"Twisted Realism" A visual artist, creating moody black and white tonal drawings in charcoal, pastel and graphite. Inspired by the human figure, story telling and Europe.


Mediocrity Or Passion?’ (114.5 x 76.5cm) Charcoal, Pastel, Graphite on Paper

A train ride, an hour north of Paris, is a small village called Auvers-Sur-Oise. Vincent spent his final years there. I walked the quiet streets, and found his paintings frozen in the buildings and countryside.
On a hill behind the town was the cemetery. The street sign that pointed to it read, “Les tombes de Theo et Vincent”. Someone had scrawled “Carpe Diem” across it. Eloquent graffiti. 
Rimmed by a high stone wall, the cemetery bore the remnants of those who had given this town its character over many hundreds of years. Against the back wall of the cemetery, stood two small head stones, side by side, barely waste high and sharing one plot. One read, 
ICI Repose
Vincent Van Gogh
That’s all that was written. Beside him his brother Theo. It was an unkempt raised square of thick green ivy. I sat on a tree stump at the foot of his grave in the soft rain. This simple site understated his suffering and beauty. Belied his magnificence in the world. 
Outside the cemetery walls, were wheat fields. I saw a small monument on one of the tracks criss-crossing the field. At this point Vincent had painted, “Crows over a Wheat field”. The last painting he completed just before he took his life. I looked at the ground below my feet and realised his blood was spilt in this very earth. At my feet was a rock, curiously stained crimson in the morning rain.
I was deeply moved by this day and that night wrote in my journal, 
“My Vincent dilemma; to live a prolonged life of mediocrity, or a short life of passion?”


  1. Vincent would expect you to live a long life of VVG inspired passion and not a single drop of paint less Pete. I think his headstone is overdone. 'Vincent' would have sufficed and those with the fire in their hearts would still have followed your footsteps over broken wheat and blooded stones to find it. Not for one moment do I see him returned to the dust. There is too much spirit swirling inside this man each time I gaze from a breath's distance on the swirling dulcet colours of a man who found no reason to conform to earthly love.

  2. I found your story, musings and thoughts about "Vincent" so moving Peter. I have always wanted to visit this area in France because of this man and his art and I now feel like I've been there, through your eyes.
    How beautiful to think he was once there, living and painting day after day.
    Thanks for sharing!
    "All of us are in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars" Oscar Wilde

    Nothing mediocre about that!

  3. Rob maybe right old boy! The dust we leave behind is not our legacy or cause for despair. In many ways you are his legacy Dad. Each person he inspires is the gift he has left behind. Your art work, your passion fuelled by dust? I think not. Some day some young artist will stand at a similar site. The site of the great Peter Hollard and be inspired to put brush to canvas and the circle will begin again. If he sheds a tear of sadness at that site a firm slap will be all he receives because he has missed the point. But a few tears of thanks for the gift he has been given, thats when he has understood the point. When the pretty wrapping paper has become dust its the goods that were inside and the thought behind them that will remain.

    Just a theory.

    Love the blog Petey