Thought Collections on Art and Life through an Artist’s Eyes #7

Wondering while Wandering…

an artist’s limp toward finding ‘Radiance Through the Rain’


‘May the Rain of Suffering Soften Our Hearts,

Seeping Radiance to Our Thirsty Places.

J. Douglas Thompson© 2022


Mark Making…from mind to reality

An artist paints and displays their work. An engineer designs and oversees construction of a complex bridge. An architect thinks and produces amazing feats of anti-gravitational beauty and grandeur. A chef initially stirs together the delectable sauces in the kitchen of his mind, then, later, mixing and folding actual layers of texture and taste, he or she presents the art to delight the guests palettes with innumerable delicacies.

Art is everywhere!

Why do designer’s design and chefs create?

One grand difference between humans and all other species is the ability to consciously create, making marks, and with those marks, communicating to others. Even our spoken words have their foundation in marks having been previously made.

These marks invite others to swirl and savor their joys or sorrows around the tongues of their minds as they become infused into their lives. The use of line, color, texture, taste, reflection and design bring us up short, causing us to respond to human endeavor and what it does for our souls growth and wellbeing. Out of interest, the ‘human soul’ consists of the ‘mind, will and emotion.’ All of nature is calling us to think beyond just their deep biological structures, asking us to consider the other deeper ‘Why’ questions, including ‘why beauty?’

There are societal segments that demand that beauty is a misnomer and that all is just meaningless, mindless, coincidental, random purposeless particle populating.

There are those of us however given the mantle of producing something from the mind to touch other’s sensibility. This is not simply brain synapses firing randomly but personal soul savoring sharing. These are those responding to their inner gifts with deep creative action based on a hope or dream of an actuality.

As a painter, I spend months each year designing and producing works of fine art. Each piece is carefully completed with the introduction of a more or less abstract underpinning and then the building up layer after layer of paint passages and glazing thin layers over each. Most of those layers eventually lay virtually hidden from view but are held in the depths of the piece and provide the foundation it was built upon. People are often fascinated to see while looking at x-rays of old master’s pieces, where the mind of the artist wandered before settling on his final idea. In the last few days I added a small island with three small trees to a painting, thinking it would enhance the composition. Later, I felt it had done exactly the opposite and so they were covered over. The x-rays would show what I had had in mind and then ultimately decided a different direction.

There is one season of the year that I step aside from my production, carefully placing each piece on my gallery wall, ready for a viewer. My gallery is commercial in the sense that I sell my work from there as well as through other galleries. It is however a place of ‘free exploration’ for anyone who passes my way wishing to indulge their personal senses. These close encounters often bring thoughtful conversation and even sometimes an emotional connection to the art. Sometimes further is the event where someone wants to exchange hard-earned cash for a piece of paint-layered canvas. Why indeed would anyone want to exchange blood, sweat and tears for that?

One reason would be that the artist’s inner soul has leaked and spread out as marks, and is laid bare on that canvas. It invites a soul interaction with the other, who in fact is relating, not necessarily to the art directly but rather a previous life experience that the marks trigger. Somehow it brings back a memory or emotion from their personal life. The soul of the artist and viewer have collided and meshed. The purchaser wants to cherish the memory and thus a transaction happens to anchor the memory permanently on their wall. The ‘marks’ of one’s soul expression leaves the studio to become and to reflect another’s.

The fields clap their hands and flowers bloom with raucous vibrancy to at least attract a bee, but surely there is more. Each marked layer in creation and each mark made by his counterparts made in his image points back to the Creator. The Creator, by his own declaration (John 1:1) has filled the globe with a vast collaboration of his direct input by giving us myriad things to enjoy, touch and taste and also incorporating into our humanness the desire to create further using materials at our finger tips. Like it or not we are expressing our image bearing likeness through those creations and our reactions of them!

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” (Psalm 24:1 NIV)


Mark Making…


Thought Collections on Art and Life through an Artist’s Eyes # 6

Wondering while Wandering…

an artist’s limp toward finding ‘Radiance Through the Rain’


‘May the Rain of Suffering Soften Our Hearts,

Seeping Radiance to Our Thirsty Places.’

J. Douglas Thompson© 2022


Todays thought via this poem relates to the strong winds of disconcertion regarding world events that pervade our spaces daily and how the White Pine of the north gives us thoughts of response.


Granite Places*

Inhospitable – hard – windswept – bare

Granite horseshoe wildly flung

Vast and north, strong and free

Canadian Shield.


Emaciated quilt of threadbare soil thinly carpets vast expanse

Quilts – so easily displaced – lay bare this giant’s plate

Revealing slightest pink – textured lines striate – memories from icy wars.


There they rise – emerging

Seeming impossibility

Deriding dust so wafer thin

Titans tall of windswept green – reach to touch and kiss the sky

Swaying stately splendour strong.


Below at base – the fissure waits

Giant’s lonely seed is blown

Tumbling red faced, to the void


Naked and exposed it falls

Avian breakfast seeks above? Whew!


Shiver shakes it full awake

Decisions nose right in the face

To hope and dream for future’s sake?


Thoughts – these crazy thoughts

Visions – vast with arms to sweep

Expressions praise and shade to give.


Digging deep – to cut through stone



Imperceptible topsoil


Kill the dream!


Impossible – growth – that large?

Roll over – take a nap

Give rest a try

Go back, they say – and close your door

Dream your dreams – but far away

Expose your head?



I hear it speak – that lowly seed

Throbbing choices to endure

Reaching down and reaching up

Pushing back the darkness deep

Gestation’s travel now complete – new life’s about to come

Tiny head peeks skyline’s orb and – groans

Scorching heat of summer’s sun

Blasts of autumn’s freezing rain

Depth of frostbite’s bitter bite

Year to follow lonely year.


Faithful faces tests of time

Mock and ridicule deride

Sneering, laughing, shaking heads

Walking backs again depart


Why? Just shrivel up – and die

No one there to see or care



Monolith’s monicker, great white pine

Grandeur’s dance from stage afar

Bent with windswept backs they stand

Trademarks of the stalwart north.


Wild framed warriors – scars abound

Contorted mar of deepest scar

Groans of grief – misunderstood

Twisted broken limbs that speak – and so they lean

Quietly, humbly into view.


Artist paints His masterpiece

Single focal point he claims – astounding art – all that remains

Image of decided truth

Gracing palace walls where

Thousands come to stand and gaze

Stay to revel and to praise

Giving up?

Yes, YOU!

Crushed with pressure-crevice living?

Walk away?


To be sure – temptations strong

Softness winks her warm caress

Enticingly says, ‘disengage’

Constant storms too much you say?

Long and lonely vigils wait

Broken through obedience

Surrounded and embraced by few

Raising standards very high

Billowed, bent and sails all full

Driving roots through solid rock

Framed in grace a light to spot

Short-lived lives – to count or not?

So let me say, keep at it, despite the heavy legs and elbows worn thin having done what is right, for, when all is said and done, when the King arrives back, there will be fair reward, if we hang in there, not having slipped out the back door, but rather keeping on keeping on with tenacity    Galatians 6:9 JDT paraphrase

* Excerpt from ‘Radiance through the Rain’ Copyright 2020, J. Douglas Thompson

My previous book ‘Radiance through the Rain’ is a self-published, hard-cover limited edition coffee table book showing more than 100 images of my paintings. Alongside of the paintings are sixty-one essays on how the act of painting is a metaphor for doing life and relationships. Much of that thinking will bleed into this blog, but here, this is just you and I quietly pondering our devotional lives. For those of you who purchased ‘Radiance Through the Rain,’ maybe you think some of my wandering thoughts are worth sharing. This blog is the venue!


Carpe Diem, 48″ X 60″ Acrylic on Canvas © J.Douglas Thompson

Thought Collections on Art and Life through an Artist’s Eyes #5


Wondering while Wandering…

an artist’s limp toward finding ‘Radiance Through the Rain’


‘May the Rain of Suffering Soften Our Hearts,

Seeping Radiance to Our Thirsty Places.’

J. Douglas Thompson© 2022



Thought’s on Mists


My easel today holds memories, recollections of what was and what I have left to consider to re-describe as I cast my mind over the past seventy-three years. I love taking photographs, but that is a separate love affair from that of painting. I seldom use any of my photos as a reference when painting. Each stands alone.

Today, I paint and while pushing my paint, I’m prone to ponder! The coming ‘letters from my studio,’ will be throwback thoughts across my life as an artist and a photographer with a bit of faith and philosophy thrown in.

What usually occurs when painting, is my hand dips paint with a rag or paper towel and then begins the slashing and whipping of rag against canvas. Sometimes while slapping the paint around an image appears that triggers a memory and if not, oh well, at least I’m left with texture.

Today what is coming to fruition from rag to canvas is an old memory of Alberta, Canada’s Lake Louise veiled in the heart of the Rockies. It shimmers turquoise. The sun slants left, mountainside clearly showing the rock face holding interesting patterns of ice-white water otherwise described as snow.

Up and over the first third of my composition stand a group of rugged pines showing their resolute passion for survival, with backs held ramrod straight. This is somewhat different from their cousins of the east, the Great White Pine. Found on the Canadian Shield, which is made of solid granite, it stretches far north beyond human habitation. There the pines lean way right, having a strong west wind blow them strident since birth.

However, here I am, by means of memory, sitting in my studio chair, my mind next to the lake. This, for the most part will be my way of sharing my journey and stories. A breeze sends a cold signal that maybe things are not as well as maybe they seem. A mist swirls down from the heights, adding a negligee of blue-white light over the rock verticals.

Mists come as the mysterious Spirit comes, first a breeze, a tender touch that kisses my cheek, leaving it slightly wet as the mist envelopes my view.

Sometimes the Spirit enlightens with warmth and sometimes adds a veil. The why and wherefore of the Spirit’s call to humanity is a mystery. I still see some of the hard formation that lays behind, but mostly it is misty grey. Life is seldom a clear-cut course.

More than often, we take slow steps, or well we should, as we navigate life’s journey. Sometimes the mists suddenly lift, and we see that all is well, and warmth surrounds our steps. And then, just as suddenly, a corner turned, and the wall of grey seems to pull us in, and our fears arise. Life is struggle! The flip side of pain is joy! Grey mists, darkness and sunlight. Despite the variables, keep putting your proverbial foot one step ahead of the last and choose to ‘Live!’

The eastern lakes mists steal lower shoals as across the bed of night they wrap all in the comforter of thoughts alone until the sun winks her soft hello. Maybe a fire in a hearth breaks its silent steal where humanity attempts to push away the darkness. It is here I want to dwell for a moment today.

The early sun rises east casting her curling smile on the grey and the mist begins her dance. Together they weave their sensuous sway from the lake and up the mountain as warm interacts with cool.

Later, after coffee is done and bacon crisp has brought us its pleasures, the sun begins to blow its warmth and the mist disappears. About 11 a.m. and she’s gone! The mystery of wonder that refracted light into the wondrous soft silk of mist is now a memory.

So, it is with these, my few short years of life, and yours!

I sat tonight during my walk west, in a field down the way, and reflected on the evening sky and the mists that wanted in. My life is like the mist, and yes will soon cover all as I pass into eternity.

My physical body is the present entity that enfolds the real me: my soul and spirit. This my cocoon will remain behind for the mourners and then disappear, too, but my spirit will remain, having travelled to a different dimension of interim wonder.

For today, I can have hope that as the mist envelops the here and now, there will be light again, and the field that I sat in tonight will re-appear, fully regenerated in its original wonder, perfection ready for a never-ending reality.

Finally, in all my paintings, my desire is to portray the light of hope peeking, even when most seems blue-grey mist. Often, the result is most beautiful when that soft light glazed, seen through the negligee, as she hides the veiled beauty of what can become if the invitation is accepted.

The Spirit of all mists comes suddenly, and then just as suddenly opportunity vanishes.

James 4:14 NIV …‘Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.’


I love it when mists surround the landscape in mystery