Sunday, November 15, 2015

Paintings from Big Bend...So Far...

"Majesty" 18x36, Oil on Canvas

I've been quietly working here in the cabin for two weeks. I have about 6 paintings done so far. This is one that I will show you now. I finished it just a few days ago. This is the Dead Horse Mountains as you look out from Panther Junction (where I am staying). One evening as I was walking around the area I saw this incredible turquoise sunset with a reflected rainbow. The subtle layers of the ridges and rocks of the distant mountains make these slight color changes that are exciting to try to get at.

One of the things I've been doing with my time is journaling and just talking with God about this experience. I've noticed my senses seem to be clearer. I hear things I haven't before and notice my own sounds as I move and have my day. I am aware of the light and color shifts as they slide across rock that the day before was a totally different color. I want to share some of my thoughts I wrote out from my journal these past days. It's raw and I'm no writer. I know that. But it gets closer to how I really felt and the things that are churning in me.

11/8 Early

Perhaps one of the ways we've forgotten to be in communion with God is this loss of senses. We live in a culture that seems to want to "wear out" the senses. As if to have "more" of something will make the sense a deeper experience. Maybe that comes from being so numb. Have we forgot how to hear God? This wild place reminds me how our senses used to be heightened by silence and sound. Like the Park Rangers here who know what bird is there by their song. When we finally see them they take great delight in not just the sound but the sight of them. It's not the need for MORE bird it's the trueness of seeing a bird and hearing a bird in it's natural ways. Acknowledging its presence and experiencing the bird through it's own will and freedom. This is the true way of hearing and seeing.

I feel this way about colors. I see them in the sky and land and yet it takes me wrestling through the hues and connections to get them on canvas. Once I have something right though I can delight in it. My senses got me to that path. It opened my heart and mind to what I was truly feeling and by it I can see better.

11/8 Late Morning

In John 3:7-8 Jesus says to Nicodemus, "The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound but you cannot tell where it come from or where it is going.  So it is with everyone born of the Spirit..."

If the Spirit has a "visual" analogy of the wind, fire and water (fire at Pentecost, water as the baptism of the Holy Spirit) then man is earth. We are shaped by these elements. I see it so clearly here. The water has smoothed rock. Lava has opened up the earth and caused giant forms to push up from the crust and rock. Wind has shaped the trees and rocks to individual shapes. I believe Lord, that you speak through this analogy of nature. It is not simply metaphorical. It is real. Delightfully, wildly real. This earth is to be sensed, traversed upon, to be exhausted by. It is the heavy metaphor of it's Creator. It is also never truly or fully known only for us to experience our small bit. My foot upon a path. My breath taking air. The wholeness is God's. Mine is the shaping.

"Man is so related to all of nature, that he is built of small worlds. When God made man, "of the dust of the earth" He put into the compound fields and forests complete. All the mountain ranges of the world. Suns and moons and all animals and plants and minerals...Man is a bundle of worlds which lie calm until stirred by the appearance of the material symbol. Thus all of nature is found in man." - John Muir


  1. So excited to see this...been waiting with anticipation for your first share...beautiful. Love your journal notes as well...wonderful thought provoking words. xo

  2. With your words, you paint wonderful images on the canvas of my mind.
    With your materials, you paint wonderful
    images before my eyes.

  3. Agree with both of above comments. This painting is majestic! Eager to see more!