While I am not a big museum-goer, going to museums and art festivals feels like enjoying soul food. So is clicking on social media links to artists I’ve never met.

Having been taken as a child to the Walters, the Smithsonian, the National Gallery, and the Baltimore Museum of Art I could see before my eyes, the words of history illustrated. “Art” satisfied me — not like Utz potato chips, but close!

Having seen the mummies at the Walters, reading about ancient Egypt made sense.  The sweep of BMA’ s collections taught me just how much bigger the world might be, and gave me an appetite to learn.

The great artist is the simplifier. Vincent Van Gogh

Of course, in the 1950’s even those grand institutions could not have included all the richness that has since been added to their collections and exhibits.

Not that I like or understand all of it.

But, seeing a progression of Picasso’s work at the National Gallery of Art, a seed of comprehension took root, enabling me to understand how the 20thcentury – for all its “progress”  also destroyed hope and nurtured despair.

The 20th century was a test bed for big ideas – fascism, communism, the atomic bomb.  P. J. O’Rourke

All these big ideas and maybe more  influenced artists, especially two I admire.

These two painters who spanned the 19thand 20thcenturies, who understood their times well enough to capture the wonders and heartaches are rich fare for me. Their work feeds my sometimes starving, often scared soul. I met Henry O Tanner at the Dallas Museum of Art, and Sorollo at the Meadows Museum at SMU.

Finding Rest for My Soul

Wiki’s pictures don’t begin to capture why I so admire them. The size of their canvases, for instance — the sweep of the times they conveyed, were as complex and troubled as today’s; whether it was

Their work gave me a perspective on my times.  Tanner’s works calmed me: God’s word is creative and true.  Sorollo’s challenged me—see how others applied it!

About this time, we traveled to Fort Worth to enjoy an exhibition: Self-Taught Genius. Oh! my stars and garters! Artists and craftsmen have flourished throughout hard times – even though so many were not known outside their families. Thank God for folks who preserved these works, especially needle work created by “anonymous” slaves.

Self-Taught is A Methodology, Genius Is the Soul.

How will today’s headlines mold artists, and composers?

Park Cities Presbyterian Church in Dallas has sponsored several arts festivals that help us see the efficacy God’s unfailing word in the valleys of today’s world. An artist from the 2007 festival wrote of his painting:

soul food

“This concept came clearly – a housewife soberly doing daily life, aware of the toxic headlines, but still calm and confident in the words of a personal God even in the midst of sensational danger.  ‘Thou preparest a table before me . . .’ Sometimes this is effected by our own selves, through faith, empowered by God. This is our hope, our security, especially evident as evil engulf us- determined to steal our faith and shatter our peace. Finally, this is our victory, owning God’s provision while instilling the same in others – this hope, unpacked in real-life circumstances. All the glory of God.” (from the exhibit 23 on 23: 23 explorations on the 23rdpsalm; written and collected by Dr. Pete Deison, page 35.)

Finally, I am grateful to social media for introducing me to an artist whom I never met in a museum, Norman Gilbert.  Check this link out! He bowled me over, and challenged me – Look, see and do!

Dear Reader — We are never too old to create . . . and coloring outside the lines is not a crime – Painting: An Antidote in these Crazy Times 

soul food

Who is Allen Klein?

Who is Arthur Dove?

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