process

So then...

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Since the writing of my last blog post, “What if…” I’ve done some experimenting. In short, those experiments have gone really well (!) so I’ve entitled “So then…” That doesn’t always happen, but so far with this particular idea, it has.

See, a couple weeks ago, I woke up (at 2:17 AM) picturing a new type of artwork than I’ve ever done before, and all the tests and experiments I’ve done are remarkably encouraging. I think I’m onto something. Let me explain a bit more at this point…

I’m an oil painter and (not surprisingly) all my paintings are painted on a flat surface. Go to any of the art studios in Asheville’s River Arts District and notice what the painters are painting on. They are painting on flat surfaces. Go to an art museum and notice what all those framed oil paintings are painted on: flat surfaces. Noticing a trend?

But I’m going to paint on a flexible surface that can be bent in an arc shape. I have a furniture maker friend of mine (thank you Asheville Wood!) that is experimenting with me on this project. They are working on the wood runners (think cherry, black walnut, pecan, bamboo) that will be mounted to the wall (no visible attachments) and that will receive the panels of my artwork and keep them in tension, forming an arc out from the wall. That’s what I’m thinking, and so far, it’s working. I’m going now to the next step and actually fabricating a full size panel (rather than a small sample). I’ll cover the panel with flexible texture, Italian aluminum leaf, oil paint and resin. Resin is flexible? Yep. Turns out one or two layers are perfectly flexible and will provide brilliant color.

In theory, the colors I will apply to the panels will alter greatly because the angle of light will vary over the entire piece (because it’s bent in an arc). What’s in my head (and slowly coming to fruition) is a dynamic piece of artwork that can span many feet (either vertically or horizontally).

I’m excited!

People ask me all the time “when did you come up with this type of art?” and I always laugh and tell them I’m still coming up with it! I feel like I’m half artist and half mad scientist, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s just too much fun.

The next post on this subject will be photos of the prototype. Fingers crossed!

Steps Involved with a Painting Commission

Yesterday morning, I was in my “happy place”, finishing up a landscape painting I’m working on featuring the meadows and mountains for western North Carolina. My art studio had had several visitors poking in, looking at the completed artwork I have displayed on my walls and stopping to talk with me while I was working.

Around mid-morning, three women arrived and I remembered two of them from a previous visit. They had come in to talk about steps involved with commissioning a painting. Luckily, they had a laptop filled with some really beautiful photos.

These clients live in beautiful home near the eastern tip of Long Island and their home overlooks a bit of wetland and then a bay (Wickham Creek). They showed me photos of their home and some shots of where the painting would be eventually installed. And then we perused photos of their amazing view during each of the seasons.

So the first question to answer was “what is the subject matter for this piece?”. Over the course of the conversation, they decided on a view of the bay with the foreground being a mix of cattails and various wetland foliage. The problem was that there are trees in the way of the view they desired, but I assured them that that was an easy problem to remedy as an artist (I’ll just remove the trees in the artwork!). And this time of year, with leaves nearly all off the trees, they can just give me a good shot through the trees and that will give me the mid-ground and background for the composition.

Then we discussed time of year to be depicted. Their walls are a “golden retriever yellow, so a sundown would be too warm and winter would be too cool. We decided that a late September view (before the cattails were pruned off) would work great. Blue sky with some clouds maybe? Lush green wetland in the foreground with some early autumn rusts and golds (which tie in with the wall color).

It’s so much fun to sit down and talk through what the client is looking for.

The only thing left to decide was the size, but they were thinking something around 4’ x 6’ or maybe 3’ x 5’, as it is to be a real “statement piece”, hanging above the couch. As soon as they get home, they’ll measure their couch, and then get back to me. In the mean time, I did a little research and found that the average three-cushion couch is 84” long, and based on that, I did the following three plans:

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I’ll forward the photos to them today, so they can start thinking about the proportions that would work best for them. Then we will be ready to start, and about eight weeks later, the painting will be delivered to it’s new Long Island home!

This is how I generally work a commission. It’s so much fun to sit down and talk through what the client is looking for. Sometimes people know exactly what they want, and sometimes we need to talk it through. Either way, it’s really a lot of fun for me as I begin to imagine the completed work. As we talk, the painting begins coming together as we nail down the plan: theme, colors, time of year, time of day, angle of the shot, best size for the space. All of that is great fun for me and I think my clients really enjoyed it too. The result of all that fun will be an awesome piece of art. That’s not bragging — it’s just really hard to go wrong with painting the view of the bay they were showing me. It’s going to be amazing.

As the plans come together and the piece is started, I’ll document the progress here for anyone interested in following along. Cheers!

What makes art "Art"?

  “Red Triangle”  Francois Pelletier, 2003

“Red Triangle” Francois Pelletier, 2003

Imagine one afternoon not long ago, you were visiting a rather famous art museum. Some of the art, you felt like you understood and you were feeling pretty proud of yourself. And then…you came into the “modern art” wing and and saw there, at the end of a long hallway, the huge master work by French painter Francois Pelletier “The Red Triangle”. Imagine please that this was your first time seeing this piece (maybe it is?). If that was/is the case, what is your visceral reaction? It’s okay to be honest. We’re all friends here. Many people (we’ll call them “Group One”) express that they have felt and received the message Pelletier was trying to convey and others (Group Two) laughed at the people in Group One, so whatever your reaction, you’re probably right.

What makes art “Art”? Do you know? Is there an actual answer anymore? See, what makes art “Art” depends upon several sometimes conflicting assumptions. Is “Art” beautiful? Sometimes, but not always? Is it disturbing? Sometimes but not always? Is it serious, whimsical, deep or meaningless? I know people who would answer with a resounding “YES!” to each of these descriptions of what makes art “Art”. Eventually, you get to the point where everything and anything at all is art if you “think” it is.

But honestly, I think that is only possible because today in western culture, we’re not allowed to have any form of “measurement” when it comes to measuring the value of art. I don’t mean that we’re not given any form of measurement, I mean we’re not “allowed” any. But if that is correct, then art (and artists) really are in a completely unique category.

Imagine you were planning a trip to France and you went to TripAdvisor to see what were the “must see’s” in France. The Louvre had five stars, Eiffel Tower had five stars, the restroom in front of Nortre Dame - five stars, the bus from the Arc de Triomphe to the main train station — five stars. And then you notice that every point of interest, every restaurant, every hotel had five stars. Well of course they do, it’s Paris, right? But seriously, if there was no judgement being exercised by anyone rating on TripAdvisor at all, if everything they rated was given five stars, what sort of help would that be? And do you really think that the bus from the Arc de Triomphe to the main train station “DESERVES” five stars? But “who are you to judge?”

So if there are not standards at all (and our post-modern western civilization tells us there are not), then is there such a thing as real art? Beautiful music? Skillful poetry and prose? Masterfully executed films? If your answer is yes, then how can our post-modern assumptions be correct? And if the answer is no, then how can we live in a world like that? Can you?

I’d love your input on this one. No judging here. This topic is a pretty big one and I will not pretend to be the ultimate authority here. It’s just my blog, that’s all. :)

"Aqueous Dream"

Several months ago, I was asked to create a large installation piece of art for a design showroom in Oklahoma City (30A Home). The place is awesome and amazing and they are displaying one other installation piece (multiple panel art) and several single abstract paintings of mine already.

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This piece was an unexpected challenge. Ha! I have found that the term “unexpected” is usually applied to all my abstract paintings because they seem to have a mind of their own. I tell visitors to my art studio that painting an abstract painting is a bit like raising a teenager: they have their own mind and don’t like to be forced to conform to YOUR will. They have their own plan. It sounds almost metaphysical (sorry) but my job as a painter is to figure out what each abstract paintings “wants” to become. Landscape paintings are totally different. They’re like the super agreeable and responsible first born kid. An abstract piece is, uh….not like that. This particular abstract installation was a particularly challenging painting, in that I painted it twice. I originally had my own idea regarding what I wanted it to look like. So I spent several weeks applying paint and not liking it. So I worked on it more and arm wrestled it into compliance…and..then…

It won. It did not want to be what I wanted it to be. So I killed it. (It’s okay. It’s just a painting. I’m anthropomorphizing it.) So in a fit of rage (not really, but it makes a great story), I covered over every single panel with fresh aluminum leaf and…begun again.

This time, I just picked a color palette and let it have it’s say. And oh my gosh, even after the very first then application of paint, I was so glad I started over. I loved it. There’s got to be a life lesson here. I should write a parenting book I think. Anyway, after several more weeks of simply “listening” to what this piece wanted and complying; gently coercing it to my will here and there JUST A BIT, it turned into something I am so proud of. Wooo Hooo!

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SURVEY: GLOSSY OR SATIN

Even before I became a full-time oil painter in Asheville's River Arts District, I was developing a unique way to create a painting using dimension, both in the build-up of the composition and in the finish (which has mostly been using a thick, high-gloss, solar-resistant resin). In fact at this point, I think I'm probably known for that "shiny" resin finish. I like it a lot. It allows me to embed flecks of gold that are essentially "floating" above the surface of the actual painting.

That said, my largest commissions over the last couple of years have been with a satin varnish finish, which leaves all the texture visible (and touchable) and is not nearly as reflective as the high gloss resin. And I'm really liking the results of that finish as well.

Lately, I have more and more people asking about the satin finish and so I'm thinking I need to listen.

And so I'm asking for your brutally honest opinion:

Would you suggest I continue to produce paintings with a high gloss resin finish or would you honestly prefer a softer finish that leaves more of the texture showing and is much less reflective? You won't hurt my feelings either way and on the contrary, you'll really help me decide what direction I need to go now.  (SEE PHOTOS BELOW FOR EXAMPLES OF BOTH)

 HIGH GLOSS FINISH USING RESIN

HIGH GLOSS FINISH USING RESIN

 SATIN FINISH USING SYNTHETIC (NON-YELLOWING) VARNISH

SATIN FINISH USING SYNTHETIC (NON-YELLOWING) VARNISH

So, what do you think? One or the other, some of both? Mostly one, some of the other? I'm really open to listening. If you could leave your opinion below (so they're all consolidated in one place), that would really be appreciated! Thank you!

A Word About Accolades

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Since it's Sunday and my "day of rest" in which I can enjoy some down time to think and relax, I was mulling over this past week at my art studio. There were moments of listening to critique and moments of listening to praise. I've written previous blogs about some of the critique artists can get, and learning how to gracefully listen to that critique (without punching someone) is a useful skill. But there is one skill infinitely more important to master and that is how to deal with praise. Not dealing with praise correctly, I think, can destroy creativity and ruin a life and I'm not being overly dramatic when I say that. I'm speaking from personal experience. 

When I was a kid, art was the only thing I did well. I was teased a lot and easily crumbled emotionally. But I found that if I created something artistically, the same people that teased me earlier would praise me. So...I wanted to be the best at art. And the insidious thing about it was that this determination was unrecognized by me (or anyone else) as being dangerous at all. What's wrong with wanting to be really great at something? We praise people who have grit like that. But I didn't just want to be great. I wanted to be greatest. And because I probably had some natural abilities in art, and because I applied myself to the extreme to creative endeavors, I was consistently the best artist in all my school classes and life was sweet. Until...

When I entered high school, I met a guy that toppled me from my throne: John Howarth. John was a nice guy and popular. But I kept my distance. I did not like John Howarth, because he ruined life for me. He was the first person I met that was a much better artist than I was, and for the next three years, I was forced to deal with being "second best" (which to me, felt like utter failure).

Thankfully, I can honestly say I learned something from that whole experience. I learned that praise is addictive. It's nice but the more you get, the more you need. It's never enough. I learned that I was USING my art and my abilities to create and bolster a sometimes sagging self image. But I came to believe that creative ability was not given to me as a means to an end. I firmly believe that art is a joy in and of itself. It is the gift, not the means to the gift. And interestingly enough, I can look back at my high school years and the emotional-spiritual processing going on in me and can see that that was a real turning point for me, and my creativity radically increased. When I stopped using art to get attention and "be someone" and simply enjoyed art, creativity opened almost unbidden, like a flower in my hand.

So, I feel sorry for people who are criticized. Unasked for critique especially is difficult to hear and not become instantly defensive. But I'm terrified of people who can't bear to not be "the best". I've been nearly destroyed by people like that. But I'm probably scared of them because I was just like that, so it's like looking in a mirror if I can be honest (and it's my blog, so that's my prerogative). They say that the things that bug you the most about someone else are probably your own weakest areas. I have found that to be true.

So for what it's worth, here's some advice:

If you're criticized for something you do, don't let criticism crush you. Listen to it. I mean, there may be some helpful nuggets of truth mixed in with all the garbage, so sort out the critique like someone sifting through a latrine for a wedding ring dropped into it.

If you're praised for something you do, just enjoy the praise for what it is in the moment it's given. Don't live off it or for it, and don't make adulation and attention that thing you need to base your life on. Personally, I need something much more stable and eternal for something that important. That's just my opinion. Happy Sunday!

World View #7: New Age Pantheism

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I've been looking at the major World Views of western civilization and have briefly described the affect those world views had on society in general and art in specific. This is because, as an artist in Asheville's River Arts District, I see the effects and influences of world views every day as I enter into conversations with people visiting my art studio / gallery. So personally, I find all this fascinating because it helps me know how to interpret the art I see around me, not just in Asheville but in every art museum and art gallery I visit.

In discussing this subject, I left off with the world view commonly referred to as "Modernism". A modernist would look at technology and design, and assume that the problems of mankind could be addressed and solved with the tools technology brings to us, thereby negating a need for a "higher power" to "take care of us" (so to speak).  At the turn of the 20th century, society in general was quite optimistic about the many benefits the industrial revolution had been bringing to society, and many people were convinced that the "golden age" was unfolding before them. Technology and design were seen as finally creating a world of peace and prosperity that we've always longed for. That infatuation with this new "faith" ended abruptly however when the world plunged into the first World War, a massive economic depression, and then the second World War.

And so, by the 1960's, society went shopping for another world view, and the return to spirituality was at the core.  Enter New Age Pantheism.

Pantheism was an attempt for a society which was "weaned" (as it were) on Judeo-Christian assumptions (see my blog on theism) to return to spirituality, but return in a way divorced from the assumptions theism espoused. For instance, New Age Pantheism taught: 

All of creation is One.  

Since all is One, all is god.

We are god.

Morality was viewed in terms of gray, not black and white. So typically, if you ask a New Age Pantheist "is this or that right? the answer would be, "well, is it right to you?"

In the 1960's, we see a society disillusioned with organized religion but still hungering for all things spiritual. For a couple hundred years, it was "old fashioned" to admit this spiritual longing if you were an academic elite, but now, people were "talking faith" once again.

So with the birth of New Age Pantheism, we see we see a return to the “spiritual” once again (albeit a decidedly "eastern" form) and we see people unashamed to talk about their faith. And by faith, I can not use the "western" traditional view of faith (a faith based on an agreed upon, established and authoritative "truth"). To a New Age Pantheist, faith is "believing something is true even if there is no evidence that it is objectively true. Faith makes it true for you." And so, once again, you heard people speaking of "the miraculous" and that there was more to reality than just the material world.

As far as the effect on the arts, consider the poem “Life's Journey” by Joy Light

You are the earth, and I the sea,
You hold and nurture me
While I play restless in your arms.
The sun warms and lifts me from your gentle touch,
Into the vast oceans of the universe,
Where I dart and fly in my human race with time and space,
Until in the light I blend,
Misty eyed with nature I transcend,
Like a raindrop drifting in the wind,
Then touching softly your arms again,
Knowing now life never ends,
Feeling now the peace within
.

Although the tenets and assumptions of New Age Pantheism felt "new" to those in western civilization, they actually were borrowed directly from Hinduism and Buddhism and packaged in a way that would be palatable to the western mind.  So at this point in history, we had a milieu of world views competing for the minds of people. If you went to a university in 1965, you'd be taught naturalism in your science class, nihilism in your philosophy class, pass some Hari Krishna's in the hallway, and get lectured by your modernist parents about keeping your grades up so you can get a good job. This created a western society with very little "common" assumptions about truth, morality and spirituality. And THAT discord leads us to the last world view we will discuss next time: Post Modernism.

"Trigger Warning"

St.Claire mountain landscape (full view)
St.Claire landscape painting (close up 1)
St.Claire landscape painting (close up 2)
St.Claire landscape painting (close up 3)

After the school shootings at Parkland, Florida and after watching a horrid video (that hit really close to home) showing a black man being totally brutalized by a local white police officer, several of my artist friends were talking and trying to process our grief and rage. This should not be normal. None of this should be normal. As the conversation progressed, we decided we needed to use our artistic voice to challenge our society to call that society to think and reason. This has turned into a multi-venue exhibition of art called "Trigger Warning".

As I said in my earlier blog about this, I wondered what I could do (as a landscape painter) to say something strong about this whole subject (because that's what it deserves). I really felt completely perplexed. But then in the early hours of the morning, the idea regarding what I had to do came to me.

Rather than wax on about what I wanted to say with this, I would like very much to know how it affects you, the reader/viewer. I have not titled this piece. What would you title it? Does this piece bring up any thoughts, emotions or questions? I'd really, seriously like to know. This was one of the most difficult paintings I've ever done (knowing what I was going to do to it to make it say what I wanted it to say). I would be very curious what exactly it's saying to you. Sincere thanks!

World View #2: Deism

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In this blog series, I'm looking back through history and tracing the effects of societal world views upon art.  By way of reminder, a "world view" is a fancy term (use it this week and impress your friends!) that simply refers to the "comprehensive conception of the world and how this world works", i.e. our basic assumptions about life. I think this is interesting and helpful because understanding the mind of an artist greatly helps us interpret (and maybe even enjoy) his or her artwork, and that is the point of this blog.

So in my last blog, I talked about theism, the dominant world view in Western Civilization until about the 17th century. Around that period of time, the mindset of the average European peasant was fixed in theism and the mindset of the average European academic was fixed in skepticism.  This was the time of the Enlightenment, when the West examined theistic explanations for why things are the way they are, collectively scratching societal heads wondering "WHY do we believe all this stuff?"  So you really had two basic camps: the religiously devout and the skeptics, and in between both of them stood the deists.

The basic assumptions about life according to a deist can be summed up this way:

Deism derives the existence and nature of God from reason and personal experience (rather than from a written scripture or religious institution).

Deism reject supernatural events (prophecy, miracles). According to a deist, God exists but does not intervene with the affairs of human life and the natural laws of the universe.

Deism accepts holy books of religion as interpretations made by other humans, rather than as authoritative sources.

Deism purports that God's greatest gift to humanity is not religion, but the ability to reason.

Deism teaches that there is right and wrong, good and evil based upon the laws set up by the Creator because by those laws, society runs best.

Where theism teaches that the chief end of man is to "glorify God and enjoy him forever", deism would postulate that that would be utterly impossible, because God is viewed as basically unknowable and distant. A deist would assume that God created the world but that he/she or it is aloof – somewhere out there beyond the stars but too busy and/or to grand to notice us much here on earth.  A famous illustration of what deism teaches pictures God as a watch maker who created this grand time piece and set it ticking. Then God left his work desk and left the watch to tick by itself.  And so a deist would believe that human beings still have the dignity of being created in the image of God but this God offers no personal relationship to men. So whereas theism teaches "God is here" (present), deism teaches that God is "out there somewhere" (unknowable).

How did all this affect artistic expression? Most notably, visual art was no longer centered on religious themes, but on natural situations in everyday life. Humankind was now at the center of attention rather than the Deity. To illustrate this, compare two examples. The first is of the Madonna and Child by Giotto di Bondone.

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What is the focus of this piece of art? It very obviously was painted to exalt the deity. Compare this piece to "The Concert" by Judith Leyster, ca. 1633.

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What is the focus of this piece? Obviously, people...human interaction with each other. Is God there? Oh, maybe off somewhere, but definitely not included in this moment from "normal" everyday life.

This shift in world view rocked all human expression. I have noted an example of this regarding visual art, but as far as music goes, one the most famous pieces ever written actually illustrates this world view shift with remarkable clarity. Beethoven's masterpiece, the "Ode to Joy" from the final movement of his Symphony #9 has to be one of the most beloved pieces of music in all Western history and perfectly illustrates the influence of deism. See if you can catch it.

"Ode to Joy" by Ludwig van Beethoven

Joy, thou source of light immortal,

Daughter of Elysium!

Touched with fire, to the portal,

To your radiant shrine, we come.

Your sweet magic frees all others,

Held in custom's rigid rings.

All men on earth become brothers,

In the haven of your wings.

Whoever succeeds in the great attempt

To be a friend of a friend,

Whoever has won a lovely woman,

Let him add his jubilation!

All creatures drink joy

At the breasts of nature;

All the good, all the evil

Follow her roses' trail.

Kisses gave she us, and wine,

A friend, proven unto death;

Be embraced, you millions!

This kiss for the whole world!

Brothers, beyond the star-canopy

Must a loving Father dwell.

Do you bow down, you millions?

Do you sense the Creator, world?

Seek Him beyond the star-canopy!

Beyond the stars must He dwell.

Do you see the shift? Whereas the piece by Bach I referenced in my last blog (Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring) had the deity as the center of attention, Beethoven has humankind at the center. Is God there? Oh, yes...somewhere "beyond the star-canopy...beyond the stars he must dwell".

So bottom line, a theist would say "God is here" and a deist would say "God is out there somewhere, but certainly not here". Theism holds out relationship with God as prime, and deism takes a big step back from that.

In my next blog, we'll progress to the next world view that hit the stage, that of "Naturalism". And by "Naturalism", please do not think of organic food and care for the earth. It's not that nice at all. But I'll save that for next time.

World View #1: Theism

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By way of reminder, what I am doing here is trying to help people appreciate and understand the art they look at. I am not going to attempt to get you to "enjoy" that art. No one can do that. You're not going to enjoy all art just because you understand it and that's fine. I understand sushi and I can appreciate the exquisite art of preparing it, but you won't catch me eating it because though I understand and appreciate it, I do not enjoy sushi at all. Sorry.

So what we're going to do is to try to understand and appreciate the art by understanding and appreciating where the artist is coming from (i.e. his/her world view). By "world view", I mean the comprehensive conception of the world and how this world works, i.e. our assumptions about life. The way I'll do this is to trace the historic progression of the dominant world view as it evolves through history. One note here...No one really holds to just one world view, no matter what we say. For instance, a religious person may intellectually hold to a theistic world view but act as though there were no God or higher power at all. A nihilist may say there is no real "importance" to life at all and that there is no basis for any moral standards at all, and yet act and live as though something like global warming WAS important and that it's "wrong" to be homophobic or racist.

So, when we talk about someone's world view, we're painting with a broad brush -- there will be exceptions because most human beings are anything but consistent.  That said, there is something to be learned from looking at the dominant world view an artist (or anyone for that matter) has because it helps us interpret everything else about them. It's not really fair to judge someone with my own standards even if I believe those standards are correct. What I would like to encourage you to do is to learn the standards of someone else and interpret their life and their art on that basis. Why? Well, because that is just respectful and I hope that's still a valued attribute to everyone reading this, no matter your world view.

Enough of a prologue. Let's get into it.

First of all, for thousands of years, the dominant world view was that of THEISM. The basic assumptions about life according to a theist can be summed up this way:

  • There is a God. He* has created everything there is.

  • He has revealed himself to the world (he wants to be known).

  • He is actively involved in the world of human affairs, i.e. what we call miracles are possible if there is a God.

  • God controls all things and provides a sense of order.

*By using the pronoun "he", I am simply acquiescing to the historical way of referring to the God of the Bible since that God is not portrayed in the scriptures as an "it" but as possessing a personality. That said, I need to be careful because that God is not portrayed as possessing a Y chromosome. The God of the Bible is not male; neither is he female but the creator and wellspring of all that is male and all that is female.

According to theism, there is actual

  • Good and evil

  • Right and wrong

  • True and false

  • ...and what you do (good or evil, right or wrong) ultimately matters.

The historic theistic world view states that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. It states unequivocally that human beings are significant because they were created in the image of God.

So, a question...

What would you expect visual art, music or poetry to look or sound like that is coming from a theistic world view?  Other than the obvious (saints and halos), any art that CELEBRATES ORDER may well be coming from a theistic assumption of the world. Sometime, look up the "Golden Section" or "Divine proportion" (same thing). It's an amazing proportion that artists and designers have been using since the days of ancient Egypt. That proportion is 38:62 By and large, your navel is at about the 62% mark from your feet to the top of your head, your elbow is about 38% from your shoulder to your finger tips. The dorsal fin of a dolphin is 62% back from the tip of its nose to it's tail. This proportion is in plants and animals nearly everywhere you look. It even dictates the planetary rotations of all the inner planets out to Jupiter, and is clearly seen in the location of bands in the rings of Saturn.  Architects have employed it in the design of the Great Pyramid and Parthenon and it was used in the proportions of the Ark of the Covenant in the book of Exodus.

The existence of order in any artwork (visual art, music and poetry) is a "tipping of the hat" to the theistic world view.

As far as music goes, take a break and go and listen to Bach's Fugue in G Minor. I don't care if you like or love Bach. Just do it. I chose this rendition of it because it comes with cool graphics (so it'll be entertaining!). Look at and listen to the incredible order in this piece of music. This is literally mathematics set to music, and it definitely comes from the strong theistic world view of Johann Sebastian Bach.

For an example of poetry coming from this world view I've selected a verse from Bach's hymn "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring", and as you read it, rather than agreeing or disagreeing with his assumptions very clearly written here, read it and understand simply WHAT his assumptions are. According to the lyricist of this piece, (ask yourself) is there meaning to life, does life matter, are people important?

Jesu, joy of man's desiring
Holy wisdom, love most bright

Drawn by Thee, our souls aspiring
Soar to uncreated light

Word of God, our flesh that fashioned
With the fire of life impassioned
Striving still to truth unknown
Soaring, dying round Thy throne

So that is Theism. In a theistic world view, you have a God who is there, who wants to be known by humans. BUT…everything eventually morphs. In my next post in this series, I'll look at the next world view, Deism and it's powerful influence on painting, music and poetry as well.