Beauty from Brokenness: Sunflowers After Sorrow

Vincent Van Gogh had a favorite expression: “sorrowful, but always rejoicing.”

Henri Nouwen said of Vincent:

“His life and paintings illustrate the three components of the spiritual life.

In solidarity we cry out with those who suffer.

In consolation we feel deeply with those in pain.

We offer comfort by pointing beyond our shared human pains to glimpses of strength and hope.”

Vincent himself wrote: “In a picture I’d like to say something comforting, in the same way as music.”

Art has a way of re-framing the darkness we experience in our sorrows, and helps us to see the light and the sunshine of hope that brightens life once again.

We have cried with those who suffer and felt deeply with those in pain this week.

We need comfort to be pointed beyond our pains to glimpses of strength and hope.

May we find this comfort in a glimpse of the sunflowers after the sorrows.

van Gogh Sunflowers

“I’m thinking of decorating my studio with a half dozen pictures of sunflowers, a scheme in which raw or broken chrome yellows will burst forth against various backgrounds — blue from the palest Veronese green to royal blue — and framed with thin wooden strips painted in orange lead.

The kind of effect you get with stained-glass windows in Gothic churches.” – Vincent Van Gogh

Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy. Philippians 4:8 VOICE

Help us Lord to decorate our lives today with sunflowers, to rejoice again in light and life, and find comfort in the beauty of the glimpses of strength and hope all around us.

Linda CrawfordLinda Crawford

 

 

 

More Beauty From Brokenness:

Lost and Found

Lost and Found

Recycled Orchestra

Recycled Orchestra

The Becoming of an Artist

The Becoming of an Artist

Beauty from Brokenness: The Becoming of an Artist

broken man

Jesus is the supreme artist, more of an artist than all others, disdaining marble and clay and color, working in the living flesh. – Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh was a broken man when he first picked up his paintbrushes and pen.

He wanted to be a missionary, to follow in his father’s footsteps as a pastor.

Giving away all his possessions, he lived with the peasants he ministered to.

That wasn’t deemed fitting for a man of God.  It was deemed scandalous…and the church kicked him out.

In his brokenness, Vincent found a new purpose from God:

In that deep misery I felt my energy revive, and I said to myself, in spite of everything I shall rise again: I will take up my pencil, which I had forsaken in my discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing. From that moment everything has seemed transformed for me.

The becoming of Vincent van Gogh had begun.

He set out to paint sermons instead of preaching them.

Self-taught, Vincent professed he would rather paint people’s eyes than cathedrals, “for there is something in the eyes that is not in the cathedral.”

van Gogh

Later in life, as his brushstrokes became more bold, his colors violently vibrant, he wrote: “The uglier, older, meaner, iller, poorer I get, the more I wish to take my revenge by doing brilliant colors, well-arranged, resplendent.”

That’s coloring life beautiful.  🙂

gladiolas

Despite all the hardships and despair he suffered, and despite never receiving recognition for his art during his lifetime, Vincent van Gogh embraced beauty.

Henri Nouwen wrote of Van Gogh: “What beauty, what joy, and what ecstasy he was able to embrace. Mourning calls for dancing, dancing for mourning. Glory is hidden in pain. And in this mysterious duality that has become a duet, Vincent celebrates life.”

His brokenness became his art. His art, the sermon of his life . . . beautiful.

What sermons will you paint, write, create, and live today?

All the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross. Colossians 1:20 MSG

The broken pieces©Linda Crawford 2013

To read more about Vincent van Gogh click on these links:

Becoming van Gogh

Van Gogh’s Letters

Van Gogh: The Life

From Preaching to Painting: Van Gogh’s Religious Zeal