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How Drawing is a Pathway to Wisdom…and Thanksgiving

Art is life. I love it and I am so thankful that I serve a congregation that allows me to fully embrace my artist self in ministry.

We are going to celebrate the FEAST tonight (Festival at Easter of Art, Sound, and Thanksgiving). It is something that our worship leader, Kent Henrickson, started more than a decade ago. The evening begins with an art exhibit in the Lakeside Commons. My Dad and I are both exhibiting drawings and paintings this year. Then we move to the Great Room at 6:30 where the Messengers (our worship band) will lead us in worship and Thanksgiving through music.

Kent invited me to hook up my iPad to the big screens and paint an image during worship. We tested it out yesterday and it’s pretty slick. I’m excited.

So, in light of this full-on art geek day, I want to share a little bit of my philosophy/theology of drawing. Here’s a little saying I made up:

drawing is seeing

seeing is understanding

understanding is the beginning of wisdom

One of the reasons I love to sketch is because it forces me to slow down and pay attention to the world around me. Life moves so quickly. We have become addicted to our mobile devices and the high quality cameras within them. We see something beautiful, whip out our phone, click, and move on. It’s like microwave beauty, microwave life. It’s good, but it tastes funny.

This week Maria Popova posted a great article about this very thing. In it she quotes John Ruskin,

Let two persons go out for a walk; the one a good sketcher, the other having no taste of the kind. Let them go down a green lane. There will be a great difference in the scene as perceived by the two individuals. The one will see a lane and trees; he will perceive the trees to be green, though he will think nothing about it; he will see that the sun shines, and that it has a cheerful effect, but that the trees make the lane shady and cool; and he will see an old woman in a red cloak; — et voilà tout!

But what will the sketcher see? His eye is accustomed to search into the cause of beauty, and penetrate the minutest parts of loveliness. He looks up, and observes how the showery and subdivided sunshine comes sprinkled down among the gleaming leaves overhead, till the air is filled with the emerald light, and the motes dance in the green, glittering lines that shoot down upon the thicker masses of clustered foliage that stand out so bright and beautiful from the dark, retiring shadows of the inner tree, where the white light again comes flashing in from behind, like showers of stars; and here and there a bough is seen emerging from the veil of leaves, of a hundred varied colours, where the old and gnarled wood is covered with the brightness, — the jewel brightness of the emerald moss, or the variegated and fantastic lichens, white and blue, purple and red, all mellowed and mingled into a garment of beauty from the old withered branch. Then come the cavernous trunks, and the twisted roots that grasp with their snake-like coils at the steep bank, whose turfy slope is inlaid with flowers of a thousand dyes, each with his diadem of dew: and down like a visiting angel, looks one ray of golden light, and passes over the glittering turf — kiss, — kiss, — kissing every blossom, until the laughing flowers have lighted up the lips of the grass with one bright and beautiful smile, that is seen far, far away among the shadows of the old trees, like a gleam of summer lightening along the darkness of an evening cloud.

Is not this worth seeing? Yet if you are not a sketcher you will pass along the green lane, and when you come home again, have nothing to say or to think about it, but that you went down such and such a lane.

I always have a sketch book with me, either my Moleksin paper sketchbook, or my iPad for digital sketching. I invite you to browse some sketches here.

Take time to enjoy God’s good gift of creation…and give thanks.

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Comments
  • Jim Thomason November 21, 2018 at 10:54 am

    Great words…Great art…Let the ‘Art Geek Day” begin!

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