Paint Schoodic

We had another successful painting workshop at the Schoodic Institute in beautiful Acadia National Park. Join us in 2018!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Why I paint

Love and Deceit, Zhostovo papier-mache tole tray painted by Sergei Fillipov
Fine art is what you have left when you’ve removed all practical application from an art form. The quality of the work has nothing to do with it. Thus an exquisitely painted tole tray like the above is considered a fine craft item, whereas a mediocre landscape is a fine art item.

I can inhabit the practical sphere, but I tend to focus on the intangible. That is why I’m a fine artist. I’m a painter because that’s the talent God has given me.

Several of my friends sent me this piece on why Christians should create.

The Servant, by Carol L. Douglas. Not all nudes are meant to be provocative, of course.
There are, believe it or not, many Christians who are opposed to Christian art. I’ve heard it all, and at times their criticism has stopped me from working: nudes are bad (obscene). Representations of God are bad (graven images). Painting is a waste of time. You could be doing more important work. (By this last they mean, of course, fine crafts.)

In many ways, fine artists are more like preachers than they are like craftspeople. They structure their life and work around an internal reality that is invisible to outsiders. Nobody asks preachers why they spend time describing the Kingdom of God through words, but a lot of people question why artists think they should do it through images.

Storm clouds, by Carol L. Douglas. Landscape not only celebrates creation, it can be a profound metaphor for our spiritual life.

The bottom line is that this is the talent God has given me. Painting and teaching painting (and, yes, writing about painting) are almost the only things I do well.

Martin Luther said, “Love God and do as you please.” When he told me that, Rev. John Nicholson added that Colossians 3:23 says: “whatsoever ye do, work heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men.”

To me, that’s pretty much the last word on the subject.


Let me know if you’re interested in painting with me in Maine in 2014 or Rochester at any time. Click 
here for more information on my Maine workshops!

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