I have often wondered why I’m such a huge fan of art. Not just the aesthetically pleasing, but serious work that is loaded with meaning, passion, yearning, and spiritual truth.
In terms of taste, Rebekah and I are definitely eclectic, from detailed etchings by Rembrandt to Peter Max and his trademark splash of vibrant color. We enjoy landscapes by Andrew Wyeth, portraits by Itzchak Tarkay, and photographs by Nutting (see Tarkay, Rembrandt, and Max above).
Then – and before I get into my theology of creativity – there is our current favorite, an artist whose work literally pulsates with vibrant life. I’m talking about our daughter, Naomi, and the authentic life she pours into her art.
I have highlighted her work before, but recently our cache of Naomi art increased via a pen-and-ink she did for my birthday and her first stained-glass project, completed for Rebekah on Mothers’ Day.
The pen and ink (with wash) is a beautiful rendition of the classic Tree of Life. The image reminds me of the graphic we use at WFPC to symbolize our life together as a community called to worship and to love and to serve. Our mission statement is beautifully illustrated in the tree: “Rooted in Christ.” “Growing Together in Faith.” “Reaching Out to Others.”
God’s Joy and Creative Heart!
The best expressions of art, for me, speak of and point to the joy and the creative heart of God. I love the way our daughter captures the vibrancy of her own life and then uses it to tell a story that points away from her and toward God’s reaching in through time and space to touch us, and to offer the opportunity for humankind to participate in the ongoing work of creation.
That is both the complexity and the simplicity of the expression. For Mothers’ Day, Naomi created a simple piece of stained glass for Rebekah; simple, but rich and penetrating in meaning.
Like each one of us, stained glass captures, refracts, and passes on a light that is not its own. God – in creativity and light and love and grace – speaks both into us and into the world through us. Stained glass tells a special story and I hope Naomi can eventually develop her own studio.
This morning I walked around and took some photographs of the examples of Naomi’s work we have in our home. All I can say is, “Look out, Peter Max and Tarkay…”
Peace, and more – Derek
Enjoy this gallery of Naomi’s art:
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.