Sunday Afternoon (based on 1950’s style Living Room) (Watercolour)
Which kind of rest?
Just another day?
Usually weekdays are – Just another day.
Because most folks usually work, and a lot of folks have survival in mind, as their motivation for staying in the job. Bread on the table, family to look after, mortgage etc. etc.
Weekends – begin to be celebrated at the company’s finishing time on Friday.
Now it’s time to do what you really like doing.
The weekend has arrived. Two days out of seven to do your thing.
There’s a saying ‘I work to live’, I don’t ‘live to work’.
Five or sometimes seven days labour in a job you do not like, sounds like prison.
In the Old Testament – six days were labour, and the seventh was for resting and worshipping.
In the greater agreement that is the New Testament ‘Sabbath rest’ has become an internal and constant rest position of abiding in Christ, to be guarded diligently. (Hebrews 4/1-9)
It is still however, the wisdom of God to take at least one days practical, physical, actual bodily rest.
But in the midst of a world gone wrong, in the midst of a ‘stress-lightning’-struck world, spiralling out of control and tottering about like a drunk, are you interested in the internal rest and peace offered by Christ Jesus, or do you prefer one days practical, physical, actual bodily rest?
I was listening to a song on the album ‘Flaming Pie’ by Paul McCartney. The song is entitled: Young Boy.
A line in the song struck me as applicable to us all:
‘He’s just a young boy looking for a way to find love…’
And I thought: ‘Aren’t we all…?”
Now that’s a subject there are more angles to, than there are Arabian Nights, – humanly speaking.
Poets have been working at expressing what love is for centuries.
It’s in the same family as ‘The Human Need For Appreciation’, that I shared in a page blog (see above).
When we meet someone and fall in love, the initial great surge of emotion involved, has been variously ‘adjective-ised’ (I think you will find this word doesn’t exist, but it sounds good😊), in terms of ’goose-bumps’, ‘shivers down the backbone’, where it involves sleepless nights, food abhorrence, and an inability to concentrate on anything else.
Involving (on the male’s part) a supercharged need to protect.
It’s the kind of thing that produces good manners, Saville Row coats strewn across street puddles so that the lady remains unblemished when venturing onward on her journey, diamonds on the soles of shoes, locks locked to chains on bridges, names carved into trees, the sacrifice of the one remaining Malteser chocolate to the loved one.
It involves exclamatory proclamations such as ‘my one true love’. Lyrics like: ‘I’ve never known a love like this before…’
Valentine day rhymes – Roses are red Violets are blue etc.
It involves heightened emotional involvement that not only rings the bell at the fair ground but shatters it, through the roof and onwards to Mars.
It’s the total feeling experience, that many take as the legitimate green light for unbridled expression of the body. (I don’t)
There is no ‘high’ like the love high. The internal capacity for which, however, will vary from individual to individual.
Love is blind – they say. Taken on a natural human level – this can be explained, as an inability to see anything wrong or negative about the person who has ‘stolen the heart’ in a rapturous ‘feeling state’ of mutual adoration.
(Only disturbed slightly(?) in newly-weds when the wife makes beans on toast for dinner for the fourteenth consecutive night in a row).
Concerning The Love of Jesus, however, we read: ‘love covers a multitude of sins’ (I Peter 4/8). Inclusive of the truth that God is willing to choose to turn a ‘blind eye’ to our sins, blotting them out at salvation – only on request and total commitment to Him.
This human emotional captivation of the heart is the initial smitten state that two people find themselves in, when they first ‘fall’ in love.
And for many this experience being the strongest emotional high of their lives – they cannot comprehend, and indeed will deny, that anything could surpass it, or cause them to falter.
And yet it is de-authenticated as being the ultimate in life – by the fact that it can turn sour, and they fall ‘out of love’ at a later date.
And then go hungering for the same experience again, based on their ‘felt need’ and the belief that it is possible to fall in love again.
And so Cher asks us: ‘Do you believe in love after love?’
But why, if this love you or I have experienced is so beyond description and is so – ‘too strong’ and has never been equalled in your life…
Why, with this once-in-a-lifetime recipient of your overwhelming love – in mind, is it even possible for you or I to love again, or even contemplate the possibility?
There goes the ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ confession of one true love out the window – it’s overwhelming claim of authority is saw to be false.
Because separation has occurred – and after broken-hearted pieces are mended, you find another person to fall in love with. Many having lived to love again.
How can anyone testifying to the dogmatics of love, involving ‘never ever experienced anything like this before and never will again’ do we find them recovering, often big time, when it all goes wrong, to live to love again?
Recovering from devastation, and now testifying, on rising to a new relationship: ‘that yes that was good…but NOW I have REALLY found my soul mate – this is ‘really real’ – this time’? ‘
But that’s what you said last time…!??!’
Was the last relationship not ‘really real’ at the time?
Does this not expose the limitations and imperfections and terminability of human love-emotion?
Does not the ensuing negatives, the after-love ‘fallout’,
exposing the inadequacies, and the inconsistencies of human emotion, act as a bomb disposal unit, that defuses the ‘dynamite’ in the love bomb, formerly held to be unquenchable?
And does the relational ‘break ups’ not expose the frailty of the paper thin ‘one true love’ theory that is based on emotion alone.
We could say loving again does not trash the former engrossment of mutual desire.
But it wasn’t enough to hold together a commitment for life, that which the heated emotion confessed to be it’s sought after goal.
Admitting it was real at the time – we nevertheless see it’s temporal limitations exposed, do we not?
Is it a defence to say: ‘it was real while it lasted?’
Why does the relationship have to die? Why does it die?
The feeling factor is real alright. But I suggest that it is undependable on it’s own as a maintainer of a covenant agreement between husband and wife.
Due to the undependability of (loves) emotion, so easily the antithesis (negative emotion) – takes it’s place, when sinful man or woman violates the relationship in one way or another.
When both partners are to blame for subsequent violation and estrangement – justification for separation is often largely based on the fact that the ‘love feeling’ is no longer there.
The ability to detect where the estrangement began and to set about solving and mending it at source, seems to allude so many.
There is a failure to see that it is down to human nature common to both. And that, that nature needs to be replaced by another nature – the divine nature.
Deeply felt emotion having been replaced often with deep hurt, resentment, and bitterness carried by the one (or both) who have perhaps been betrayed and forsaken.
There are legitimate reasons for separation and break ups, but there are also a myriad of reasons that are not legitimate, and the inability to mend, only exposes that romantic love, so partaken of with seemingly all of the being – is in fact weighed in the balance and found wanting.
The struggles couples go through with accusation and counter accusation, exposes the great need of us all to find help in our dilemma.
It is not within human nature alone – to find the solutions. Proven by the epidemic breakdowns of the family unit in our society.
Without taking hold of the Biblical principles, and God’s direct help, we are left to our own devices. And increasingly the morals that make for a healthy society are being eroded.
(I wish to inform you that the above paragraphs have been written by an incurable romantic, per chance you should think for one moment, that the author is some kind of unemotional scribe who has not experienced deep love of the emotional kind).
The failure to sustain – found in emotional love, poses clearly the question: ‘Is that it?’ ‘Is this all there is?’
Is real love at the mercy of the untrustworthy feeling state of changeable and fickle hearts?
So that once this high state is trespassed into – through life’s experiences of a negative nature – we are left looking for another ‘love fix’, to get us through.
When the honeymoon high has worn off – what have we left?
Often many are so hurt they cannot take a chance with love again. But it is a love that is entirely defined by feeling alone.
Human emotional love is way up there in the experiences that make life worthwhile. To find someone and fall in love is not being spoken against in this post, just it’s overestimation as being enough to hold marriages together, while society and family life falls apart in disarray.
It is important that emotional love is very much present when two people come together in marriage. It’s absence when marriage is entered into, suggests an unnatural union.
There can be a pseudo-spirituality that some confess as a reason to bypass the need for emotional attraction toward their chosen partner, and my response to it would be to encourage the exercise of extreme caution. Absence of emotional attachment and attraction to our potential life’s partner is dangerous.
The other misdemeanour apart from basing everything on emotional love, is to think it is being somehow more spiritual when it is absent.
This is a grave mistake.
Concerning the greater love of Christ, I offer the following analogy:
When the central heating has been turned off, the house gets cold.
Unless it is summer time.
Summertime provides a different kind of heat.
One much more powerful – in that, it heats everything everywhere, that is exposed to it.
Central heating is only internal (emotional love). Not dependent on anything beyond what is inside.
The sun heats everything everywhere, it is greater, larger, more powerful, has attributes that are absent from any central heating system.
That is my analogy of the difference between human emotion and passion – and the Love of Christ, which is eternal. God’s love is greater, containing all the attributes of God’s character and person. It is way beyond being a feeling ‘only’ kind of love.
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
(I John 4/10)
As Christ’s ways are higher than ours, so His love is unspeakably superior to human love.
And the experience of that love – yes – internally in the human spirit – is much more wonderful than human love – those who have experienced it will know what I mean.
Out of God’s loving heart He has planned untold benefits for those who will respond to His call to have fellowship with Himself, described in the following verse:
But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
(I Corinthians 2/9)
There is no love as demonstrative, as the Love of Christ.
He didn’t just say it – He demonstrated it.
Not only did He allow Himself to be crucified. But He who knew no sin, allowed himself to be separated from His Father, on the cross, thus becoming the embodiment of every conceivable atrocity and perversion known to man. He descended into hell on our behalf.
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (II Corinthians 5/21)
Think of it – He who knew no sin, became sin…
That we (committed believers in Christ) might become the righteousness of God IN HIM.
In our deeply felt need for love – we all will herald our experience of falling in love as the epitome of all we have been looking for, having found the person of our dreams.
But we must admit, it is possible that – that kind of limited love – can be relived with another person, at a later date.
It is not – in itself – eternal.
My heart is as romantically in love with my wife after thirty-seven years of knowing each other, as it ever has been – but it is not that aspect of our love alone that has sustained our happy marriage.
The romance takes on a different form in the love of Christ.
It is energised with different fuel, than that in common use.
It is embedded in the experience we have had and have of The Love of Christ shed abroad in our hearts by The Holy Spirit. (Romans 5/5)
It is a ‘many-sided’ love not just dependant on fluctuating emotional feeling.
It is born in and sustained by a higher Agape love.
We (my wife and I) are prone to failure in our relationship like everybody else.
But there is a cement that we keep applying to mend the brickwork.
It is available everyday to repair any scrapes or bruises we might inflict on one another, applied by good will and prayer through mutual forgiveness and maintained communication.
We both experience the peace of God ruling in our hearts.
In the Old Testament speaking of this wonderful love of God, we are told that Jonathan’s heart was knit to David’s. So that their spiritual God-given love surpassed the love of women (i.e. the human kind of love). This was not a physical or sexual love, it involved their souls.
I Samuel 18/1 – And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan* loved him as his own soul.
I always advise young couples concerning the David and Jonathan example of being ‘knit’ – ‘Notice when you drop a stitch, and put it back in place right away’.
It’s much easier to do so than to allow the ‘wool of negativity’ to get so entangled that the pain of hurting each other spirals into a mess.
NB: (Try untangling a fishing line when it gets into a ‘bird’s nest’ state of entanglement)!
Much easier to simply restore the slight hurts you have caused to each other, swiftly and with sincerity, cemented with forgiveness and yes – often topped off with a new romantic encounter.
It is understandable that love and falling in love between a male and a female is perceived as the greatest human experience to be had.
But notice I say: ‘human’.
Genuine Christians have experienced the divine nature, that supplies something higher and more wonderful.
(II Peter 1/4).
It is our inherent human nature that is always there to ‘war’ against the divine nature – that can put us low, and present the road of unbelief to us again.
Christians are not saying that everything is roses and chocolate.
We need a love that sustains us through thick and thin until death us do part.
That love is the love that Christ knew when a faithful heavenly Father raised Him from the dead and restored Him to His right hand side as the head over all things, giving Him to the church, as Lord, Saviour and Master.
The fickleness of feeling and emotion will be with everyone until they leave this planet. Equally so for the Christian as anyone else.
Now is the time to reach out in faith for something eternally sustainable – a love that is based on promises made. A love that passes understanding. A love that will never leave us nor forsake us, because we have accepted it with thanksgiving. A love that is experienced in the human spirit when it comes alive on meeting The Lord Jesus Christ.
A love supplied to the heart of faith.
A faith that believes when feelings are rock bottom – His love is still here, and His watchful eye is only benevolent towards us.
A love that is the person called Jesus Christ.
God is love. (I John 4/8)
The unseen hand
The sun beats down on
old familiar adjective street
Later the moon showed-off it’s roundness
scaring away all clouds
by arrangement with the weather
Starry starry night so oft referred to
In painting, poem, and song
All on the back-cloth of that blue
That blue from dark outer value
to cobalt hue near the light
That’s the blue – memories are made of
That’s the blue that in partnership
with fresh air and approaching spring
Galvanises the senses in smell, sight
sound and touch
in impressionable youth
when emotions are fixed for good
It’s that night of sensing weather
that repeats the memory
on it’s return
the essence of human emotion
when the experience of
hints at the eternal
when all is well – with feelings of safety
and just being young and interested
in all that is about us –
in activities engagement
of one kind or another.
In moments – just moments
God placed His hand
Just to say: ‘I’m still here’
And I mistook it for enjoyment of life
in those things He had made
Like young Samuel I could hear
But I didn’t know
I could see but thought only
what was visible
was what I saw.
My dear, dear friend – Jesus Himself
As one who knows better
overlooked my youthful ignorance
and stayed knocking
despite my infliction of pain
through foolishness of sin
Until one more spring arrived
in spiritual surprise – to give new birth
to me again.
‘Through the foggy archives of the mind I see dad’s workshop where the coal was kept’. (Children’s wax crayon and pencil)
What age are you?
Birthday tomorrow – in one hour and eight minutes
Another age to entertain, examine, get used to…
when half way through the year –
consider the next one, to be sure
Before it’s time – it will suggest itself
“Act in accordance with me – coming up”
It will say.
“When someone asks your age
‘it is nearly such and such…’ ”
It will say.
It’s before it’s time, yes:
but you might as well
embrace it now,
Bear in mind it’s just around the corner
“You’re almost there anyway”, it will say
Only half a year to go.
I’m in my next age before it arrives
It stretches back in time to grab me by the lapels
And hoist me into it’s orbit
I’m always a year older than I am
Because once that day of birthday arrives
It’s too late – you have only 364 days to go
Just round it off to the next one
Just add “I’m nearly…” to the inevitable
Say what-you-will-be – next year, when asked
You are tomorrow what you are not today
But tomorrow you are on your way
to the next year’s birthday – day.
Keeping one step ahead of the game
There’s no reverse order
‘Time and tide waits for no…’
‘Time is at a premium…’
– is on my side, Yes it is…..’
The lyric is wrong –
on the other side
of your birthday
It’s pace is increasing
day after day
you are on your way…
forty-seven minutes to your birthday
but add another year,
just for realities sake.
(NB: It is not my birthday 😃)
LOSS OF INNOCENCE
As a fledgling teenager I took the long walk –
walking some miles
the need to be loved and appreciated.
We made our way for the first time to the
6A, 7A, or was it…8A Club?
As yet we hadn’t ventured to the pub
But into our first dance-disco
we did stroll –
in through the door trying to look old
There was a band, and girls and a floor on which to stand
The music struck up and strutting their stuff young men
a little older and more advanced
made the squeaks and gestures of kings on the platform-throne
banging out the music as though pop chart triumphalists
As though this was their umpteenth number one hit
imitating those who had gone before
So ‘fish out of water’ was I
So self-conscious – of inferior build
Looking around: what is to be done now?’
The innocency of not knowing
The struggle of not knowing
The mind aspiring to be noticed
The bullies abroad – better turned out – in superior gear
gave their sideways glance and with disdainful eyes did peer
Aspiration of girlfriend was easily quelled
Too soon, too gawky still
Looking back –
If only the pearl of great price innocence
could be recaptured as a lost cause – found.
For as day followed day, week followed week and years passed by
The physical development of cool, hip, in-crowd man,
with rendezvous galore
per weekly clubbing,
produced an ego saturated outlook
to the death of that rejected innocence of youth.
What greater goodness – goodness is
How greater is goodness than filthy swill
How human nature desires the slosh of ego and pride
rather than the innocence of unspoilt virgin mind
Yet, it is the multitudes that tread that path
None being the exception that proves the rule
So much turns out empty and waste
Later – life informs of what is a disgrace
How long it takes to learn what is – hard learned
Like some wound-up toy scurrying across the floor
Unable to be stopped until it falls over.
Our stumbling in all that glitters – that is not gold
means – we will not be told
Until we find – all the adulation and
ego popping friends abandon us to downfall
Self-deceit remains for those who cling
tenaciously to their own fading glory
Like a flower of the grass springing up to be downtrodden.
Reach through the long grass, the prickly hedge,
the thorny bush and grasp
– bidding it return
For in its makeup you will find a pure and
of life’s worthwhile existence.
The underlying point of it all – the essence of being? –
the purpose and power to stay free –
that pearl again of great price to be…
How hard it is to see
through the fog of ill-temper,
the fog of self-righteousness and
whatever else we deliver
projecting a closed mind to all and sundry
whilst tied up
in kidnapped capture
with no ransom of escape to be paid
But there is a way back
There is an answer
There is a returning rest
Why do we spin, convulse, and stubborn remain?
Blocked up with hurts, and disappointments
and emotional turmoil,
clinging to the weak and beggarly,
the rudimentary and the vain?
A beggar still clings to his tattered rags as those of a king
The dirty old water still perceived as clean
There seems no escape – no exit to be found
You will need to find
the rock on which to stand
all other ground is sinking sand
I leave you without the answer
as first –
you must ask the question
if more is to be said…
But brace yourself as the cost of this information
is costly indeed
even though free of charge.
Rough Terrain (Ink with watercolour tint). This sketch was completed quite a few years ago. It hopefully displays surface unity despite and because of, its amalgamation of diverse patterns.
Heading for the New Land (Pure Watercolour)
Can I offer you an hypothesis?
It’s this : (let’s get help from the dictionary by the way, an hypothesis is: An assertion that is subject to verification or proof. A proposition stated as a basis for reasoning).
My hypothesis is this : ‘Man’s ability to create is proof of the fact that man has been created.’ Pretty simple don’t you think?
I speak of the Creator, who is a Person, and therefore we came out of the Personal.
Rather than having suddenly sparked from some impersonal force of ‘electricity’. I cant accept that the ‘personal’ was created by the ‘impersonal’.
So it’s in the image of the Creator we are created – who is a Person. God is a Spirit. And we are created in the image of the Godhead (Father Son and Holy Spirit), tripartite – body, soul, and spirit.
I guess the nearest I’ll get to credentials or credibility when it comes to writing about art, is that I do have an artist’s brain. (Whatever that exactly means). I do paint pictures. And I like to talk ‘art’, and I’d like to hear from you if you too have the odd idea.
My credentials as a Christian are God-given, undeserved, but given as a gift from God. They are basically the same credentials that Matthew the tax collector was given when Jesus simply said : ‘Follow Me’. And he did.
He rose up and became a Christian – (a follower, in other words, of Christ). His calling of course was as an Apostle uniquely to the twelve.
But all Christians ever since have been ‘called’ to follow in faith.
‘Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us (me) that we (I) should be called the sons of God’! (I John 3/1).
Amazing Grace giving credibility with God through an unmerited title of adoption!
I believe in every human being there (I’m returning to the hypothesis), is creative potential expressed if allowed to, in many different ways.
There’s something in us that wants to find expression, in fact there’s an art movement called ‘Expressionism’ – as you know.
Whether it’s Michelangelo in the Sistine chapel or a Mr. Bean sketch, in which he drives a mini – both are seeking to communicate to provide enjoyment, insight, challenge, skill, imagination, information, and so on to their fellow man by being profoundly or humorously creative.
There is in many painters a desire to give birth to something new.
Giving birth (as in producing offspring) is the nearest mankind can get to actually ‘creating’.
Something in other words must exist (seed of the man and the woman) before mankind can produce or ‘create’ something new or unique.
Once the natural process (procreation) – that God originally put in motion or ordained if you like – is underway in marriage – the human spirit from God is given to inhabit the natural body. This is quite a mystery as to how this natural/supernatural event takes place, but it does.
Whereas God, in the beginning, created from nothing by what He said. ‘And God said let there be light…(and there was)’ and so on.
Many artists in giving themselves to art become caught up in a great inward struggle to give birth to something unique trying to capture e.g. on a flat surface something that would satisfy them.
Van Gogh, Van go or Van ‘H’ogh (the pronunciation is up to you) – is an example of a man in mental and emotional turmoil in his quest to produce or perfect his art.
However Van Gogh was a minister of religion before he turned to art. Why did he turn to art? What does this tell us about the man, about religion, about art?
Here was a man who, at one period of his life, at the age of twenty-five, set out to serve a community in Borinage, that was possibly the poorest in all the Parishes served by the denomination his father was already a minister in.
Van Gogh gave himself to this with the same gusto and enthusiasm that he later poured into his paintings.
Now of course Van Gogh has become a legend and an almost mythical figure and we must sort out fact from fiction – myth from reality regarding his life.
One myth for example is the idea that he didn’t sell any paintings while alive, when technically he did, inasmuch as they were given to his brother Theo who acted as his agent.
Paying him an allowance in return. So would it be right or more accurate to say Theo never sold any?
We know Vincent became mentally disturbed and the question why(?) is no more easily answered than it is for many similarly disturbed today.
But Van Gogh got religion, and when it didn’t bring the fulfilment he must have craved, and when his love for women was not returned, we find in the next chapter of his life, that he turned to art.
Religion sought by and incorporating strained effort, a salvation by works which doesn’t ‘work’, will never produce anything but frustration and disappointment. It is based on self-effort and not on the foundation that nothing else can provide, namely faith, and therefore justification by faith in the Rock – Christ Jesus.
So whatever Vincent tried to get in religious good works – in being a do-gooder, in giving service to the poor, rather than bringing satisfaction, peace, contentment it brought in its wake only more turmoil, especially when his efforts didn’t seem to be appreciated by his peers in the ministry.
I suggest to you in all his good works, in all his service to the poor community, Van Gogh lacked something.
There was something missing. In his attempts at being benevolent to those people – he found, as all of us will find, he ran out of steam.
We can’t keep it up – some run out of steam quicker than others. Some find the needs so overwhelming that they end up with mental and nervous breakdowns themselves.
In trying to creatively serve others Van Gogh – it would seem perhaps – did not encounter the creator (?). What was he longing for in serving the poor? What was he searching for in his painting?
Picasso once said ‘I do not seek – I find’. However his painting was, apart from anything else, a search, drawing from the subconscious. In my view he found in the painting itself, a suggestion of the next step to take rather than a pre-concieved plan to adhere to. Thus the meaning of his statement.
The Lord Jesus however said: ‘Seek and you will find’. We do not hear Picasso claiming to have found faith. He didn’t seek it, it would seem.
We don’t hear that he sought God and found Him.
So here was another painter whose painting somehow provided a substitute for ‘religion’, indeed is it not true that for some, art became a religion?
I’m told Picasso was obsessed with death. Yet his fear of it (again it would seem) didn’t lead him to finding God.
In all his creating (as far as I am aware) he made no acknowledgement of the creator. Here was creative genius creating without the creator of the universe by his side and in his life.
Some might retort: ‘Well how do you know wise-guy – religion is a private thing!’
Well forgive me, but of course I’m talking Christianity, and the Bible is our authoritative reference for stating the gospel message. And we read : ‘If you shall believe in your heart and confess with your mouth The Lord Jesus Christ you shall be saved (converted) (delivered)’. Picasso to my knowledge made no such confession.
As a painter Picasso was a genius. Who, as you probably know, at a young age was so good at painting naturalistically that on completing a task his father (also a painter) set him, did it so well that his father gave him his brushes and never painted again, so superior a draughtsman was his son. It was rather like a footballer hanging up his boots.
But here was a creative genius who it would seem, didn’t believe my hypothesis: ‘that mans ability to create is proof that he has been created’, and therefore should search until he finds the creator.
I’m told there was a period in history known as the Age of Reason. When man began to search for answers to life not in faith and religion – but by using his own ability to reason and subject everything to the measuring rod of scientific proof.
The Impressionists sought to no longer paint in the academic style of the day rather they turned to the reality presented to their eyes in Plein-air painting.
No longer did they wish to paint the mythical subjects but looked at the world around them trying to reproduce it on a flat surface.
But they were mostly concerned with their own response to it, the sensations they experienced as they sat or stood before nature to paint.
Then Gauguin came along and claimed they were ‘slaves to nature’.
And that by looking at the outward appearance of things they were missing the mystical reality behind it all.
Was Gauguin of the belief that man’s ability to create is proof that he has been created?
Gauguin went to Tahiti to a culture that did not, generally speaking, embrace the God of the Bible.
So Gauguin though finding answers for his art failed to answer his own questions about life.
His painting : ‘Where do we come from, what are we, where are we going to ?’ provides the questions that everyone asks, but not the answers many seek.
There’s something about artists that reminds me of prophets, but without the certainty that the prophets had.
Painters are, in a sense, would-be ‘prophets’. They search in a somewhat similar way through painting what prophets search for, through prayer. (Although in another sense there is no comparison).
The painters are searching for new ways of expressing themselves. They want to create. If there is no personal God why is there within us the desire to find expression creatively?
Also how can we have personal relationships with others, if we came out of some impersonal chance beginning?
If there is no greater intellect that has created us, how can we have an inferior one, in fact one at all?
Gauguin having learned of the death of his twenty-year-old daughter, the daughter of his family he had abandoned years before in Copenhagen to go, live, and work in Tahiti. He apparently exclaimed : ‘I love God no longer’. It was the start of the despair that led to attempted suicide.
Before suffering from conjunctivitis and fever he gave all his energy to painting this picture. He afterwards took arsenic but failed to kill himself.
In his description of the painting in a letter to a friend he refers to the idol as a reminder of Eternal truths. A menace, forever threatening humanity.
Why we have to ask, should the eternal and the reality of death pose such a threat?
Surely because of the uncertainty of unbelief.
Gauguin provides no answers either for himself or for us. He highlights the problem as many religions do. But in humility I say : ‘I’m heading for the new land’
My painting (above) is symbolic of this.
The new land of The Spirit, the heavenly kingdom of The Christ. He has gone there to prepare a place for me.
My hope, on this journey I have begun here, rests on nothing less than Jesus love and righteousness. His Grace (unmerited favour toward me) is all I have and all I need to base my eternal future on.
Some movements in art are committed to expressing the universal truth that is beyond the appearance of things.
Gauguin was such an artist, He wanted through the means of painting to express the reality beyond the appearance of things.
Van Gogh who gave up trying to find God in religion, would stand for expressing what he felt about what was before his eyes – its all there why look further ?
Gauguin on the other hand wanted something deeper, his painting ‘Where do we come from, What are we, Where are we going to ?’ tries to pose what to Him was the (granted I’m assuming) more important questions.
Not how do I feel about what’s in front of my eyes – but rather what’s beyond and behind what we see.
It’s interesting that the man Van Gogh who gave up religion for art, cut off part of his ear and shot himself.
Found that, whatever art gave him it didn’t meet his innermost need, but then religion didn’t either.
We have to conclude that meeting the person called Jesus Christ, alone will provide the answers we seek. Relationship and not Religion provides the answers.
Gauguin the man who looked for what was beyond the creation, failed to find the creator. (or so the evidence would suggest – but granted I do not know for sure either way).
He turned aside from a moral code to live a life separated from his wife in a far off land in Tahiti where he died of a venereal disease. So he posed the question but provided no answers in the painting.
We were created, now we desire to create.
First class is to travel and create whilst having daily communion with the Creator. Second class is to travel on our own with the creative urge alone as a companion.
Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, I have no pleasure in them’