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Mar 20, 2018
“Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better.” - Andre Gide
Driving the Mabel Lake Road to get home to my little cabin was a unique experience. Not only was the 18 mile dirt road not paved back then, with some blind turns here and there, but every time anyone passed in other vehicles, the drivers would wave at each other, it was just expected. At Mabel Lake, everyone knew everyone.
Who was everyone, you may ask?
There were locals who were mostly farmers. I distinctly remember that there was a pig farm, because I lived downwind from one. And there was a turkey farm owned by a chain-smoking Dutch woman, who hired me to help her behead, dunk and defeather her turkeys one year (I'm sure I'm not using the correct terminology here). There was a marina on the lake with a funky kind of resort that catered to tourists from Alberta. There were other kinds of farms. Blueberries grew well there, and the sweetest corn I'd ever tasted. The people were the salt-of-the-earth kind.
The hippies, draft dodgers and back-to-the-landers, a transplanted group that included my sister, her husband and their friends, were a strange novelty to the locals, who observed and endured and often befriended the younger generation with benign tolerance and curiosity, as they lived in tipis or in cabins across or around the lake in homesteads. They lit their homes with kerosene lamps, often grew their own food and cooked it on wood stoves or over open flames, aspiring to return to a natural and simple way of life.
“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” Aristotle
After I met Christ in June of 1980, I had a profound conversion experience that gradually converted my sense of belonging. No longer did I fit in with or belong to the hippies and back-to-the-landers, but being in my late 20's, I was also younger than most of the farmers and local church community folk. Not only that, I came from the liberal cultural hub of San Francisco, and was very different from almost everyone.
But that didn't seem to matter. What had happened to me was a change on the inside. My eyes were opened to seeing people differently and I began interacting with people I never would have talked to before. It felt like for the first time, I saw each person as unique and beautiful for who they were, and it was a stunning change.
My art work was also converted. There were new pen and ink and other drawings that I drew, not from what I saw on the outside, but what I saw from the inside.
“Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art.” Leonardo da Vinci
By the light of my kerosene lamp in my little cabin at night, I recall a particular experience where it was someone else, most likely the Holy Spirit that guided my hand across the page. I was imagining God looking down on this little River valley I had grown to love, and I traversed the page with my ink pen, creating a topographical birds-eye view of what I imagined He saw when He saw us down here. There were ridges and ravines, edges and intersecting lines, then the lake that went on and on, with inlets and peninsulas.
I did several of these drawings and sold them all at the fairs. I also did portraits of people in quick 15 minute sketches, and they would wait in line for me to capture them in pencil.
Next time is about drawing portraits: Seeing
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