Workshop Ponderings


The Bible opens with the words “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” That is an adequate summary statement, but the curious reader wants more.  And the following verses provide more:

And the world was without form and void and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved over the face of the waters.  And God said, “Let there be light.” And there was light.

There is a quality image: a world of chaos, a Mind that is brooding, moving, and suddenly creation occurs.  As one continues to read the account, the record shows God creating the world by a series of divisions, organizations.  The artist Robert Motherwell said that drawing was the division, the organization of space.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, in “The American Scholar” testified that the scholar of the first age received into himself the world around, brooded thereon, gave it the new arrangement of his thought, and uttered it again.  It came into him life.  It went from him truth.

In about an hour, I will stand before my second watercolor workshop in the midst of this circuit I’ve been traveling. This will be a plein air watercolor workshop.  And my sincere hope is that the participants experience this parallel that Emerson drew from the opening verses of Genesis. They will stand enveloped in a world swirling with myriads of visual stimuli, holding before them a void, a square white rectangle.  As they ponder this visual world of complexity, their minds will begin to sort, to sift, to edit, and as their brushes move over the surface of the papers, worlds will begin to flow out of their brushes, first the wash, then the divisions, and finally the focused details.  There is little more rewarding than watching a world flow out of the tip of your brush, and realize that you are the one creating this world.

The Bible says that God created humans in his own image.  What is that image of God, that imago Dei?  I believe it is that essential urge to create.  The first word written about God identified him as a creator.  And he created people after his image.  My position is that people, by nature, create.  They have to, because it is in their essential nature to create.

Gotta go.  Workshop begins in one hour and five minutes, and I still have to drive to the location.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to understand.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.



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11 Responses to “Workshop Ponderings”

  1. Lee Jamison Says:

    Being an artist has always been at the core of my theological perspective. A little depth is in order here. The Hebrew words most commonly translated “In the beginning, God created…” can alternatively be translated “When God began to create…” There is a subtle reason I prefer that reading and it goes directly to the issue you raise, David. The nominal reading sets a curtain of impersonality between us and “the face of the deep”. The alternate rendering removes that curtain, such that we consider the brooding, the pre-creative omnipotence through whom all that can be is, was, and is to be.

    No more important words exist in all of Judeo-Christian literature. I think on them from the perspective of the artist virtually every day.


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you for sharing that, Lee. I’m thrilled that others’ souls resonate when reading that creation account. There lies within those words such oceans of pulsating thoughts that can certainly stir the creative fires.


  2. Life and an assembly of books – Relating to God Says:

    […] Workshop Ponderings […]


  3. Cheryl Rose Says:

    David, that’s what you also do with your words. You create images through your words and you do it so poetically. I love reading your blogs. They flow like poetry. A person gets captivated by your phraseology! Keep painting! Keep blogging!

    Liked by 1 person

    • davidtripp Says:

      Cheryl, what sweet soothing words you send, thank you! I love what is happening out here in this moment, and love blogging, but oftentimes fear that I am so exhausted that the words I post are just as wearisome! Thank you for that warm encouragement. I shall keep trying . . .


  4. Margaret Parker Brown Says:

    Love this post and you mentioning about God being the first creator and that urge to create resounds in me. Have you read any of Matt Tommey’s books about Christian artists? He talks about this extensively. Blessings!


  5. Elaine Jary Says:

    I love this. Very beautiful writing.

    Sent from my iPhone



    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you, Elaine. If our “sacred circle” meets tonight, please send me a picture? I miss all of you so much, despite living the dream out here at this time!


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