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…