Friday, September 9, 2011

Cattle Painting

I was recently given many of the art supplies of my first cousin once removed, the artist Noel K. Edwards, who passed away over a year ago. The supplies include oil paints, watercolors, paper, pastels, stretcher bars, canvas, brushes, and more. This is a tremendous blessing as purchasing such supplies is very costly. Even though the paints are very old and many in rather poor condition they can be reconstituted in most cases because they are of very high quality.

Noel was an avid painter of landscapes and wildlife. (I was also able to acquire a number of his works). The animals he especially enjoyed painting were cattle, bison, birds, and dogs. He worked in watercolor, pastel, pencil, and oil. He was always nice to me and (in addition to my mother and Bob Ross) one of the people who inspired me to paint.

As though I were channeling him I have recently begun painting cows. When we lived in Virginia the property where we lived was surrounded by cattle, so they became a part of our life. I loved listening to their mooing, grunts and other noises. There is something inherently relaxing about looking at cattle. So I took tons of pictures and am now starting to paint them using the materials I acquired from Noel. I hope he is pleased! And I hope I can paint them with the same love, care, skill, and feeling that he did!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Artist and Priest - Part 2

In my previous post I commented on one of the differences between being an artist and a priest. In this one I want to briefly comment on one of the similarities. (Note: there are obviously many differences and many similarities between the two vocations. These that I mention are but two.)

Both the artist and the priest struggles to get people to care about what they do. Or put another way, the vast majority of people do not care what an artist does or what a priest does! Both vocations involve a great deal of internal struggle and self-discovery, and after that struggle the person wishes to share what he has learned and how he has grown with others to help them in some way.

How discouraging it is when he learns that despite his blood, sweat, and tears, and his years of labor most people could care less about his work or ministry! The vast majority of folk are not interested in art or God. Instead they are content to settle for kitsch and for idols.

The only way to survive the artistic ad priestly vocation is to expect rejection. In terms of the artist, he should expect to be a Van Gogh. In terms of priesthood he should expect to be a Jeremiah, or Jesus. Any success, or any message conveying thanks, is to be understood as an exception (a very welcome exception) to the rule.