Painting masterpieces on a dark canvas is an interesting title but not one you would expect from a Christian author. Recently I was invited because of my wife to a small dinner and fellowship with some Cuban priests and their wives recently arrived from the island of my birth. I knew if I went it would not be my platform to teach anything or to bring them into any understanding. I just went to love on them and to hear their stories.
As we sat around the table they shared of the horrible conditions in Cuba and the abuse and mistreatment of the people by the Castro regime. They shared of things that a present believer in Cuba must do on a daily basis to find food and survive. I realized that their stories are nothing less than the stories of present day heroes of the faith. The price they paid for their faith is probably the highest paid by a human being in the Western Hemisphere today. It was quite overwhelming even for me, and I have seen and experienced much in the 60 nations I have been to.
For a moment I had to fight back the tears, and I understood why the Father had not let me return to the country of my birth since I left it when I was six years old. Anger and anxiety rose up at the same time, and for a minute the old Jose wanted to return to the original purpose for his life. Then quickly the Holy Spirit reminded me that man was dead, and that old purpose would never produce the lasting effects that only a relationship with Christ can.
To say these Christian leaders are traumatized is an understatement. We all are too to some effect until we can turn the page on our suffering and wounding in this life. None of us will ever get an answer here on earth to the Why question. We must trust in Him by Faith that whether good or bad, “All Things” will work for His divine purpose.
They continued to share, and it was then that I felt the Holy Spirit say, it’s time to quit giving glory to the devil for the bad things they have experienced, it’s time to ask the question, “How can we take these dark moments in our lives and use them to shine the Light of the Lord Jesus Christ better here and now in 2018?” Or, as I will explain in art below, “How can we us this dark canvas in our life to accentuate and bring clarity to the beauty of our King and High Priest of our confession?”
When we get that understanding, it’s when freedom truly comes. It is at that point that what the devil meant for evil, the Lord turns for good and to His glory. This is not an art class, but it is important to note in history what and how the Father has chosen to use to reveal Himself to mankind. I believe we are all on a journey and each of us is a canvas to tell His story to the world. We may not like it when He paints in black, but I believe there is a purpose for every stroke of the Heavenly brush.
I remembered from my college days hearing about great artists whose specialty was painting masterpieces on a dark canvas for clarity so I went to google and downloaded some examples. I believe God uses His creation to reveal Himself to man, and art is such a place where we see His hand prophetically.
Juan Sánchez Cotán (1561–1627) Quince, Cabbage, Melon, and Cucumber, 1600.
The Baroque painter Cotán was a fore runner of the genre of Spanish still life painting also known as bodegones. Cotán creates geometric arrangements of fruit and vegetables that are set in bright sunlight against an impenetrable black background. His paintings have a powerful realism through Cotán’s meticulous attention to everyday forms and details.
The term “Baroque” was initially used with a derogatory meaning, to underline the excesses of its emphasis. In its most typical manifestations, Baroque art is characterized by great drama, rich, deep colour, and intense light and dark shadows. Baroque art was meant to evoke emotion and passion. Rembrandt was a well-known Baroque artist of this period. It can be said the Baroque art was chosen to bring life to the stories in the Bible because of the high use by and support of the church.
The Calling of Saint Matthew below is such an example. (1599–1600), by Caravaggio
Notice the powerful effects of the beam of light, which enters the picture from the direction of a real window. This expresses in the blink of an eye the conversion of St Matthew.
Thomas Kinkade, the most popular Christian artist of my lifetime, uses the same style to portray his Christian themes. Thomas Kinkade’s worldwide acclaim stems from his well-crafted use of chiaroscuro – the use of strong contrasts between light and dark
Thomas Kinkade – Painter of Light™
“In more than twenty years as a professional painter, my consistent goal has been to create inviting worlds that draw people into their depths and encourage them to seek a better, brighter, more hopeful existence.
Here is one of my favorites by Thomas Kinkade. Its called “Remember Me”.
Again, this is not an art class, but you too are a canvas to the world. Let Father God paint His masterpiece to His Glory with your life.
Do you believe that the Lord Jesus Christ can paint a masterpiece against the dark canvas of your life? Can you trust your Creator to know from the date of your birth all that you would suffer for His Name?
If you can, I believe you too will be able to turn the page on the hurt and wounds of this age.
I am reminded of a poem by Cuban poet and freedom fighter Jose Marti who penned this poem under the abusive tyranny of Spain when it controlled Cuba;
Cultivo una rosa blanca
en junio como enero
para el amigo sincero
que me da su mano franca.
Y para el cruel que me arranca
el corazón con que vivo,
cardo ni ortiga cultivo;
cultivo la rosa blanca.
I will cultivate a white rose in June as in January
for the sincere friend who stretches out to me his honest hand
And for the cruel one who rips from me the heart which gives me life
I will not cultivate thistles and thorns
but I too will cultivate the white rose.
May the Lord teach us the meaning of that poem and give us the grace to do likewise!
Jose L. Bosque
May I suggest these two articles