Updated: Dec 2

There's something that appears to carry an air of snobbery when someone casually tromps by magnificent giant portraits of Renaissance elites without more than a slight glance. But the horror I felt when I did this to "The Massacre of the Innocents" while visiting the Early Rubens Exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario recently. . . Well, it stopped me short. So I went back to contemplate.

 

This masterpiece portraying a difficult story ultimately left me speechless and emotional. And although the play-along audio described the meaning of the painting as being about the corruption of the greed for power, I imagined the fear that the corrupt leader, Herod, must have experienced, to be driven to order such a hit against innocent babies and loving mothers.

 

What proud, greedy, or fearful notions do I have that end up disregarding innocence or slapping rightness in the face? I often justify why I ignore this or that. Do you? What is the threat that looms darkly in our hearts?

 

The hard ironic reality is, that this little baby Jesus who escaped to safety while his peers were slaughtered, ended up ruling my own heart through his love and sacrifice. And perhaps the ultimate threat we feel is the submission demanded of us to accept the love God has for each of us -- For this would be an admission that our lives are unmanageable without Him. We need not be so proud as to think we can order killing the idea that perhaps -- we -- need -- God.

 

Art moves me when I stop long enough to notice and ponder it.

 

You can see the painting in colour here.

Rubens "Massacre fo the Innocents" 1611-12

 

Normally, I am kind of a recluse - especially when it comes to creating. I often avoid painting in public because the interruptions, well, interrupt my flow. However, once in a while, away from the fray, it's peaceful to work alongside other artists. My niece, Zanna Neufeld (a talented artist - https://www.instagram.com/zannaneufeld/) and I spent a brief but lovely afternoon with oils in my front yard, sheltered from the spitting rain by our sixty-foot-high, sixty-year-old Canadian Maple tree. When you get the impulse to do something not only harmless but something that might have the potential of enriching your life, perhaps -- just do it next time. Now I have a painting that holds my memory with someone I love.

 

 

 

"Calla Lily" 12" X 16" oil on canvas, 2019

 

How blessed I've been to have those sweet words uttered time and time again through the years! Grandmothers, mothers, sisters, and friends have all made me bowls full to the brim of love. As a child, I didn't necessarily appreciate the large chunks of tomato or the thin slimy mushrooms, but I knew someone had their hand in making me a meal with time, thought, and amazing herbs.

 

A while ago now, my sister was tweaking her next novel, "The Red Journal" (just launched this week), and commissioned me to paint inspirations based on some of the themes within it. SOUP was one that soaks through her novel. I'd never been asked to paint soup before, although on more than one occasion I had made myself homemade soup as a break from painting. The creative connection is not lost on me.

 

What is YOUR next bowl of soup going to be comprised of? Swirls of cool sour cream between hot gem-like beets? Creamy celeriac green spinach with a sprinkling of spicy red paprika? Please share your favourite work-of-soup with me!

 

While you think about which recipe to send or just cook up, let me share my thoughts on the literal "art of soup" - I sat down with my watercolours and inks and, dragging up memories of borscht and a cast iron soup pot, began my process. No two were alike...just like pots of soup. Some ended up being refreshingly light, others layered in gold-inked elegance.