Food, gardens, harvest season – I love it all! My daughter, Renee, was the model for this picture. I originally used it as the subject for an electrical transformer box, for the City of Loveland’s “Transformations” project. I liked the image so much that I decided to revisit it this year. The transformer box theme was “gardening,” which remains a topic of interest for me.
Pumpkins, apples, onions, and herbs in great piles in baskets and on the back porch are beautiful! Yet, the produce itself would not move me to pick up a paintbrush. It’s always the figure that draws me.
In the Bible, we see that the harvest is a picture of God’s faithfulness. The fact that He has provided this food is like a promise that He will continue to provide what we need. So, from every angle, this is a good subject for a painting.
For several years, my church has included “worship painters” as part of the team of musicians and others who lead worship services. Numerous artists rotate, situating their easels and various supplies near or on the platform at the front of the church, where their works-in-progress can be seen during the singing portion of the day.
If you attended a traditional church when you were young, or since then, this may seem strange to you. When you think about it, a group of adults, most of whom are not musicians, really, gathering together to sing songs, is a little strange. We don’t really do that, in our culture, in many settings. Throw in a dancer or two, and an artist or two, and it seems like a cultural event. Perhaps that’s a bit of what it actually is.
Every church is a bit different – like people, or families. We all have our own personalities. The churches I enjoy most all have one thing in common: they are passionate about God, excited about Jesus. Some are quieter, some more demonstrative. All come to church with expectation, to encounter God. In the “old days,” preachers would ride from church to church, sometimes visiting only once every few weeks, to deliver a message from the Bible. Singing would occur, but the main draw was the message, the talking part.
When I was in Germany, I saw lots of art in churches. Contemporary art was displayed creatively, along with very old things. I don’t know what services are like there, as I did not attend one. But having all that art around, in churches, seemed like a great thing. Some folks respond to visual and other art forms much more readily than to words (a spoken message). At any rate, it’s all about communication. The arts are yet another avenue for us to connect – with one another, and with God.
In this post, I’m including “Why Did You Doubt?” (Jesus & Peter) and “Storm,” a couple of paintings I did during worship services. I never know what people will be thinking when they see these, or when they watch me paint. But I paint with expectation, knowing that God can use anything to reach our hearts.
Have I mentioned how much I love dance? Love to watch it, love to do it. I began paintings dancers years ago, to see if I could enter in to the energy and joy I felt from watching, even as I was painting. It worked so well that I’ve not given up dance as a subject ever since.
Dance usually involves expression through both music and movement. Since I have such a deep appreciation for music, it’s only natural that, being such a visual person, dance would also excite me.
I’m not the only artist to paint dancers, of course. But, it seems not all of the others share my love for dance. Many of the other art works I’ve seen depicting dancers seem to lack the feeling of movement and musicality. I wanted to leave my viewer with a sense of energy, a feeling that would echo dance itself. I admired paintings by Degas, and others, but the dancers in his paintings always seemed to be sitting or standing. Most of the sculptures seemed rooted to the earth, rather than floating on air.
These two little pictures are more playful than some of my other dance paintings. When I painted them, and when I see them now, the music begins to play in my head, and I imagine the little ballerinas jeteing and picqueing across the stage. Reminds me of watching my kiddos in their many dance concerts.
Angels are a popular subject in art and literature. There’s something intriguing about the idea that incredibly beautiful, benevolent beings are drifting about us all the time, but we can’t actually see them. Or can we? Throughout history, certain people claim to have seen angels. The Bible clearly points out that some of us have even “entertained angels without knowing it.”
We read that angelic host were lighting up the night sky and proclaiming the birth of Jesus. We read of angels making important announcements, going ahead of and behind us through dangerous circumstances, and making war upon evil forces in the heavens. All of this sounds fantastic, yet many of us believe in the reality of angels. Sometimes this belief seems like one of those things about which we should be embarrassed.
I’m not embarrassed about it, though. I freely admit that I don’t know what angels actually look like. But, that’s partly what I like about depicting them in art. Angels can make some cool pictures! When my kids were little, they used to draw and paint angels. These drawings were some of my all-time favorites. I’ll try to dig some up and post them soon.
In the meantime, here’s a little painting I did earlier this year. It’s about 4″ x 6″ and framed in a cute, silver-painted wooden frame.