Vincent, Theo, Visual Arts, and the Church

Vincent Van Gogh, "Self-Portrait With A Grey Felt Hat III"

“Self-Portrait With A Grey Felt Hat III”
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Today I simply wanted to share with you two posts from CIVA, Christians In The Visual Arts, and my mental meanderings in regards to them. They came across my radar a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve spent much time pondering them; our pastor’s brief comments this past Sunday that the church needs to support high-quality films and other artists striving to produce work of excellence brought them back to mind once again.

That many of you are not Christians is of course known to me, but I sincerely hope that perhaps you will gain something from this as well, or perhaps even have encouraging suggestions for churches. As a Christian and a photographer, I spend a great deal of time pondering this and related topics, and really don’t have anyone to discuss them with. Thus you are my unfortunate guinea pigs. *wink*

To be brutally and perhaps cruelly honest, I ever don’t expect my church to ask me to exhibit my work (“It’s so UGLY! All of those abandoned places and rusty cars! That can’t possibly be of God!”—unpleasant to hear on several levels); they’re not really “that kind” of church. My parents’ church in Michigan is probably more likely to do so, though to be honest, my photography is probably not abstract or outlandish enough for them, either.* (Documentary photographer: Stuck between a rock and a hard place! I’m a glutton for rejection!)

Ohio Valley Church. Photo copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images; all rights reserved. Pinning to this page is okay.

This does not really bother me too much, so long as it’s sans the unintentionally unkind comments; even then, I have learned to deeply discount such remarks. Really, it is probably the church’s lip service about supporting artists that bothers me more than cutting words from those who do not like works based on specifics or who do not see a place for art and artists at all in the church. As a member of the body of Christ, is there no support for visual artists seeking and laboring to serve and worship God through their artwork?

All of that brings me to pair of thoughtful pieces at CIVA’s blog by painter and sculptor Ann Williams. They were inspired by her considering the life of Vincent Van Gogh—surely one of the most marvellous artists whose works we are blessed enough to enjoy today—particularly the letters between Vincent and his brother, Theo.

Continue reading


Monday Escape: Dreaming of Summer

Summer sky & trees along the Lincoln Highway. Photo copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images; all rights reserved, though pinning to this page is okay.

Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it. ~ Russel Baker

This photo is an oldie, but as a quick glance at weather maps reveals another deep freeze (here in central Ohio, we’re expecting temps to plummet near 40 below), I cannot help but long for summer’s warmth and humidity. Anybody else? At any rate, sharing a glimpse of a summer long gone (2007, to be exact—and I shot this from a speeding car to boot!) seemed like the kindest thing to do.

Happily, our little furnace issue has been corrected, so I’m no longer swaddling myself in sweaters and throws. Still, a very chill Friday inspired me to create a kaleidoscopic collection of flower-themed goodies, vintage and new, glam and snuggly to remind everyone that spring is on the way, followed by its still warmer sibling. Enjoy the springy beauty after the cut—perhaps you’ll find something to brighten your own home or wardrobe! Continue reading

Pen and Paper

Another collection of goodies from my fellow ArtFire artisans today—this one featuring a favourite set of tools: pen, pencil, and paper.

Though our world is becoming more and more technological, I still love the simplicity, reliability, and tangibility not only of these things but what they create. Whether it’s a flash of brilliance scribbled into a bedside notebook at 2AM, a love letter, thoughts jotted into the margin of a favourite book, or a note between friends, there’s something special about handwritten things—even more so in this era, when children are no longer being taught penmanship in school! (Don’t get me started on that.)

Anyone else love old-fashioned pen and paper?

Honey, give me some sugar.

Why should the kids be the only ones enjoying treats this week? I found some sweets-inspired “treats” of all kinds on ArtFire and wanted to share them with you.


I’m glad they’re not all sugary. And yes, I had to include the Jell-o. Wouldn’t have been right to leave it out!

Creepy Cute Desktop Calendar From Wild Olive

Well, this is too cute not to point out to y’all—a brand new desktop calendar for October from the talented Mollie of Wild Olive:

CM Capture 1

It’s free and fun (one never has enough opportunities to use the phrase “free and fun” in this life); I’m getting such a kick out of that little black cat’s grin! He sure does see to be having fun trying to scare us! Mollie now has iPad & iPhone wallpapers, too. Head on over to download!

Mollie’s engaging new calendar inspired me to whip up a black cat-themed collection of goodies from my fellow ArtFire artisans and vintage sellers; check it out below the fold! Continue reading

Classic Black & White

Yes, my photograph of St. John’s Baptist is featured in this black & white collection, but even if it hadn’t been—this is a beautiful, elegant assortment of handcrafted goodies from my fellow ArtFire artisans, all in black & white. Rather funny, since I was talking black & white ballgowns to a friend yesterday! Enjoy this simple feast for the eyes. 😉

That chevron coin purse is darling! Great for yard-saling, too…