My name’s Ken from…
I have been blogging since 2015. I’m not exactly a technophobe – but can think of better things to do with my time 😎.
By so stating I’m indirectly communicating that I take minimal interest in my ’stats’ regarding followers, viewers, etc. I commented recently to a fellow-blogger that I look at my stats about once a year! ☺️
A bit of a tongue-in-cheek remark but more or less true.🙂
[Notice: that is three emoji’s in a row. A record!]
Initially I posted my paintings more or less – all of the time.
Then I removed all paintings and settled for posting my Christian teachings, and poems, with the odd painting still displayed.
This is more or less how things are at the moment.
My idea back when I starting blogging was to let the work speak for itself. No need to proclaim ‘boring’ details about myself (?).
So that the art, the art appreciation, the poems, the Christian teaching would stand (or fall) on their own merit.
Up until this point little to no, personal references as to who I am, where I live, what I do (daily life), has been revealed.
I’ve decided to share along the above lines. I feel another emoji coming – 💡
My name is…
Well that’s already been revealed
What hasn’t been revealed is that I hail from Northern Ireland, that six county province on the island of Ireland.
[Maybe this ‘whereabouts reveal’ – comes as no surprise – maybe ‘I thought so’ might have crossed your mind – or you remain non-plussed either way?]
What has been revealed before, is that I married my sweetheart from The Netherlands. We celebrated our fortieth wedding anniversary back in March.
Other snippets of ‘identity’ can be found somewhere in the fog of old blog posts.
I came to a revelation of The Lord Jesus Christ on the 20th November, 1970, when I was overwhelmed by the Presence of God. And fell to my knees in repentance in my bedroom, in a little terrace house in Belfast. The house and therefore the room no longer exist.
The house was demolished many years ago, as part of the redevelopment of the area.
So I was born in one of the three upstairs rooms. And was born again in one of the two remaining.
[Mostly natural births today, in western culture, are in hospital wards as you know – although don’t quote me].
So what difference does this beginning of further information make?
I’ve no idea.
But I must confess I find the personal story of others – interesting. So maybe time to explore that approach in some writing.
That’s about it – carry on eating your lunch. Any questions?
No? Well, have a nice day.
Did they get Dillinger?
The story behind this painting:
I held an exhibition when I finished with my day to day job as a typesetter.
The exhibition sold well.
Amongst my guests on the opening night was my elder brother.
There was eight years between us.
He suffered from a heart condition and passed in 2015.
We used to meet up once a month for lunch, and these were enjoyable times, with banter about whose turn it was to pay etc.
When we were young, he was always kind to his little brother, especially at Christmas, when I waited with anticipation to see what present he had bought me. He never disappointed (e.g. when I was 8 y.o. – he was 16).
I had two ‘not for sale’ drawings in the show. And he liked these because they were depictions of the street of our childhood upbringing.
As I would have explained – not topographical depictions. A drawing of a memory, not a drawing from memory. (Some of you might ‘get’ the difference).
But I wouldn’t let these go. So his eyes lit upon the painting above, and just before someone else wanted to buy it, he was able to stake his claim and it ended up on the living room wall of his home.
He too, like me, was ‘weaned’ on the old black and white gangster movies seen on TV.
He had three of my paintings in his home and joked about how when I was gone – they would be worth so much more. With reference to the old adage about an artist not being worth much until he was dead.
These paintings have been inherited by his son and daughter.
Be great to have my brother back – I would paint him as many ‘Dillingers’ as he wished (RIP).
Any great ambition I had to sell my paintings, and perhaps earn a living from doing so, got lost along the way somewhere over the years.
The ambition wasn’t big enough in the first place, to drive me to do all that was necessary to achieve such a goal.
The bible talks about seeking first the kingdom of God. And as far as I was concerned there was no other option, than to gladly do so. So spiritual ministry priorities were put first.
Consequently an 8 to 5 job in a newspaper office took the place of these ambitions as the responsibility of raising a family also came first.
So to sell a painting now is the result of some kind of connection with other human beings.
Whereby they see some of my work and would like to have it.
I do not spread the work around as e.g. in galleries etc. like I used to do. So I’m pretty much, an unknown – sliding into ‘oblivion’, in the background somewhere.
If someone through this blog wanted to buy a piece of work, this would entail individual email communications and financial arrangements. And gladly the forming of some kind of relationship.
I have in other words no selling mechanism of pay pal and all the rest of it, necessary, if you are running a business.
Sometimes my mind wanders to Van Gogh – a man who was on a spiritual quest and through the rocky road of life with its hurts and rejections – eventually found solace in his art.
As far as I can discern he lost his way spiritually, because in biblical language he sought God by works and not by faith.
It isn’t my intention to elaborate on such a statement in this post. I realise it is more complicated than my thesis might suggest.
But I do see in his life and can understand, why painting became his passion and means of self-absorption, and quest for achievement.
Even in his art he did not find the acceptance and praise he justly deserved.
I see life in that way, and am so thankful that I have found in Christ what I was looking for.
In the old hymn Be Thou My Vision we read these words:
Riches I need not, nor man’s empty praise
Thou mine inheritance through all of my days
Thou and Thou only though first in my heart
That succinctly sums up how the loss of ambition doesn’t matter, when it is replaced by the Riches of Christ. It is Christ who satisfies, not only in this world but in the one to come.
There is a place for doing things well, for creativity, and for enjoying the communication of life through the arts.
A place for someone to have goals and resolutely set out to achieve them (provided others do not get trampled-on along the way.)
But there is a fine line between seeking man’s empty praise and appreciating the love that others give, that makes us feel worthwhile and satisfied that we have something to give, through our expressed talent.
Life poses the question: ‘Are you ultimately empty?’
Perhaps – but there is a spiritual vacuum inside each one of us. That can only be filled through a relationship with Christ.
Realised ambitions will not take this vacuum away.
Brushes and paint lie dormant
Dormant man – fighting infirmities
They call it lockdown…
As it ventures to catch your brain
Shaking-off the shackles
Of indolent’s stealth
At least the eye can lift itself
To look again
At the industry hand and brain has formed
Former works – done for me
For me it oft seems a lesser reward
Determined by the fickle browse of
Never a unanimous verdict
Only one short-lived before it is changed
I will give you them all
Only say the word
And my gallery is yours
But I must not let my hunger
For man’s empty praise
Cause me to sell this birthright
For a mess of pottage
Acrylic by Ken Riddles