| caption3 = ''Maslinova drva sa planinom Alpili u pozadini'', 1889, Museum of Modern Art, Njujork.
| alt3 = A starless, moonless evening sky of middle blue with two large white clouds are above darker blue twisting hills in the distance. In the foreground is a grove of Olive trees, that extend horizontally across the whole painting, towards the bottom is a winding, twisting path that extends horizontally across the painting}}
Van Gog je crtao i slikao sa [[Akvarel|vodenim bojama]] dok je bio u školi — mada je mali broj tih slika sačuvan i autorstvo je dovođeno u pitanje za neke od njih.<ref>Van Heugten (1996), pp. 246–51</ref> Kad se posvetio umetnosti kao odrasla osoba, on je počeo na elementarnom nivou, kopirajući ''Cours de dessin'', kurs crtanja koje je uredio [[Charles Bargue]]. U toku dve godine on je počeo provizije. Proleća 1882, njegov ujak, Cornelis Marinus, vlasnik dobro stojeće galerije savremenih umetnosti u Amsterdamu, zatražio je od njega crteže Haga. Van Gogov rad nije zadovoljio očekivanja njegovog ujaka. Marinus mu je ponudio drugi posao, ovog puta dajući detalja opis predmeta, ali je još jednom bio razočaran rezultatom. Uprkos toga, Van Gog je istrajao. On je poboljšao osvetljenje svog studija istaliranjem raznih šalona i eksperimentisao je sa mnoštvom materijala za crtanje. Više od godinu dana je radio na pojedinačnim ličnostima – visoko razrađenje studije „crnom i belom“,<ref>Artists working in ''Black & White'', i.e., for illustrated papers like ''The Graphic'' or ''Illustrated London News'' were among Van Gogh's favorites. See Pickvance (1974/75)</ref> kojima je u to vreme zaradio samo kritike. Danas, oni su priznati kao njegovi prva remekdela.<ref>See Dorn, Keyes & alt. (2000)</ref>
[[File:Whitehousenight.jpg|thumb|left|upright|''Bela kuća u noći'', 1890, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, naslikana šest nedelja pre smrti umetnika|alt=A white two-story house at twilight, with 2 cypress trees on one end, and smaller green trees all around the house, with a yellow fence surrounding it. Two women are entering through the gate in the fence; while a woman in black walks on by going towards the left. In the sky, there is a bright star with a large intense yellow halo around it]]
Početkom 1883, on je počeo da radi na kompozicijama sa više figura, koje je on bazirao na svojim crtežima.
He had some of them photographed, but when his brother remarked that they lacked liveliness and freshness, he destroyed them and turned to oil painting. By Autumn 1882, his brother had enabled him financially to turn out his first paintings, but all the money Theo could supply was soon spent. Then, in spring 1883, Van Gogh turned to renowned [[Hague School]] artists like [[Johan Hendrik Weissenbruch|Weissenbruch]] and [[Bernard Blommers|Blommers]], and received technical support from them, as well as from painters like [[Théophile de Bock|De Bock]] and [[Herman Johannes van der Weele|Van der Weele]] , both second generation Hague School artists.<ref name="DSS">See Dorn, Schröder & Sillevis, ed. (1996)</ref> When he moved to Nuenen after the intermezzo in Drenthe he began several large-sized paintings but destroyed most of them. ''[[ The Potato Eaters]]'' and its companion pieces – '' The Old Tower'' on the Nuenen cemetery and '' The Cottage'' – are the only ones to have survived. Following a visit to the [[Rijksmuseum]], Van Gogh was aware that many of his faults were due to lack of technical experience.<ref name="DSS"/> So in November 1885 he traveled to [[Antwerp]] and later to Paris to learn and develop his skill.<ref>See Welsh-Ovcharov & Cachin (1988)<!-- page(s)?? --></ref>
After becoming familiar with Impressionist and Neo- Impressionist techniques and theories, Van Gogh went to Arles to develop on these new possibilities. But within a short time, older ideas on art and work reappeared: ideas such as working with [[serial imagery]] on related or contrasting subject matter, which would reflect on the purposes of art. As his work progressed, he painted many ''[[Self-portraits by Vincent van Gogh|Self-portraits]]''. Already in 1884 in Nuenen he had worked on a series that was to decorate the dining room of a friend in Eindhoven. Similarly in Arles, in spring 1888 he arranged his '' [[Flowering Orchards (Van Gogh series)|Flowering Orchards]]'' into triptychs, began a series of figures that found its end in '' [[The Roulin Family (Van Gogh series)| The Roulin Family series]] '', and finally, when Gauguin had consented to work and live in Arles side-by-side with Van Gogh, he started to work on '' [[The Décoration for the Yellow House|The Décorations for the Yellow House]]'', which was by some accounts the most ambitious effort he ever undertook.<ref name="d1909">See Dorn (1990)</ref> Most of his later work is involved with elaborating on or revising its fundamental settings. In the spring of 1889, he painted another, smaller group of orchards. In an April letter to Theo, he said, "I have 6 studies of Spring, two of them large orchards. There is little time because these effects are so short-lived."<ref name="H385">Hulsker (1980), 385</ref>
Art historian [[Albert Boime]] believes that Van Gogh – even in seemingly fantastical compositions like '' Starry Night'' – based his work in reality.<ref>Boime (1989)</ref> The '' [[White House at Night]]'', shows a house at twilight with a prominent star surrounded by a yellow halo in the sky. Astronomers at [[Southwest Texas State University]] in San Marcos calculated that the star is Venus, which was bright in the evening sky in June 1890 when Van Gogh is believed to have painted the picture.<ref>At around 8:00 pm on 16 June 1890, as astronomers determined by [[Venus]]'s position in the painting. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1209192.stm Star dates Van Gogh canvas], [[BBC News]], 8 March 2001.</ref>
=== Samoportreti ===