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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Art (01/18/07)

TITLE: Art Aches and Color Schemes
By Dolores Stohler


My kitchen calendar is one I will always treasure, for various reasons. January’s page features the artwork of Julia, a ten-year-old from Bolivia. She has leukemia and is a patient at St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis. The day Julia first saw snow was very special and she drew a picture of snowflakes cascading from the sky, blanketing the top of a mountain range, steep and impassable. At the bottom of the page are little stick figures of happy children with mittens. Why the mountains? Perhaps they represent the cancer invading her body that makes her feel helpless and out of control.

Your child will begin drawing pictures at an early age (pre-school probably) and his or her drawings will be quite different from those of an adult. We paint or draw what we see around us while children draw from the heart, making symbols that reflect their experience. Each child’s symbol for a person will be different from that of any other child. The details they include will reflect only what is important to them at the moment. And once they have drawn a symbol (or schema), they will stick to it. Each successive picture will contain the same original characters with little variation.

Once the symbols have been established, your child will go on to draw things that really matter to her. She wants to tell a story and will color the picture as vividly as her feelings dictate -- red to show love or heartache, sunny yellow to reflect her joy, blue or black when something is bothering her. One of my favorites from the St. Jude calendar, drawn by 12-year-old Amanda, contains smiling figures of doctors and nurses with the caption “Pack your bags and get out the door. YOU DON’T NEED RADIATION ANY MORE.” Powerful? You bet.

I think we all draw pictures, whether we put pen or pencil to paper or not.
The snapshots we take tell the story of our lives in an honest way, just like the symbolisms of a six-year-old. We capture the moments in our lives that seem important to us -- weddings, vacations, nature studies, children. Sometimes the pictures exist only in our minds but, good or bad, they are there to stay. Our life is a picture book or a story that we are constantly drawing upon.

Our story may fill a book or a photo album, but what of God’s story? His story covers all of creation. It’s evident in the panoply of stars that gleam through a midnight sky, the rhythmic thrust of waves on an ocean shore, an Amazonian jungle teeming with exotic plants and wildlife. Colors that steal your breath away!

God’s world is so big and our world so small. The sunshine now, is that the smile of God beaming down on us so that we’ll know everything is O.K. with His world? The serenity reflected in a clear blue sky -- does that reveal His peace of mind? And when the skies turn gray and thunderclouds growl with authority, is God revealing another side of His personality? Perhaps anger and judgment are being thrown down at us as our ancestors once believed. In the colors of nature we are surely being shown the many and varied colors of our creator’s personality. The whole earth is his canvas and we are only figures in one tremendous story.

“He spreads out the northern skies, over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing. He wraps up the waters in his clouds…He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters for a boundary between light and darkness…And these are but the outer fringe of his works.” (Job 26:10-14 NIV)

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Member Comments
Member Date
dub W01/28/07
With a little tightening this will make a nice young parent's group devotion. For the essay however, consider losing the second person. Thanks for posting.