Monday, August 31, 2009

Their Passports were stamped - We are Gone So Soon

I did myself a favour this week. I observed two funerals. For one I was in attendance and for the other I was among millions of television viewers. Each of the men was known for spoken and written words, for an enduring smile, for a lifetime of service to others. Each of them was a beloved grandfather. Each of them had experienced loss and heartache in life. Each exhibited a contagious joy and optimism. Yet, they could not have been more different one from the other.

Each funeral was two hours in length. Each was personal, touching and an appropriate tribute to each man’s memory. One funeral was unadorned, evangelical in content and well attended by two hundred people. The deceased was 93 years of age at death. The other ceremony was sacramental, Roman Catholic, attended by thousands and telecast globally. The departed person was 77 years of age when he died.

It was good for me to observe both of these memorial services because of the stimulus they have been to my determination as a man, a father and grandfather at the age of sixty-six, soon to be sixty-seven. The first funeral was that of Ted Handy, a ninety-three year old former church pastor who endeared himself to countless people by his thoughtfulness, personal contacts, and shepherdly care of people throughout his life. The second memorial service was that of Ted Kennedy, senior senator from Massachusetts who died at the age of 77. Familiar with some of the less attractive moments of Ted Kennedy’s younger life I was encouraged to hear from his sons and close friends that redemption and profoundly positive impact marked his mature years. People close to him, loved him. People who worked with him respected him. As for Ted Handy, his mark on others was indelible and consistent. He was courteous and kind and loving and unselfish and inspirational.

Since these funerals I have thought much about how I want to be remembered and I am concerned that I have done so much that cannot be recovered or rewritten. Perhaps in my mature years I can pave a soft path of love to the hearts of all with whom I have contact and specially those I love the most. I have some work ahead of me before my passport is stamped.

Job 12:12-13 "Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding? To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his."

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Natasha's and Jamie's Wedding Today

I am officiating an outdoor wedding this morning in Fort Langley. I am looking forward to this fun event at 11:00 AM. Christine and I met Cheryl Krescy in a magazine article that featured her Paris vacation apartment in the Montmartre section of the city. Cheryl is the owner of the Little White House in Fort Langley. She and her husband Gene and two of their friends partnered to purchase, renovate and rent this Parisian holiday spot called The Countess. (Go to this site and scroll down the right hand list of one bedroom.)

If you know anything about the Little White House, you know that all retail linens and clothing and all things ‘girlie’ are either black or white. It is entirely gorgeous but for an artist like me in love with colour, it becomes a bit, well ‘tedious’ in a pretty way, I had better add. I have to see Cheryl again today. Oh but today we are being liberated to broaden our colour chart. We were asked to wear colours of cream. That’s true! Colours of Cream. So it’s black, it’s white, it’s cream, sounds like a Michael Jackson song. I bought a tie specially for this occasion. It’s a lovely sunlit morning and it will be a perfect day for this wedding.

Today Gene's and Cheryl's daughter Natasha will marry Jamie Isaak and I have the honour of tying that proverbial knot. But of course as I have told the two of them and as I always say, the most important feature of this entire day is the vows they exchange with each other. Each is saying you can count on my faithfulness and love for a lifetime.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fountain in Place de L'Eglise

In the small town of Lourmarin in the Luberon Hills of Provence, Christine and I were introduced to the concept of time in the life of the French. Our gite (apartment) named La Petite Maison was accessed on the high point of the village after a modest walk up very narrow cobble stone lanes or one lane roads. The gite was within a tiny square (Place de l'Eglise)which contained other dwellings, an art gallerie and an historic Catholic church. Near the steps of the small church was a fountain where the sound of the water spout was comfortable and constant. Here is a painting I did while sitting on my porch. This square was frequented by daily tourists passing by. Pretending to be locals we watched them from the porch on the second level. The church tower bell sounded every hour, one gong for each hour, and one gong on the half hour. Everyone wears wristwatches now of course yet town time was still marked by the church bell.

Someone purchased this painting today and I will have it framed and then it moves from my studio to its new home. I painted the fountain en plein air, and enjoyed the reflections, the soft bubbles rising to the surface, the contrasting green vines on the bleached wall, the sunlit stucco walls of the house in the background and the wonderful contrasting light blue shutters of the window and door. Shutters are always closed for the night and invariably these were pulled shut around supper hour even with three hours of sunlight remaining. We foreigners tended to close shuttters just before bedtime.

The someone referenced above is a husband and wife who today, August 29th, 2009 celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. Congratulations my dear friends.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Right Brain- Left Brain and Art

Robert Genn’s twice weekly column ‘The Painter's Keys’ stirred my interest in right brain and left brain activity. It got me thinking you might say with my left brain. Customarily I don’t do much thinking about how I think. I realize thinking is critical and persuasive. Thinking for Rene Descartes was the evidence he required to verify his existence. “I think, therefore I am.” To arrive at his conclusion Rene was using his left brain.

According to this theory of the structure and functions of the mind which was developed through research in the late 1960’s the human brain has two ways of thinking. The right hemisphere or right brain is visual and processes information in an intuitive, subjective and simultaneous way, looking first at the whole picture (holistically) and then the details. The left brain is verbal and processes information in an analytical, objective and sequential way, looking first at the pieces then putting them together to get the whole. American psychobiologist Roger W. Sperry was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1981 for his 1960’s work in this research field. , although subsequent research has show things aren't quite as polarized as once thought (nor as simple).

I took the test. Apparently according to this quiz I am 75% right brained dominant. So with the other 25% I must have managed a great deal of administrative and organizational and journalistic projects over my lifetime. My son Jeff will appreciate this line. "If the left brain controls the right hand, then only left-handed people are in their right minds." Judging from the most of the material I read on the subject we have pretty much bought this concept.

If you want to read something clinical that blasts holes in the notion that one hemisphere dominates your personality then follow this link in which the dancing girl spins. She will be moving for you either clockwise or anti clockwise depending upon whether your right or left brain is dominant is the popular theory. There is a suggestion that you try to focus to change your perception that the dancer is moving in the opposite direction to your initial impression. My initial perception was that she was turning clockwise which is a right brain observation. But as I became absorbed in mentally processing the words beside the picture I was suddenly conscious that she was dancing anticlockwise. She switched a couple of times as I gazed. This Neurolgica blog demythologizes the right and left brain beliefs with some scientific explanations of how our brain sides are massively interconnected and work together as a seamless whole.

You can subscribe FREE to Robert Genn’s newsletter. Here is his welcome letter.

Here is a great page with resource articles on right and left hemisphere influence on the art of painting.

Take the right brain/left brain quiz

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

MASHUP Data Integration and More - Chapter 2

MASHUP Data Integration and More - Chapter 2

As I said yesterday, I learned a new word which I needed to explore. Here is a mashup of sorts, as several different chair styles intended to be suited with their own style become a row of seating unique to itself.

Even fruit can be a mashup when the creator experiments with several fruit.

I mentioned four mashup genres yesterday, one of which is music. This is perhaps the most controversial because of the possibility of infringement of copyright law when portions of songs are incorporated into something that is purportedly new. An example can be found in the mashup on YouTube called Pop Music United State of Pop (Viva La Pop) which uses the top 25 Billboard hits. You can see and hear it here.

The term mashup suggests the reuse, or remixing, of works of art, of content, and/or of data for purposes that usually were not intended or even imagined by the original creators. Remixing and mashup have a history predating the current digital information explosion yet today the properties of this digital environment has provided everyday users like me with the power to redo, revamp, rewrite, and reassign information in unprecedented ways. I can copy, combine and remix ad infinitum. Sophisticated mashups are conducted by web and program designers, by marketing and merchandising, by educators and researchers.

Our digital technologies hold out great promise yet create cultural and logistical challenges. Mashups complicate this arena considerably for educators and policy-makers. What can be legitimately deemed an original work? How shall assessment of originality be done and creativity rewarded? What risks are inherent in this borrowing, user-friendly atmosphere?

Read Brian Lamb’s article on Educause.

The brand images today are interesting logo mashups, a combination of two brands into one in each case.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

MASHUP Data Integration and More.

Where have I been? I learned a new word today but the word has been around for a long time. CBC Online Radio menu introduced me to the word this morning as it promoted an audio show that airs tonight at 7:30 pm on Radio One. The promo says “Canada is a country of mashups. People from different cultures find themselves living and working together here — bumping into different values, assumptions and different ways of doing things.” Did you notice how I gave credit for this quotation?

This is the universal symbol for mashup.

So much of what I write and what I paint is mashup. How I think is mashup, come to think of it. When I write a blog post for GPS, I typically have an idea, develop it and add expressions and images I have accessed from internet sources. Invariably the product is mashup. If I use artists' images I source them with credit. I even do that with some photographic images. I have even asked permission for use of some of these. Where I quote verbatim I source the writer. In the mashup universe, giving credit is a lost courtesy, even though some will say it is a legal requirement. This is under constant debate.

So I pulled up the Wikipedia definition for Mashup and learned about four mashup genres.
1. Mashup (digital), a digital media file containing any or all of text, graphics, audio, video, and animation, which recombines and modifies existing digital works to create a derivative work.
2. Mashup (music), the musical genre encompassing songs which consist entirely of parts of other songs. The basic idea of a mashup is that you take samples of existing content (audio, video, text), and put them together into something new.
3. Mashup (video), a video that is edited from more than one source to appear as one
4. Mashup (web application hybrid), a web application that combines data and/or functionality from more than one source.

More mashup tomorrow and the next day, and maybe as long as I do this, because apparently I don’t have an original thought in my head.
Sorry for the long delay between posts. I was trying too hard to be original.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


For the past weeks I have been working on some paintings reflective of some of my most appreciated memories. I love the people of France engaged in varied activities as you can see. I am hoping to produce many more before I hold a Studio Open House Show during the week following Canadian Thanksgiving. I will be sure to inform you of the exact dates and times. My Ron Unruh Online Gallery contains a collection of visual art images.

Beggars are everywhere. Some are disgusting with their abrasive and manipulative approaches. Others, like this mother, who sits outside an historic church in the city of Arles, are genuinely needy people. One looks for an opportunity to help with a small gift. She was neat and clean and sat all day and evening on a small green mat as she leaned against the ancient church walls with plastic cup in hand.
"Mother Begging in Arles," 20X24 in., acrylic on canvas.

Of course French patrons love, perhaps even live for their food and their exquisite wines, and everywhere music serenades and delights. Buskers are talented musicians and these three positioned themselves in late afternoons at a corner in Lourmarin where folk sat outside two bar/cafes enjoying the warm air and the music.
"Buskers at Happy Hour in Lourmarin", 20X24 in., acrylic on canvas.

Images are the property of the artist and must not be downloaded without seeking permission from the artist.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

G10 Group of Artists - Take 2

Yesterday I commented about the G10 Group of Artists from a relatively uninformed position. Numerous artists whose work I perused have mentioned the G10 on their websites so I wanted to explore their unique discipline of meeting weekly to paint, talk and dine together.

Robert McMurray kindly corresponded to fill in some further details. He organized the group in February 1999 and initially ten artists comprised the group which became known as G10. Over time these full time members were joined by others who came as their schedules permitted. Among the early members were such well known artists as Brent Heighton, Mike Svob, Brent Lynch, Rick McDiarmid, Susan McIvor, Sheila Symington. Bob thinks that possibly Bernie Major and Susan Falk were also with the original number. Occasionally Robert Genn, Alan Wylie, Janice Robertson, Suzanne Northcott and Jeanne Duffey met their colleagues for these delightful days. Space was rented at Beecher Place, lighting and assorted equipment and life models of course were provided and the drawing sessions were followed by a meal at Beecher Street Café. I learned from Bob M, that group members shared several shows at the Firehall Gallery in Delta. As life unfolded for each artist and other priorities arose, it was deemed wise to conclude the G10 group meetings and the group was dissolved in August 2007.

I couldn't properly display The triptych above called From the Water but it is an oil painting by Robert McMurray. It's dimensions are right panel 42" X 30"; centre panel 42 x 60"; right panel 42" X 30" and it is in a private collection. Images are the property of the artist. Seek his permission for use.

Oh, and by the way, my golf game yesterday was hot and cold much like my painting it seems.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The G10 Group of Artists

The G10 Group of Artists

I mentioned earlier the benefits of collegial arts activity and here is a group of artists, nineteen of them, who meet weekly as individual schedules permit. Their gatherings take place at the waterfront at Crescent Beach each Tuesday. During a three hour session the group does sketches of a hired model who does brief poses, some one to two minutes in length, others from five to ten minutes or longer. The value of these sessions for these artists is manifold but certainly it provides a regular invigorating atmosphere for developing or fine-tuning drawing skills. One can imagine how inspiring such meetings are to an artist’s creative imagination and motivation when in the company of friends and peers. This ritual exercise is followed by a lunch at the Beecher Street Café. Christine and I celebrated our forty-second anniversary at this quaint dining facility last Wednesday. Can you imagine the stimulating conversations over lunch when that many artists converge? The G10 holds occasional group shows.

I don’t know the names of the entire group of local artist but among them are Maryanne Kamphuis, Kim Pollard, Robert McMurray, Bette Laughy, Kathy Johnson, and Susan Falk. You can check their web links to their names.

Perhaps you can even write to one of them to inquire what is the derivation of the G10 nomenclature. I can’t – I am off to a Golf game.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

August 12th, Our Forty-Second Wedding Anniversary

I proposed to Christine over the New Year celebration that took us from 1966 to 1967. She came with me from our autumn semester at college to my family home in St. Catharines, Ontario. My proposal took place in Niagara Falls, within sight of the colourful night spotlights shining on the cascading water. I was not on bended knee but bended butt, since both of us were sitting in my father’s car. As I opened a velvet ring box, I asked Christine Francis May Langlois to be my wife. I wasn’t confident that I had selected a ring that she would like, so my jeweler friend, Dave Burke from Bancroft, supplied with others. From a paper bag under the car seat I pulled six more rings and set all seven boxes across the dashboard. Christine still wears today, the ring that I had chosen for her. She says she still loves it and she is glad that she never changed the high setting so popular 42 years ago.

Two years ago, on our fortieth anniversary, Christine and I together with our children and grandchildren, commemorated that marriage marker as the two of us exchanged vows once again and then our grandchildren released forty red helium-filled balloons into the skies, and we watched these rising representatives of our promises disappear into the distance.

I began my college experience and then stayed out for a year to work. When I returned, Christine, having enrolled the previous year, was there as a sophomore. I liked her at first glance. I developed a ridiculous crush very early which was to be unrequited for some time because she was interested in other guys. In fact she was dating one with a shiny new model Chrysler. I had a VW beetle which I had received in trade for a painting. I painted the car blue with red wheel rims and white hubcaps and white running boards. When her relationship with Chrysler was over, I wasted no time. On one of our first dates in that little car with holes in the floor boards, I sang love songs to her. “At the end of the rainbow, you’ll find a pot of gold. At the end of a story, you’ll find it’s all been told. But just tell me you love me, and you are only mine, and our love will go on ‘til the end of time.” I loved her long legs in the pleated skirts and the matching sweaters. I loved her long chestnut hair. I loved her dancing dark brown eyes. I loved her.

On a sunny and warm day in August 1967, the year of Canada’s Centennial, the year of Expo ’67 in Montreal, we exchanged vows before family and friends. We were so young. Our parents have passed away. We have grown older. We are our parents now.

I love Christine still. She wanted always to serve God. I was training for Christian work as a church pastor. She was a soprano of astounding ability being trained classically. So many of her personal aspirations over the years were set aside to accommodate motherhood, geographical moves, and ministry life in the proverbial goldfish bowl where everyone watched. She encouraged me to complete a master’s degree and a doctoral program but for various reasons out of her control she couldn’t complete her ARCT in voice or get a teacher’s certification. Yet she has taught private lessons, begun a music school, led choirs, led a national worship leaders association, and shown interest in countless young people through the years. She is a woman of commendable character, spirituality, resilience, and joy. She has always made me happy to come home and she makes me happy to be alive. Happy 42nd anniversary sweetheart!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Gerry Thompson – Watercolourist Extraordinaire

Gerry Thompson is an award winning painter living nearby. I wish I could say that we know each other. We are email acquaintances at this point. The connection began while I worked on the campus of Trinity Western University and admired some of her original watercolours that have been gifted to the university. I made contact via email and she was kind enough to respond and we have occasionally written to one another. The invitation was extended and I have yet to visit her studio but I know that I could learn so much from her about developing my art life both as a painter and a marketer of the work. She graduated from the Fraser Valley College majoring in painting and printmaking and she also taught for several years at the same College in the Continuing Education Department. In fact, some years ago, a group of her students founded The Fraser Valley Watercolour Society. She has received many awards for her paintings many of which are located in collections throughout the world. She is a Signature Member of the Federation of Canadian Artists and the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour. She does not need my brief blog post but you deserve to enjoy a glance at her work in her attractive website.

Visual art is one facet of this gifted woman’s arts enthusiasm. Prior to her first painting she pursued music. From her childhood she gained musical skills in piano, violin, accordion, organ and synthesizer ultimately acquiring an Associate degree from the Royal Conservatory of Music in solo piano performance. For some time she was a college music instructor and for years she taught individual music lessons in her studio.

She has focused her energies upon her painting during these recent years, to the extent that she momentarily questioned whether she should get a life and concluded “this is my life!” Her bio material contains this information (borrowed here without her permission but used with great respect.) I am in awe of her watercolour skill.

GPS Application
(Quoted from her bio) “Teaching is also one of my loves. To see a budding artist or musician grow and excel gives me great joy. I don’t believe in the philosophy of “I don’t have any talent”. If a person has the desire, the tenacity, a positive open mind, and a good work ethic, one can become accomplished in his or her chosen field of interest. I believe that we do our best creating in a positive and relaxed atmosphere.”

All images are property of the artist and not to be downloaded without the permission of the artist whose email is on her website.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Restoring Arts to the Church

The arts have had an important role in the Church at certain times in history. Arts have also at other times been abandoned. In over forty years of church work I didn’t consider the need for a biblical understanding of the arts by the Church. Since I have stepped back from active Church ministry, I have become concerned and objective about the arts in Church.

Christine and I visited numerous churches and cathedrals during our two months in France this spring. In most of these historic settings religious art is one of the attractions as it has always been. The wing of the church in which my life has been spent is cautious if not uninterested in the Arts within the Church. Of course many church goers love the arts in their private lives and homes but it stays outside the Church. The reasoning is that there are more important life and death issues with which one should occupy time and thought. Many gifted people have not been encouraged to develop this creativity or been validated by the Church. Not until recent years in evangelicalism has the door been opened to embrace the arts. For artists and artisans this is liberating. It is also right.

Early in the Old Testament story of ancient worship God called a person named Bezalel to make ‘artistic designs.’ That identifies artistic expression as a spiritual calling and creativity as a gift from God. Those who have such a calling and gift show their obedience and appreciation to God by using them, not exclusively outside the church but inside to be sure. The arts should be incorporated into the life of the Church in its worship and service. We humans with a relationship with deity are commissioned to form the culture in which we live rather than be formed by it.

GPS Application

Exodus 31:1-6 “Then the LORD said to Moses, "See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts - to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship. Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also I have given skill to all the craftsmen to make everything I have commanded you”.

* Philippe de Champagne, Bruxelles 1682 - Paris 1674, "Le Christ mort couche sur son linceul" (with what emotion must this artist have painted the Christ slain for sinners. You don't worship the artist or the art but the Saviour that the art enables you to approach with a heart made tender by the sacrifice.

I credit the Lausanne World Pulse e-mag for informing and inspiring me.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

JACK TURPIN - Invites the Viewer to Pause and to Look

I had an opportunity to talk with Jack on BC Day during a garden art show at the Birthplace of B.C. Gallery.

Jack Turpin
enjoyed a career as a school teacher. In describing his art passion his style of prose, a sample of which I have selected from his website bio material, tantalizes the reader so much, you want to sign up for lessons, no matter what he is teaching.
From an early age I was attracted to various painting media, but the immediate and direct qualities of drawing commanded my greatest attention from that time to the present. However, the undeniable tradition of impressionist and realist painters of the Canadian landscape has exerted the greatest influence in my painting. Having been brought up in a province where the built environment is usually dominated by the overwhelming beauty of its natural setting, I tend to direct my gaze to the literal edges of human activity - where man and Nature overlap, but Nature predominates. As such, the appearance and influence of man’s presence usually assumes a subtle role in the subject matter of my paintings. Recurring themes in my art are soft light and summoning shapes, which hint of a story untold or a destination not fully revealed. I see my role as an artist not unlike that of a storyteller. I invite the viewer to pause, look more closely into lengthening afternoon shadows or follow a beckoning, overgrown path.

It makes you want to see his work doesn’t it? Give yourself a treat and check his website. He is an exemplary practitioner of journaling and his is an art journal. He often displays this delightful book along with his art pieces. It is a veritable collector’s item. What a painter he is! He renders wonderful landscapes but he also has an imagination which requires expression in scenes he creates.

He has received deserved and welcome coverage in area news and the Federation of Canadian Artists magazine. Enjoy a video "Two for the Road" displaying his work and that of his close friend Perry Haddock. Both were teachers at H.D. Stafford Secondary. They paint and show together frequently (photo of Perry and Jack together). Another close amigo is Darren Perkins, and all three meet weekly to sip, chat and paint.

Jack Turpin's breathtaking website

* Roxanne Hooper, wrote 'Two for the Road' in the Langley Advance, posted on 20 Mar 2009
* Art Avenue magazine, A Federation of Canadian Artists Publication Vol.8 - No.6 November/December 2008, cover feature is "A painting in the life of... Jack Turpin"
* Brenda Anderson, 'Journeys in a Journal' in the Times Reporter, Aug 3, 2007,

GPS Application
Artistic expressions have the ability to influence individuals and cultures in powerful ways. The arts give an experience that impacts the whole person. When moved by a story we want to enter into its action and meaning.

The painting 'Sunrise on the Fraser' is the property of the artist. Seek the artist's permission at his website to use the image.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

An Affinity Group of Local Artists, Perkins, Turpin and Haddock

We have so many local artists who excel at their work. Most of these artists, like me, have worked at other professions while painting on the side and then in retirement, occupied their time with this pursuit.

Some time ago I enjoyed conversation with Darren Perkins, a Langley artist. We spoke about art, our lives and other artists and their painting. Darren is a retired school teacher and he and his wife also operated a successful pottery business. Darren is an admired landscape painter and it was a treat for me to become acquainted with him. (Paintings: above Perkins 'White Rock at Dusk2' and right 'Still Point', Gabriola)

Two of his close artist friends Jack Turpin and Perry Haddock are former school teachers as well. Each Thursday the three of them paint together. They share life, critique each other’s work occasionally, and encourage one another in this shared creativity. I have noticed that artists often form affinity groups for mutual benefit.

I know that you will enjoy their website displays.

Darren Perkins
Jack Turpin (Painting: 'Pender Island', left)
Perry Haddock (Painting: 'Shore Grasses')

These images are used with permission of each atist. Downloading is conditioned upon permission by respective artists. Their names are links to their sites.

GPS Application
Proverbs 27:17 observes that, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." That speaks to the value of the network or community of people with a shared interest, whether it is art or cuisine or spirituality.

Monday, August 3, 2009


The most essential ingredients of the Christian message bump against our culture causing friction and marginalizing Christians in the minds of the secular or non religious crowd. Christian views are trivialized, identified with the political right and all that comes with that and in this modest sense Christians are persecuted for the sake of righteousness.

We are each born into a culture and that culture does become part of who we are. Even if one is born and raised within an Amish community, one is acculturated. Oh the outside culture identified with the world has been avoided but one is resident within a culture nonetheless. So for most of us, culture is the TV we watch, the stores in which we shop, the place of our employment, the school we attend and the students with whom we hang out. The culture is all around us and we also contribute to making it ourselves. Culture is our context.

GPS Application

So if a preacher is going to be a relevant communicator, he cannot ignore the culture within which his listeners and he live each day. And even if he has managed to discipline himself to avoid some of the culture’s influences, he must understand that his listeners may be highly affected by what they have seen, heard and read. The preacher must not ignore the world because the Bible is relevant to the events of this culture. Cultural relevance is bringing God’s Word to bear upon the lives of people. When listeners catch on to the right now-ness of scripture for what’s going on with them, it can become transformational.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Properly Proud of Alex Colville

Colville is 89 years of age, has struggled with prostate cancer and bowel cancer and has a valve replacement in his heart.

He has said that his lifework is his effort to ask one question: What is life like? As Colville puts it, "You spend your whole life telling people what it's like to be alive." In order to affect this Colville has examined his surroundings in the Annapolis Valley, the shores of the Minas Basin, his home and his family. His children have been some of his models and Rhoda, his wife of 60 years has been the subject of many paintings.

He is very much aware of his age, the imminence of death, the legacy which he is living and the manner in which his mortality inspires his paintings. He understands that his work has stirred interpretation and sometimes controversy, telling the CBC's Life and Times "what troubles people about my work, in which they find mystery and intrigue, may well be the idea that ordinary things are important."

CBC has done an impressive interview with Mr. Colville recently and I felt privileged to watch it on my television. Canada is proud of this artist of provocative pieces which are recognizable around the world.

GPS Application
Alex Colville does not expect anything beyond this life. In the end we are all dead would summarize his view. Perhaps he might say that he has received honours and tributes enough to compensate for an afterlife. Do I wish that Colville embraced a biblical view of heaven and the architect of human life. Of course I do.

An interesting CBC audio interview with Colville Broadcast Date: Dec. 15, 1973 and entitled The vision of Alex Colville.

Copyright: A lovely site with his images. Any images here and elsewhere are the property of the artist. Used on this blog they are intended to give the artist deserved acclaim and to encourage the reader to pursue Colville art.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Bernard Major

You should visit Bernie Major’s art website. He is a productive and admired painter living in Langley, B.C. As a retired pastor and given my fascination with things celestial and beyond through all these previous decades, I found his introductory quotation from Sir Winston Churchill of interest. Churchill, a hobbyist painter and a good one, wrote, “When I get to heaven I mean to spend a considerable portion of my first million years in painting, and so get to the bottom of the subject.”

Anyone who applies paint to a surface over an extended time appreciates that this discipline is a constant learning experience. Advisors frequently encourage artists to paint every day. The gain comes from doing it more than by reading about it. A million years with brush in hand might make a few of us good at this. Bernie is good at it already.

Bernie’s interesting personal story includes service with the British military and the London Metropolitan Police Force as well as the Scotland Yard detective branch. After emigrating to Canada in 1969 he opened a private investigation company from which he retired in 1999. He then devoted himself to his painting. While he enjoyed watercolour, he transitioned to oils and thus emerged a distinctive colourful and textured recognizable style. Bernie is an active member of the Federation of Canadian Artists with numerous juried competitions to his credit. He also belongs to the G10 Group of Artists, who meet every week for life drawing sessions at Crescent Beach.

Take a look at Bernie’s enjoyable work.

GPS Application
Back to Churchill’s comment. I have certainly explored biblical data to answer the question of what we will do in heaven. Some information comes from the apostle John who envisioned three heavenly activities in Revelation 22:1-5. They are serving, seeing and reigning. That has some appeal. The service will be for God and we may as C. S. Lewis suggests, govern a distant star, or do you think as Churchill surmised, we may paint God a picture. We will have all the equipment and skill equal to the task. As to seeing, we will see God and in seeing him we will be like him. Finally we reign together with God over the majesty of a universe outside of time and without parameters.

Let's keep painting. Johann Sebastian Bach wrote every composition to the glory of God. I should be able to paint my work to his glory too.

The painting image is copyright of the painter and not to be downloaded without permission of the artist.