by Imagine. on Monday, 14 February 2011 at 20:34



I loved art from an early age. I guess it’s because my grandad was an artist. Although my grandparents stayed far away from us, we would always spend at least the summer holidays with them. It was an 8-10 hour road trip which, for a 5 year old boy, was the closest thing to ‘eternity’ I had ever experienced up to that age!

Vivid memories of the art studio still linger. The brushes and paints, the smells and atmosphere, the chaos of canvas sheets and half painted works of art, all these awakened such a sense of creativity. The beauty of the art works themselves stirred amazement at what is possible for a person to pull out of his imagination and place upon canvas for all to adore. How I wished I could join in the action, to grab a few of the brushes and become a co-artist with granddad. Unfortunately that was not allowed!

I definitely had my favourite paintings – the ones where the action of the artist was still evident, where the texture of a brush stroke or the flick of a palette knife was still clearly seen. In these pictures I not only saw the final polished image, but the thoughts of the artist, his boldness and freedom. The realisation that all these beautiful pictures came out of granddad’s imagination, caused me to wonder what art lay hidden in me.

Art became my favourite subject at school. The one style that captured my imagination above all the others, is called Impressionism. This style of painting does not attempt to capture a photo-realistic image, but rather to simply give an impression, hence the name ‘Impressionism’. The effects of light, movement and colour are combined in a way to capture the ‘spirit’ of an image rather than the facts. This has the effect of drawing the observer into an active participation, making a demand on one’s imagination to complete the picture. Ironically, this style is able to portray more of the spirit and atmosphere of the actual scene than the styles that are obsessed with capturing each detail.

Jesus often taught using stories and conceptual pictures. I believe that God often speaks in this ‘Impressionistic’ way – a way that engages our imagination and makes a demand on our creative abilities to complete the picture.

In this book I want to paint some conceptual pictures in this Impressionistic style. The hope is that each reader will complete these pictures themselves – discover within your own imagination the ability to recognise truth and beauty.

Throughout the ages people have recognised the hand of an artist in creation. David wrote:

The heavens declare the glory of God;

the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech;

night after night they display knowledge. (Psalm 19)

But, nowhere is the boldness and creativity of this artist better recognised than in the spirit of man. For in man’s imagination, He has placed not only the ability to recognise beauty, but the ability to partake in the creative process of expressing the character of the greatest artist. He invites us to join in the action – to co-create with Him. All that is, began in His imagination. In seeing and adoring His artistry, the question is stirred, the possibility is awakened: ‘what art lies hidden in me?