You know I love Matisse. His work has been a grand and gaudy inspiration, helping me build a pandemic portfolio.
I adapted one work to express how I feel about COVID-19. That happy little goldfish, hopping out of the bowl, has no idea the speed her little life will change, should the lurking kitty spring quickly.
Seriously, even when I sit quietly, I feel as if I am being pursued by an amorphous, monstrous, and patient threat. So, I don’t sit as quietly as I might; I paint. And Matisse’ colors are easy for old eyes to see.
Some of My-tisse’s Have Been a Mistake
Now, early on, I had tried my hand at a portrait by Matisse that intrigued me. I think it was the hat. I love hats!
But the finished product wound up scaring me.
My lady looked like she just got COVID-19! She had no charm, no panache; she just looked somewhat queasy.
But, I didn’t know what to do with her. I couldn’t just toss her.
Never say, “oops.” Always say, “Ah, interesting.” ~Author unknown
Since I had slathered the colors on this – it started as a black canvas — I wondered just how much Gesso it would take to redeem the canvas.
Not as much as I thought, fortunately.
Matisse, however, wasn’t the right muse for this makeover, though I knew I wanted bright and bold colors and design. So, I chose a present-day painter, Annie O’Brien Gonzales, whose works just makes me smile.
Goaded by a quote attributed to Claude Monet, I would like to paint the way a bird sings, I took out a big brush, and applied generous layers of Gesso.
Then, settling down to redeem a disappointing portrait, an idea took hold: God is in the business of redeeming seemingly ruined canvases.
Not exactly a revolutionary analogy: Oscar Wilde’s novel made the point that our soul is a canvas that our sins disfigure. But the HOPE that God specializes in makeovers is a good one to hang onto today. He won’t just toss out the messes we make of our souls!
If a mistake is not a stepping stone, it is a mistake. ~Eli Siegel
So, feeling my own determination to redeem what I thought might be a lost cause is a hearty tonic. As are the words, But God:
Revel in these two priceless words. Every thing, sweet and bitter, that will occur between now and the moment of your death God will work for your good (Romans 8:28), and every glorious pleasure that you will ever enjoy in your future eternal life in his presence (Psalm 16:11) because of the gospel of these two words: “but God.” (But God)