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Dear Father,
I have seen big painting here. When I had looked at all the paintings by all the masters I had known I could not help saying to myself all the time, it's very pretty but it's not all yet. It ought to be better, but now I have seen what I always thought ought to have been done and what did not seem to me impossible. Oh what a satisfaction it gave me to see the good Spanish work so good so strong so reasonable so free from every affectation. It stands out like nature itself... I have seen the big work every day and I will never forget it. It has given me more courage than anything else ever could.
December 2, 1869
Dear Father,
In the streets the trees are all loaded down with oranges. I can see from my window long rows of green for the hotel is on sort of a square. Some limbs are almost bowed down to the ground with them... I am painting all morning till three... I am very well and it seems to me when I breathe the dry warm air and look at the bright sun, that I never was so strong and I wonder if I can ever be sick or weak again... I have started the most difficult kind of a picture, making studies in the sunlight. The proprietor of the hotel gave us permission to work up on top of the roof where we can study right in the sun. Something unforeseen may occur and my pictures may be failures, these first ones. I cannot make a picture fast yet. I want experience in my calculations. Sometimes it takes me longer to do a thing than I thought it would and that interferes with something ahead and I have a good many botherations, but I am sure I am on the right road. I am perfectly comfortable, have every facility for work especially sunshine, roof and beautiful models, good-natured natural people desirous of pleasing me. If I get through with what I am at, I want a few weeks of morning sunlight. Then I will make a bull fighter picture and maybe a gypsy one.
Dear Father,
The trouble of making a picture for the first time is something frightful. You are thrown off the track by the most contemptible little things that you never thought of and then there are your calculations all to the devil and your paint is wet and it dries slow, just to spite you, in the spot where you are most hurried. However if we have blue sky, I think I can finish the picture and it won't be too bad if not too clumsy.
March 14, 1870
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