your hat at home to maximize the dreariness of the experience.
- Do not pick a particular route. Do not conduct your walk with the pace of anything but a homeless person lacking any special destination.
- Stop and peer into any window which interests you. Keep a sharp eye out for potato eaters. Feel free to loiter. Enter people’s dwellings or shops should you so desire. Act natural. Paint any scenes you wish to record, no matter who you inconvenience.
- Should you be accosted by a policeman or a bum, remove the wine from your coat’s pocket and offer him some. Making friends is much easier than confrontation. Ensure a large portion is retained for your own use.
- For added variety, accost various women and ask them if they will marry you. Whether they are unaccompanied or not does not matter; the point is to try and amass the largest to-date total of utter rejections. Be prepared to run, offer wine or attack wielding straight razor if challenged.
- Return home when you have run out of wine. Immediately upon return, down several glasses of absinthe and paint self-portrait to document your experience.
Note for extended urban hikes: rainy afternoons are not conducive to clear skies. Do not expect to observe a starry night after a rainy afternoon.
Discuss Art with a Friend
On occasion it may be useful to talk about art with someone who doesn’t know a thing about it.
- A Friend
- Chairs (2)
- Straight razor
- Pick a chair to sit in. Ensure your friend has not selected the same chair, or a discussion of a very different sort may ensue.
- Begin a discussion by mentioning a specific piece of art and give a serious opinion about it.
- Allow a friend to return comment. Continue discussion until disagreement is arrived at.
- Rise and attack friend with a straight razor. Chase friend until tired. Blame whole thing on mental illness.
This can really be quite satisfying. I like to swing the chair at the friend a bit before really getting after him with the razor. Say, let's have a sit-down. Have you seen Gauguin's Yellow Christ? Bit jaundiced, I'd say. Or malarial. Whatdya say we fetch that fella some quinine? Eh?
Work in a Coal Mine, Go Down Down Down
This is a fun way to study and become more like poor folks so they will trust that you are not a richy rich guy. The most important thing is to not blow up and to make sure to yell at your real boss when he tells you to stop working in a coal mine.
- a coal mine
- some sort of elevator
- a straight razor
- Enter coal mine using some sort of elevator, make sure all the poor people who work there see that you are coming to help.
- Cause an explosion and subsequent cave in.
- Run around looking crazy with coal dust all over your face and be of no help at all to the rescue effort.
- Wait for your actual boss to come tell you to stop working in the coal mine in your free time. When he tells you this, yell at him and attack him with a straight razor.