About Me

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I now live in Victoria, after a couple years on the North Shore of Vancouver, and a (too) brief time in the prairies. Working as an artist, mother and wife (not necessarily in that order), i am striving to live well, to find the truth of God in all things, and to pass on this truth to others.

Monday, August 16, 2010

beauty will save the world - Dosteovsky

I sat by a babbling stream today, watching my children trying to dam up the current.  I painted some dew-laden lily-of-the-valley.  I breathed deeply when I entered my home, savouring the colours and fresh hydrangeas.  I ate maple smoked bacon. 
It was a beautiful day.

I'm reading a book entitled "for the beauty of the church - casting a vision for the arts", edited by David Taylor.  I've only made it through the first chapter so far, but am already deeply encouraged as an artist, and as a Christ follower.  I'm not going to summarize, but I'll let you in on my favourite quote:

Our attitude toward art ultimately has a great deal to do with our attitude toward worship.  Much is at stake in whether we think that our worship is a free response to grace or an exercise in persuasion, an effort to get either God or people to do what we want them to do...There is a kind of art that is too easy, too willing to let us off the hook, too comforting and too culpably ignorant of what exactly grace costs.  At the moment, we find this most often in the bestselling art of the Christian subculture than in the secular art world...

I wanted to jump up and down when I read this.  Often I feel this pull to easy art, and easy Christianity, that looks a certain way and seems useful (the painting is useful because it has Biblical subject matter....I am a useful person because i did the laundry and played with my children).  But is that truly what defines me?  what makes me adequate -  my usefulness?  is that what defines my art?  my worship? parenting?  marriage?  Do I live my life in such a way as to appease my God, to prove that I'm of some use, or to enjoy Him and all that He has given me? 

"the chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever" (Piper)

What I'm trying to get at is that it's enough for me to live in a state of dependant thankfulness, aware of God's goodness, eager to glorify Him, and to enjoy His beauty.  I need to look less at my usefulness, and more at the inherent grace in each inhale and exhale. 

I've been questioning these flowers I've been painting, like they're not overtly glorifying God enough (which I know is ridiculous).  And the time I spend working to make my house a place of beauty and rest and respite (is this important?).  And the lengths I go to to prepare a delicious meal (hence the aforementioned pasta sauce dilemna).  And the happiness I get from a good hair day and nice fitting pants (nuff said).  And how I stare at my children intoxicated by how beautiful they are (pride pride pride).  I'm encouraged because I believe that God is telling me that He is beauty, that He sustains and perpetuates beauty, and that I can worship Him in the beauty I find (and sometimes even create) around me.   I am finding grace for myself in the moment-by-moment of God's grace to me. 

in short form:  maybe it's okay that I'm a fanatic for beauty.

I heard the "beauty will save the world" quote on CBC, where a documentary went on to introduce a number of people who's lives were sincerly changed by an experience of beauty.  And I wanted to shout (actually, I might have), GOD is beauty!  He was talking about GOD!!!  My friend Cori recently asked me to paint an image of her being embraced by God, by her "heavenly father".  She later told me that the act of creating the image I would work from for the painting was very healing and confirming for her.  Amazing.  I feel so grateful to have been a part of that process, and I hope the beauty in this painting continues to change her world for years to come. (sorry the pic is a bit tilted)


  1. Love to you!! I have added you to my blog list. xoxo, hang in there! I love your succulents painting. How much is it?

    [[[hugs]]] I think you're the best and I'll miss you if you go far away

    Praying for you guys!

  2. the succulents were painted as a commission, but I'd be happy to paint them again. the one shown is quite small, 16x20?, and is $365. I'd love to do it HUGE for my own wall someday. I just finished a commission so have time to start another! let me know if you'd like one.
    love you too,

  3. hey Janet I love your comments on beauty...I just wrote this prose in the last couple of months that speaks of the same beauty. It is called "Essential Beauty"....I miss you and your heart.

    Tozer wisely said -
    “God waits to be wanted.”
    not a deity demanding devotion,
    nor a divine being sterile to the touch of humanity.
    You are a relational God,
    a torrid desire for connection of rich intimacy –
    vast is your capacity as a lover.
    You yearn for us to choose you –
    jealous for our presence in your company.
    Eternal life is not a concept of time,
    but your painting of relationship,
    knowing with transcending knowledge – Jesus.
    Awaken passionate adoration
    the beauty of your essence,
    your core arouses fidelity–
    enthralled with a new depth of longing.
    You are beauty essential-
    inviting romance.

    The feminine heart,
    mirroring the spirit essence of beauty,
    unique desire for intimacy -
    fragrant romance, sustenance and comfort.
    Connection is profound as
    her name is spoken,
    sweet sense of being known.
    She is an enclosed fountain of grace,
    a taste of the exquisiteness of God.
    Her vineyard in bloom cherished by men,
    yet defiled by wolves.
    Her fruit, a proposal of purity
    or poisoned power over males.
    So key to her core is beauty,
    unlatched by the world’s distortion, cheapened, shamed -
    this inlaid reflection of God.
    Aspiring to convey her creator’s image with radiance,
    attracting others to bond with life.

    She hungers for authentic beauty, romance, closeness, union....
    she waits to be wanted.

  4. Dear Janet, you inspire me in so many ways. I love you. I sincerely love you and thank God that we have been able to share part of the journey. I love your paintings...your words...your reflections...your vulnerability....your humour...your courage...your humility...your friendship. Thank you for keeping this blog. I'll be a faithful reader :) xoxo Jenny