Visiting the Walker Art Center & Minoring in Art

walker.gifYesterday with my 2D Design class I went to the Walker Art Center in downtown Minneapolis. I’d highly recommend it if you ever have a chance to go. I suppose I should clarify my reasons for recommending it. Outside of the Art Center there’s the Sculpture Gardens. Those are just cool. There’s a really big cherry on an even bigger spoon. It’s bizarre. But that just makes it fun. The actual Walker Art Center isn’t quite to my liking. There’s some modern art stuff in there that I certainly don’t understand at all. But I should probably try to be more open minded about it. Being immediately repulsed by something doesn’t mean that it has no value. Some people treat my work that way, and I’m almost insulted that they don’t look more closely. I should at least give some of these modern artists the same respect that I yearn for.

I’m taking a moment today to talk about art because more and more it seems like I have a connection with art. I’ve taken a few art classes here at Bethel, and I’m considering an Art Minor. I don’t consider myself to be an artist, but in some ways I may be inching closer to that title. This week I was working on two art projects that I had a lot of fun with. A portion of that work may be on this site soon. Also, today I picked up a pen and some paper and tried to do some drawing. Now I’m not good at drawing. It’s not one of my skills. But I figured I’d give it a try and practice a little bit. I took a drawing class last year, and I didn’t do too bad. I took a picture of my girl friend and tried to sketch it. I learned a few things. The creation of God is so beautiful and so magnificent, my feeble attempts to mimic it are laughable. The curves are so perfect and precise. The subtle changes in light and dark boggle my mind when I try to copy them. I think the artist certainly has a greater appreciation for God’s handiwork than the rest of us do. Try it sometime, it’s kind of humbling.

Sex and the Swimsuit Issue

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten that Valentine’s Day theme. Today’s topic? SEX.

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue came out this week. Could somebody please tell me what women in really skimpy bathing suits (or birthday suits in some cases) have to do with sports? It’s crap like this that associates airbrushed models with beautiful women in men’s minds and we have the misconceptions about beauty that I talked about on Sunday.

You may also have heard about a major study that came out today. It made the front page of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. It reported that 40% of women suffer from some kind of sexual dysfunction. The study suggested that the explanation behind some of those cases is “partner turnover,” or simply put, sleeping around. You mean having sex with lots of different people can cause problems? Gee, what a concept. Marriage was invented for a reason.

While we’re hitting the topic of sex, another report was released about sex on TV. Primetime sports an average of three sex scenes per hour. Isn’t that just wonderful? My first thought was that the cartoons are always safe. But then I remembered the recent previews for Fox’s “King of the Hill.” Every one of them I’ve seen has featured sex. Cartoons are not supposed to be naked. There’s just something inherently wrong with that.

I may only be a tiny voice crying out in a vast wilderness, but I’m going to scream just the same. Society is messed up, and something really needs to change.

Art is Hard

Art is draining. For the past two days I’ve spent almost every moment of free time working on an art project for class. I finally finished it tonight, and I feel so tired. And this isn’t even real art. I have a new respect for all the artists out there, be they painters, sculptors, musicians, writers, or what have you. Good artists poor themselves into their work for the benefit of their audience. Take notice of that next time and be a little more appreciative of the effort the artist puts into the work.

What Is Love?

Love. With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching (sorry for the continued topic, but it should be obvious that lately I’ve been working hard on my contribution) I’ve been pondering what love is all about. Love. What a stupid language we have that I can love my yo-yo, I can love my friend Adam, I can love my girl friend, and I can love God. All the same word, yet all have a different meaning. I could slip into a Greek word study right now, but that’s beside the point.

With all those different meanings, love is very hard to define, much less understand. It can get very confusing and cloudy. It doesn’t help when most people equate sex with love. It’s such a mixed bag that it’s really pretty hard to talk about. Yet I think love is very important. I think it has the ability to bring about a lot of change. But it also has the ability to fade into confusion with an over abundance of hearts and “I love you’s.” Do we really understand what we’re saying when we say those words? Do any of us even say those words? And why can I only say those words to my girl friend?

I think love is so much more. It’s something higher. It’s something that is grossly misunderstood today, even among couples that should understand it. I wish I could define it in exact language. The ambiguity is killing me. I just wish I could get a blanket statement, Love is x. I suppose there are a few of those. A chapter in the Bible lists off several (1 Corinthians 13). A certain cartoon featuring naked eight year olds who are married (as Homer would describe it) tries to explain what love is, and I think it usually does a good job. I think a lot of people need to understand these definitions of love. They’re not so commercialized and marketed. Love doesn’t come in boxes or bouquets. It’s higher than all that. And it’s something everyone needs.

The Depths of Love

Valentine’s Day is next Sunday, so I think it would be appropriate to talk about love and beauty. The following is an edited exerpt from an e-mail I sent to a friend talking about beauty.

“Art is not the application of a canon of beauty but what the instinct and the brain can conceive beyond any canon. When we love a woman we don’t start measuring her limbs.” – Pablo Picasso

Continue reading The Depths of Love

Rediscovering Hockey

Today I rediscovered the joy that is hockey. I’ve only managed to play once so far this year, so I donned the skates this evening and went out for an hour or so. Seth and Anders, the two ten year olds I played with, were really cool. They let me play with them and we had a blast chasing the ball around. The ice stunk, my skates were dull, and we were using a tennis ball. But that’s okay, it was hockey, and I loved it. Broomball may be a blast, but nothing comes close to strapping a pair of metal runners to your feet and gliding gracefully across the ice.

Grace in Les Miserables

Truly remarkable literature tells a story. But not just any story. A powerful story. A wonderful story. An enchanting story. A story that makes you sit back and think and wonder and dream. Tonight I watched the movie version of Les Miserables (1998, the movie, NOT the musical). It’s been a while since I’ve seen such an amazing story. If you don’t know the story, I’m not going to explain it. It’s not exactly that easy (which is what makes it such a great story). Basically what I find amazing is the measure of grace Jean Valjean receives. After being released from 19 years of prison working hard labor, Valjean is angry, bitter and resentful. An old priest gives him a place to stay, and Valjean attempts to steal his silver. When the police return the crook in the morning, the priest ransoms his soul, giving him the silver as well as the silver candlesticks, telling the police he gave the silver to Valjean. The priest’s act of grace astounds Valjean, and he goes on his way a changed man. He begins a new life and lends grace to others as it has been given to him. A near perfect picture of Christ and his love. When we were far from deserving, Christ pardoned our debt and sent us out on a new life. Our mission is to do unto others as Christ has done unto us. That is only the beginning of the story, and it unfolds wonderfully from there. But I found myself captivated and drawn to Valjean. His actions were odd. They called him a hermit. But he was living a life of grace. A life of love. Unbelievable. I could ramble for hours about this. I’m tempted to read the book now (with all my free time, ha!). Such a powerful story is the basis for any good movie, musical, play, or novel. It is a tale of this type that I desire to weave.

Wake up Fathers, Stop Snoozing Mothers

Daddy don’t you know that your daughter needs you? Mommy don’t you hear her crying in the night? She wants to be loved. She longs to hear your voice, nothing more than a simple hello. Yet you ignore her, turning your head as if she wasn’t yours. As if you never once held her tender little shape in your arms. As if you never loved her. Why have you grown so callous and cold? When did you shut your eyes and retreat into the night? Where have you gone that you left your daughter so alone? How can you–how dare you treat such a precious gift, such a priceless treasure with such apathy? Some day you will weep when you realize what you have done. Your cheeks will streak with tears and no one will be there to wipe the pain away. You have started this pattern of neglect and someday it will return to haunt you when you realize the daughter you thought you loved is gone. And by then it will be too late. Wake up you fathers, stop your snoozing mothers and know the mess you have made. There may still be time.

Complain and Bicker

Complain, complain, complain. Bicker, bicker, bicker. Sarcasm. Cynicism. Little, tiny annoyances. Differences. Flaws. Stereotypes. I put you in a box and you put me in another. The lines are drawn. You stay over there, and I’ll stay over here. Our societies are splintered. Our communities are divided. What I feel is important. What I want is important. What is different from me, what is not what I want, is wrong. I am important. I am number one. You are secondary. Is this how we are called to live? Then why is it the predominant attitude? Why don’t I look out for someone else?

Macs are Pretty

One of my roommates just got a brand new Macintosh G-3 yesterday. It’s the snazzy new bluish looking Mac with the big handles. Personally, I’m a PC man. I use a PC. I like a PC. I’m some what biased to a PC because it’s the only thing I’ve used (besides my old Commodore 64, but that doesn’t count). But I must say, the new Apples are rather appealing (pun definitely intended). They look good, I mean darn good. They’re aesthetically pleasing. Almost beautiful. There’s just something about a colored computer that’s cool. It’s not your run of the mill computer, which I guess is Apple’s whole deal (Think Different). I do have to wonder how people who care about interior decorating feel about the new Macs though. In a college dorm room, it really doesn’t matter. Just an odd thought. So what am I saying? Nothing really, just that I like what Mac is doing. They’ve got a nice ad campaign going, they have good looking computers, and they don’t have Bill Gates. No other computer company can say that. Hmm, maybe I’ll have to start looking into a Mac. Of course actually using a Mac is a whole other world. Oh Andy, can I…

A work-at-home dad wrestles with faith, social justice & story.