Tag Archives: Museum

Artist’s Date

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
Romans 1:20 (NIV)

Wendy and I will sometimes go on an artist’s date with friends. Often it’s just another couple, though we have done it with slightly larger groups. We typically go to the Des Moines Art Center because it’s close, it’s free, and it has an amazing collection of 19th and 20th century artwork. Here’s how the artist’s date works:

First, we wander together through the Art Center quickly browsing through each gallery. Each person is to be open  and mindful to pay attention to what particular piece of artwork strikes them for whatever reason.

Once we’ve made it through the Art Center, we then spread out, each person to the one piece that struck them the most as we browsed. This time, we stand or sit in front of that piece of artwork and look at it for 30 minutes.  There are no particular rules. You might look at it from different angles. You might get in close to inspect the brushwork. You might just sit in one spot and stare at it. I personally like to bring a journal (and a pencil, the Art Center doesn’t like you using a pen!) and write my thoughts.

When the 30 minutes are up, everyone meets back at the lobby. We go to a nice restaurant, order some good food and drink, and then take turns sharing what art work we looked at and what we gleaned from our 30 minutes with it. It’s always fascinating to hear others share.

When you look at an artist’s work, really look at it, you eventually begin to catch a glimpse of that artist. The painting, the photograph, the drawings, the sculpture are an expression of what’s inside the heart and mind of the artist.

We often forget that God first reveals Himself to us as Creator. “In the beginning, God created….” God is an artist, and the universe is an ongoing work of art as the heavens expand out into the seemingly endless canvas of space and time. When you look at creation, really look at it, you begin to catch a glimpse of the Artist. Detailed, ordered, and infinitely particular while at the same time infinitely playful and diverse in subject, composition, line, color, and form.

Today, I have the fortune of driving for several hours through forecasted rain and snow as I make my way home. My artist’s date today is in the Art Center of nature and I will focus my attention on God’s artwork: Prairie Winter. I can’t wait to see what new things there are for me to glean as I study the landscape.

chapter a day banner 2015

Wendy with a Red Halo

Wendy with the Red Halo

Some photos just happen in an unexpected moment, and this photo has become one of my favorite personal examples. Wendy’s favorite color is red. This past June while visiting Scotland’s Museum of Contemporary Art in Edinburgh, Wendy took a seat on a bench in one of the galleries to rest. I turned to look at her and realized that the artwork behind her made this gorgeous red halo. How apt. She had no idea why I lifted my camera and snapped her picture, but I loved the result.

Chapter-a-Day Proverbs 14

Image by Pernell via Flickr

Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.
Proverbs 14:4 (NLT)

For the record, I like a clean and well organized environment. Whether it’s at home or at work, I find it more peaceful and efficint when things around me are not cluttered and chaotic. I do not, however, feel the need to live in a museum. I never want my home to be a place in which I or any of my guests are afraid to touch, walk, soil, stain, spill, or generally mess up the feng shui.

The Vander Well home is intended to be a place of life. Our house is meant to be fully “lived” in. In my experience, if you are living life, then things are going to get crazy, chaotic, and occasionally messy.  I love a clean and organized environment, but I find that an abundance of life usually makes it hard to keep things that way at all time.

So, when you come in the door of our home you may kick off the shoes if by doing so you are making yourself feel more at home. But don’t do so out of fear of breaking the museum rules.