A Mass of Lilacs and a Profound Thought


My goal for this painting of lilacs was to create layers using negative shapes and flowing washes. I'm still not sure if the composition works or not - hoping that seeing it on the screen will clarify its strengths and weaknesses. I'd like to try using even lighter values and see if I can complete a painting in the palest hues - I love my rich darks!

While on our family trip to Saskatchewan, I brought my painting gear (this painting was completed there) and my two favourite watercolor books - Linda Kemp's Watercolor: Painting Outside the Lines and Kees Van Aalst's Realistic Abstracts. I took the time to do more than look at the paintings, and spent a lot of time thinking about my own goals for painting more expressively. I like seeing my thought processes come to fruition in my paintings!

A few years ago, I was talking with some friends about an artist I admired. The friend commented that while they loved this artist's botanical paintings, they were saddened by the fact that for that artist, her love for nature stopped short of praising the God who had created it. At the time, I thought it was an odd comment. Most of the artists I knew didn't consider their art to be an act of worship, and while I personally acknowledged God as the creator of the world and the giver of my own artistic gifts, I had never been certain as to how my painting could be used to glorify God. It's not like I am driven to paint Bible scenes or even Bible verses.

I realized recently however, that every time I am motivated to pick up my paintbrush, or even to mentally compose a painting in my mind, I am inspired by the One who made everything out of nothing. If everything was made by Him, and I was made by Him, then what we have is a case of the created (me) being inspired by the creation (the world) and at the root of all of that is the Creator (God)! Whether I am aware or not, simply by seeking to paint what I see, I am honouring Him who made it all. And being aware of that fact adds a depth of praise and gratitude that I could spend the rest of my life plumbing.

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” Isaiah 6:3