Saturday, 16 March 2013

An Unexpected Visual Sermon


A few months ago I took a group of tourists to Branson, Missouri. On the way we stopped at the Redlin Art Center in Watertown, South Dakota. I may not have chosen to visit this art gallery if it hadn’t been on the itinerary, which would have truly been my loss.
                                                                   Terry Redlin art gallery

Once inside, our group scattered throughout the three-storied building. I found myself alone in the beautiful second floor gallery. The atmosphere was meditative; soft instrumental music played over the intercom; the lighting was done in such a way that your eyes were drawn into the artwork; the oil paintings glowed from within. It was here that I had an experience which caught me off guard. I became emotionally moved, to the point of tearing up, as I strolled through the gallery, caught up in the beautiful artwork.


I became immersed in the scenes painted by Terry Redlin. I felt I was able to step back in time, to the small town life depicted in many of his paintings. I felt the stillness. I felt calm. I felt content.

I also felt convicted. With my main child-rearing years just ending, I was in a new place. For more than a decade I had been a stay-at-home mom for my four young boys. We had learned to live comfortably as a one-income family. But now I was ready to take on the world. I was attending university, preparing for new career options, hoping to bring in a dual-income. Life was entering warp-speed for me.

Terry Redlin’s art spoke to me:

1.    Slow down

2.    Don`t lose the joys of simple living

3.    Don`t sacrifice your sleep, your health and your comfort for the sake of the mighty dollar or trying to climb up corporate ladders

4.    Be content; live with less

5.    Treasure peace

6.    Remain family-focused

7.    Keep your Faith in the forefront

8.    Don`t complain

9.    Count your blessings

10. Inspire others to live simply and be content

The paintings preached a long sermon to me. I was moved and almost raised my arms out to shout Amen! and Hallelujah! -  but I remembered in time that I’m a conservative German, and not a charismatic.

I did purchase a book of paintings as a reminder of my experience that day. It is the collective group of paintings that speak to me, not any one particular painting. Seeing Redlin's art in miniature definitely doesn’t provide the same impact.  However, it does remind me of what I experienced on that November day. Keeping life simple, being content with less, taking the time for family, friends, faith, rest and relaxation – this is my new life. I must make this choice on a daily basis and I pray that I will never lose sight of this.

For copyright reasons I haven't posted  any of Terry's paintings. However, please google images and take a bit of time to look at his paintings. Imagine yourself in each scene. Feel the peace. Learn to be content and to slow down your busy pace. That is the sermon I preach to you, courtesy of Terry Redlin.

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