“Those are some gorgeous paintings,” said my son-in-law, viewing our new artwork for the first time.
The nightscape and seascape perch on the piano ledge in our living room. In a space too often cluttered with the stuff of life (a child’s Noah’s ark set, animals wandering at large; books and papers piled on tables, toss cushions well tossed, and script-ready dust on all the cabinets) they provide a magnetic focal point.
On each canvas, it’s the light that draws. In the nightscape vivid green northern lights reflect on calm water and tinge the surrounding snow-dusted spruce forest. In the seascape the sun rises in a hazy glow, pinking both sky and waves below.
In that last one the horizon lists slightly downwards, over to the left, barely noticeably. I notice it, though. I painted that sloping horizon. The Preacher did the Northern Lights. His horizon is arrow straight.
“I think you should take this painting class, hon,” I’d said months earlier, when I noticed the invitation on the counter. “Remember how much you used to enjoy sketching?”
“I thought you should,” he countered. “You haven’t touched your paintbrushes for years.” We both registered.
On the day of the class, we each began with a canvas, black as tar, and a palette covered with blobs of oil paint. Under our instructor’s careful tutelage, we stroked, blended, then stroked some more, adding colour in layers. Alizarin crimson, cadmium yellow, phthalo green, titanium white. Light emerged, like breaking dawn.
Almost total silence surrounded us, then a few comments floated over our easels. “This is amazing.” And, “My husband’s never gonna believe I did this.” And, “Grrr…my tree just obliterated my best cloud.” Even, “Wow! I just thumb-painted the moon!”
It’s easy to wonder things while painting a little world. To imagine God’s thoughts when he created the speck in the universe we call earth. A big world, to most of us. But just what was God thinking when he made the giraffe’s neck so long and the avocado’s pit so large? Why did he put the strawberry’s seeds on the outside? Why is a baboon’s bottom bare? Of what possible purpose is the blobfish?
Like the Preacher and me, the Bible tells us that God found the process of creation enjoyable. Like us, he called each stage “good.” Unlike us, he never needed an instructor. (He also never tilted a horizon.)
We’ve decided to take the class again this year. We enjoyed everything about our first experience — fresh perspective, quiet creating, and the sense of accomplishing something well. We also like it when people tell us they appreciate our work. God does too — so next time you see a breathtaking sky, praise the artist.