Willem van de Velde the Younger Ships in a Gale

In our last living room we cultivated what we call an Art Wall. I can’t remember how we came to the decision to cultivate an art wall, maybe it was a Pinterest thing? We decided on a theme for our decorating scheme and then slowly added pieces that fit. One year for Christmas we put Starry Night Over the Rhone by Vincent Van Gogh on our Christmas list. After we received this first print we decided we should design our wall. We picked out the frames at Michaels, designed an arrangement and went to work filling the frames. Now in our new apartment it’s going to be an art filled Portico. 

Ships in a Gale is one of the most thought provoking pieces I selected. It has such powerful imagery for me and reminds me that God is in charge of the wind and the seas. No matter my circumstances, no matter my storms, He is Creator and over all. With just the sound of His voice He can make this tumultuous scene be still.

willem-van-de-velde-the-younger-ships

I set this painting as my background on my laptop and shared it with a coworker, she was shocked and appalled by it until I told her what it represented to me. You see, when she looked at it she saw imminent danger and destruction for the ships and an angry sky and sea. I look at it and am reminded that even in turbulent seas, my God is powerful enough to keep me safe, protected and at peace.

Psalm 107:28-31 

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
 He made the storm be still,
    and the waves of the sea were hushed.
 Then they were glad that the waters were quiet,
    and he brought them to their desired haven.
 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!

Mark 4:35-39

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling.  But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”  And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.  He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”  And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Matthew 7:24-27

 Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.  And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, Georges Seurat’s

My taste in art has changed so much over the years. For example: I used to hate impressionist paintings. I wanted clear lines, and strong definition. I’m sure art critics and other more knowledgeable artists and the like may fight me on whether or not all pointillism is impressionistic in nature, but to me, in my simple appreciation, and for the sake of my preferences and appetites, it is/was impressionist.

In High School, I remember seeing the works of my peers on the walls outside of the art classrooms. I remember thinking that some of the pointillism works were just incredible. I remember one particular piece that my friend Kara did of a cowboy. It was so incredible, more than 10 years later it still has an impact on my appreciation of art.

Over the years, I have developed a deep appreciation of pointillism (and impressionism, but that’s in different posts). I have enjoyed several pointillism pieces over the years now. I am especially drawn to the ones where each “pixel” is it’s own picture to make up a bigger image. I have developed an appreciation for the imagery and the message included in a piece of art that comes together as a big picture because of all the little pieces included therein. “The sum of all the parts…” and all that.

My proximity to the painting with a pointillism piece provides me with a variety of experiences. I love that the closer I get, the more I strain to see it up close, the less I can see clearly. I love that stepping further away brings the image into focus. Life application- the further I get from a situation/scenario the clearer I am able to see the lessons and the bigger picture. (Betcha knew that was coming!)

Georges_Seurat_-_A_Sunday_on_La_Grande_Jatte_--_1884_-_Google_Art_Project

This piece, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” I love because: it’s french, it’s on/near the water, there are sailboats in the water, mountains in the background, elegantly dressed individuals and leisure.

Over the years I have created a tendency in my behavior where it takes a lot to slow me down, to make me pause or rest. I’m in a deep season of rest right now. I’ve been calling it sabbatical. A time to pause, to consider, to taste, enjoy and delight. I have been blessed recently with the opportunity to do a lot of traveling, reading, volunteering, building and cultivating friendships, developing new hobbies and devoting time to my health and fitness. Some of these components are “leisure” and this painting reflects these concepts to me.

This painting by Seurat calls to me deeply in the tones of rest, delight, enjoy, be still. Being near the water is very soothing to me. Ask me my favorite place to be on any given day/time and I’ll let you know it’s at, near or on the water. There’s something about the water that grounds me, centers me and causes me to be still. This painting reminds me to rest, to be still, to have my soul restored, to pursue delight.

Some of the verses that are brought to my mind by this painting:
Psalm 23: 1-3

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
     He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
     He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name’s sake.

Psalm 46:10

 “Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!”

Isaiah 30:15

For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”…

Nicole Mink by Hope Mink

I wish desperately that you could have the honor of meeting my mother-in-law/love. She was one of the most beautiful, godly, kind and strong women I’ve had the pleasure to know and love. She is in heaven now, dancing, singing and praising Jesus with a healthy body. 

Hope was a phenomenally gifted artist. I have a few hand drawn cards from her that I treasure dearly. She was gifted in creating art in several mediums. As Jeremy and I contemplated the pieces of art we wanted on our wall(s), we considered the pieces we were drawn to and somehow we stumbled on the idea to ask Momma Hope to make an original piece for our home. 

Jeremy and I asked her to make a drawing for us. We took a few photos, sent them to her and asked her to do her version of Head of a Woman, Leonardo da Vinci .

When we went to see her during her last days she was very insistent that we take with us this treasured piece. (Forgive the glare, I’ll eventually improve the photo to better represent this beautiful gift.)

  
We are so grateful to have this beautiful reminder of her love and influence in our lives.

Starry Night Over the Rhone by Vincent Van Gogh

This piece was the first one we obtained for our collection. It was a sweet gift from Tim/Dad and Hope/Mom.

vangogh_Starry night over the rhone 1888

To me, this piece is about romance, travel and wonder.

I’ve always enjoyed looking up at the night sky. I like to think about the words from Psalm 8:

Psalm 8:3-6 (ESV)

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,

My favorite constellation is Orion. I quickly search the night sky to find Orion’s belt every time I’m outside and can see the stars. I’m encouraged to wonder and dream while looking at this painting.

I’d love to take a walk by the Rhone with Jeremy under a star lit sky. Additionally, my husband is incredibly romantic. He loves me well. He loves me deeply. This painting reminds me that I am well loved.

A fun discovery happened after we acquired this piece. Our piece is a canvas reproduction. After receiving this and placing it into our frame we realized that truly we want prints on paper unless we are buying the real thing.

The Houses of Parliament, Sunset Claude Monet

The Houses of Parliament at sunset is one of a set of scenes that Claude Monet painted. I don’t know if it was a personal challenge to him, if he just really enjoyed this view or if it was a task given to him by an instructor, whatever the case this is the one I like best.

800px-Claude_Monet_-_The_Houses_of_Parliament,_Sunset

I’ve always been a fan of watching sunsets and sunrises. Growing up in Michigan I got to see some incredible sunsets over Lake Michigan. In college out my dorm window I was also able to see breathtaking sunsets over the Blue Ridge Mountains. One year I lived in Jacksonville, FL and made a point to drive out to the ocean to watch the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean- beautiful. While Jeremy and I were in Hawaii we watched both the sun set and rise over the island of Oahu and the Pacific Ocean- so serene.

London is definitely on my list of places I must enjoy, so this piece is a reminder to travel! Also, I love this piece because there’s an individual on a boat in the water enjoying the same scene the artist can see. I love the shadows and the light. This is a very peaceful scene to me. The closing of the day, the world at rest.

Again, here’s another impressionist piece that snuck into my preferences! I love the reflection on the water of the building, and the setting sun. I love the colors that light up the sky. God’s the master artist in this scene and Monet is catching a glimmer of the majesty.