“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
~~ Thomas Merton
Art! Oh, art! I have loved it all my life. It always amazed me that my friends would look at me weird when I waxed poetic from an early age. I was always different.
I have always drawn and painted, from the earliest age. Art was my minor on high school and in college.
Art makes me believe in God. Art is humankind reaching out and creating. This is what I believe the Bible means when it says human beings were made in God’s image. All humans are creators in some way or other.
Since cavemen times humans have created artistically. The cave paintings in Chauvet Cave in France are 30,000 to 32,000 years old. Imagine. Every culture on Earth has painted and carved and sculpted.
Oh, how I love to go to an art museum and walk around for hours, looking at every example from ancient times to the most modern of artists.
I have to mention one of my heroes. My art teacher in high school was Sharon Porter. She changed my life. She said things that influenced my entire life. She shaped me in many ways into the man I am today. She helped me see with different eyes.
The art I liked until I met her was very realistic art–photographically real. I scorned modern art.
Then one day we took a field trip into the city to the Art Institute of Chicago. Mrs. Porter insisted we go to the section with modern art. There was this huge black canvas, like 12 to 15 feet. It may or may not have been done by Mark Rothko…. I sneered at it.
Then she pointed something out. She had me sit down and really look at it. She pointed out that it wasn’t just black. And that it was all kinds of paints and textures and thicknesses and shades and values.
“You know what you’re doing?” she asked me. “You’re looking at black. You see black all the time–but you don’t see it. The artist is making you look at black.”
I remember being shocked! I remember the world shifting on — that — day.
Back home she pointed out all the art that was needed to create my favorite show Star Trek. “Do you think the creators of your show just randomly did things? No. The colors and shapes and patterns are all down to grab and engage the eye.”
I love to make art. I doubt any of my stuff will be on a book cover or be bought by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. But it doesn’t really matter you know? It was good enough that for almost a year I painted posters for the safety committee for the company I worked for. They went over so well that all three division of the company from coast to coast were using my posters! It was very gratifying!
And now? Now I am a writer and amazing artists are doing the covers for my books! Incredible! Amazing! Gratifying.
Art changes us. It brings us together. It says something. It entertains. It engages us–makes us think. It makes us laugh. It makes us feel deep emotions. It makes us feel closer to our spiritual nature.
And it’s everywhere…every day…all around me…painting my world!
I am so grateful for art!
All photographs (except for Hound Dog & Bean) by B.G. Thomas
1) Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness — Michelangelo Merisi, called Caravaggio
2) Egyptian Coffin Lid of Meretites (whose name means “beloved by her father“)
3) Large Totem Head — Henry Moore
4) The Focus Force, Isis the Ice Queen — B.G. Thomas