Coming up on one year in Paris, Vincent’s color palette has opened up and he is experimenting with a more impressionistic brush stroke in this self portrait.  A cobalt blue background in diagonal strokes from upper right to bottom left is the artist’s backdrop.  Radiating strokes seem to burst from the eyes and center of the face and an intensity in the jade green eyes is repeated in strokes on the jacket and lapels.  A bright lavender cravat and fashionable felt hat make Vincent ready for a brisk stroll about the butte of Montmartre or down to the cabarets of the Moulin Rouge. The Impressionists tried to create the color of natural light by only using pure hues as seen in the colors of the rainbow. They banished premixed browns, blacks and greys from their paintings. Instead, they replaced them with unmixed dashes of pure color. For example, Van Gogh’s jacket is painted with red and green brushstrokes which fuse together on the canvas. Some areas mix naturally to form a brown, but some still retain the dashes of the pure unmixed colors. These mix optically in the eye of the spectator and increase the vitality of the color. The vigour of Van Gogh’s brushwork heightens the expressive qualities of this self-portrait. The physical texture of his brushstrokes helps to convey the roughness of his tweed jacket and the softness of his felt hat. Painting, Oil on Canvas Paris: Winter , 1886/87 Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Europe F: 295, JH: 1211