Surviving the harshest elements on earth, the mountains stand firm, and the lonely tree stands with them. Mountains are one of the most magnificent parts of creation. They were made to be painted. As far back as my memory goes, I’ve loved drawing and painting them. When I was in Chicago, I work with an inner city ministry as a street artist. We would go into the gigantic housing projects and gather hundreds of kids for a Bible lesson. And, of course, there would be a 4′ x 4′ sketch-board for story telling. Nearly all of the thousands of painting I did over two decades had hills or mountains in them. An appropriate background for the good news of the Gospel with a scene of Calvary as the focal point.
We gave away those tempera water color paintings done on newsprint provided by the Chicago Tribune or the Chicago Sun-Times. Often, as every teacher knows, kids can become squirrelly. Especially when there are several hundred of them on a concrete pavement playground in the projects. That would be the time when I would announce that I was going to award my painting to the kid who sat the stillest! Magic.
I think I can paint the Lonely Tree with my eyes closed. Getting the shape of the hills right has almost become a muscle-memory reflex for me. The same for shading and texturing the individual slopes. I trained hundreds of Christian Sunday school workers, youth workers, evangelists, and missionaries to do quick work and be as artistic as their DNA allows. A few of my affiliates frowned on that because they thought the message was the only thing that mattered, that you didn’t need to be artistic. I agreed with the first part, but not the second. If God put art in you – it’s a great thing to let it shine.
The children appreciated beautiful scenes with hills, mountains, trees, and villages. My only regret is that newsprint crumbles after a year or two. Sigh. Hence today I use acrylics and canvas and wood. Heck, now my paintings, like the Lonely Tree, will last longer than anything the masters did. Archaeologists will find them a thousand years in the future.
16″ x 20″ acrylic & gesso on canvas
on a MightyWood Stretcher
My companions are of stone and not wood, yet they are my friends.
Solitude is a relative condition. Those who isolate themselves from only those of identical attributes will inevitably be alone. And if there was a way for them to be with only clones of themselves – they would be at war forever!