Friday, May 19, 2006

Seeing the Beauty

If an artist wants to create great art, then he or she must learn how to see. Training our hands is a secondary factor. The most important sense for art is vision. Seeing clearly allows an artist to take life and re-create it elsewhere.

As I learn more about painting, it has become clear in my own art that the best work happens when I concentrate on what I see. My focus should open up on everything that my eyes capture. Noticing depth and contrast among the trees in my yard determined the colors I chose t on a painting given to my dad of his front porch in the mountains. Seeing the light reflect and break on Lake Oconee as a little girl shaped the waves I painted of the ocean. Seeing the colors shift through the water in my kitchen sink led to the painting of autumn leaves floating in water.

How does our own understanding of beauty in our lives change when we really start looking around?

My sister-in-law, Kelly, makes great music. She is a natural musician who can sing perfectly and play the piano as if it were second nature. I try to listen to Kelly’s voice when she sings. She selects notes and hears rhythms that I would never find. Kelly’s voice is her art. She finds beauty in the sound and the words. She loves a musician named Sara Groves, who also talks about beauty. In her song, “Add to the Beauty,” Groves says, “And this is grace and invitation to be beautiful.”

Grace, a gift from God that we never deserved, is an invitation to be beautiful. If we could find a way to keep our eyes open to grace, the beauty would float to the top. Lately, it seems that so many people are breaking. Lives, hearts, bodies, and relationships have so many cracks. Looking into grace filters in the beautiful.

Sitting with a broken heart, I had no idea how to get out of bed that day. My phone rang. An old friend knew just what to say. “Caroline, get up. I have an idea. No one can be sad at Disney.” I got up, grabbed my purse, and headed to the airport. My plane ticket was covered, and we found ourselves laughing through the Magic Kingdom just a few days later. Beauty is a friend who cannot fix a broken heart but can make me laugh.

A student of mine in Los Angeles was in the sixth grade and her mother was terribly sick. We drove down to the welfare hospital in Long Beach and found her mom lying in a bed, waiting to see her little girl. I watched that girl climb up into the bed with her mom and sing old Diana Ross songs. Her mom died two days later. Beauty is a mother and daughter who got a chance to sing the same song.

Jesus saw beauty constantly. An adulterous woman would tell her entire village of the living water that He gave her. Another woman would wastefully pour out a perfume worth a year’s wages as a gift to Jesus. He saw her sacrifice as a beautiful act of love and worship. A dozen rogue men decided to give up their lives, careers, and commitments to follow Him. Jesus knew they were the leaders that would continue to tell His story.

Suffering seen through the scope of grace somehow transforms into beauty. How can we open our eyes and see the beauty growing out of the sorrow in our own lives? Please, Lord, help us to see.


Blogger SneakerProphet said...

Beautifully and artfully said. Thank you.

5:25 AM  
Blogger the reverend mommy said...


11:17 AM  
Blogger the reverend mommy said...

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