A few days ago, Mark Shea posted on his blog a video of a speed painter, with only a tongue in cheek comment that his entire life had been wasted and he was a failure.
I haven’t been able to get the speed painter out of my mind. If ever I found an image for the world that is God’s and so often makes no sense to me, it’s this video.
Like the judges, I couldn’t see the image, even when the painting was done, until it was flipped upside down. Even going back and watching the video over and over, I can’t see it except for the smallest hints. And I know the image is there—and I know what it looks like.
I’ve had this experience before. Artists just see the world differently from the rest of us poor mortals. I once watched Dik Browne, creator of Hagar the Horrible, draw an image of hi famous Viking, I would have started with the hat. Dik started with the beard….and went from there, in what seemed like no particular order. A watercolorist I know painted a scene of pueblos for us—and started with the shadows of the roof poles on the wall. A talented young painter friend describes sounds in terms of color. I just hear…well, sounds. Even my own dear groom has a bit of that artist gene. He’ll take a picture of the strangest bits and pieces of the world, disappear into his digital darkroom and return with something totally unlike the image I saw going in.
No one really knows what’s in the mind of the artist until the work is done, and God is the greatest Artist of all. He not only works upside down, He has to accommodate the work of a myriad of apprentices who think they see the work but who all see it differently, are not particularly good at listening to directions, generally spill and smear the paint, argue with each other and try to elbow the Master Painter out of the way.
No wonder the world looks like a total, incomprehensible mess. I’m beginning to see the merit in giving up the effort to organize the world along the lines of my own mind. (I see the merits; I won’t be able to stop, but maybe I’ll be less frustrated when I remember D. Westry…)
Someday, the painting will be done and God will flip it over. Then we’ll see what He saw in His in mind all along, spills, splashes and all.