I recently received a painting from an artist in our church, a large acrylic on canvas. It was, in my opinion, an extravagant and serendipitous gift to me, a piece “commissioned” in a way for an upcoming arts event. It sat on my office floor for a few days, and as I worked at my computer, my eyes would continue to be drawn to it. After a while, I took down one of the posters on the wall and hung it in its place—just to get a better view. The colors, the movement, the voice that it spoke to me. After about a week, it had completely grabbed me.
Now I’m no expert on paintings, particularly abstract art. But there is something to this painting that moves me, that stirs something in me, and makes me stop and ponder. Art is often open-ended in this way, when it is not so much portraying a picture, but simply asking a question or emoting a feeling. Sometimes it takes time for the work to say what it wants to say. I guess that’s one of the things I like about the piece.
I asked the artist, Julie Lueken, if there was any way I could acquire the piece, entitled “Forgiveness,” and I even offered to purchase it from her, but she just said that I could have it. (Maybe she knew I couldn’t afford her!)
This is what she said of her art work:
“I was asked to paint a picture that spoke to forgiveness. I had thought on this for a few weeks before I started painting but had no clear direction of what to paint. I listen to music that inspires me and just start painting. It was good for me to just let the painting unfold on the canvas. When looking at the painting now, after it is finished, It is a completely different painting than when I started. I can relate to this personally. Forgiveness is so important to anyone who is a believer, and even those who are not, to be forgiven by someone is to be really loved by someone. Imagine how much we are loved by our God!”
There is some poetic appropriateness to this gift Julie gave me. Forgiveness is an abstract concept, an emotional transaction rather than a concrete one. And forgiveness is a gift, just as her painting was a gift to me. It is not something necessarily earned, nor can it be bought. And the transaction of forgiveness benefits not only the recipient, but the giver as well.
The work was created for a recurring event at my church entitled, “Mosaic: An Evening with the Arts.” You can get more information here if you’d like, and I would like to invite all of you to it. My special thanks to Julie for her very special gift of “Forgiveness.”