“… focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely …” – Philippians 4:8.
I often write about art, and it will doubtless come up again. Rebekah and I are drawn not just to the beauty of it but the story too. Art is a way of interpreting life, of articulating our relationship to things both temporal and eternal. Art is in many ways a form of prayer.
I am particularly drawn to work that tells a more complex story than the photo-accurate work of the realists—artists like Van Gogh, Turner, Monet and Cézanne—so Rebekah and I spent a recent afternoon absorbed in post-impressionism at the Van Gogh Immersive Experience.
Van Gogh himself would have enjoyed it. The exhibition pulled us into the paintings with projections, including movement, shifts in color and light and blending one painting into the next. It was an invitation into the imagination and creativity of the artist.
Van Gogh could see with unusual clarity, and he saw colors in ways dictated by his boundless and overwhelming creativity. Van Gogh not only experienced the world differently, but he is also challenging us to do the same.
The previous evening, Rebekah and I watched a documentary on singer-songwriter Harry Chapin. One of Chapin’s best moments comes through his song “Flowers are Red,” where a teacher objects to creative expression.
“But the little boy said,
“‘There are so many colors in the rainbow
“‘So many colors in the morning sun
“‘So many colors in the flower and I see every one.’”
Van Gogh could also see colors most of us miss; sometimes, we need the eyes and the souls of artists to help us to see.
In a sense, I experience Jesus as an artist, one who teaches me to see with new eyes, who reminds me status quo is not sacrosanct, who challenges me to not only look but to see, to absorb the beauty and the lessons of creation and to expand my spirit.
Peace, beauty, light and love. – DEREK