Learning from Georges Seurat about the brushstrokes of life

Hubby surprised me by taking an extra day off after the long Labor Day weekend and suggested we go into the city and visit the Legion of Honor, an art museum permanently housing some of the most famous pieces of art of all time. I was thrilled! It felt like we were playing hooky for the day and going to see great art just like Ferris Bueller did in the film Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

And like Ferris and his friends in the film, we had the choice experience of viewing an original painting by Georges Seurat. Thankfully, photography is allowed in the permanent collections so I could capture the experience of seeing a Seurat up close.

Each brushstroke is so beautiful when examined at close range. Some are brilliant colors with texture and vibrance. From this perspective each can be seen individually.

The Eiffel Tower by Georges Seurat

Taking a step or two back, the detail of each brushstroke recedes while the interplay of each brushstroke with its adjacent neighbors becomes more apparent.

The Eiffel Tower by Georges Seurat

Another few steps back, and the brushstrokes stop looking like brushstrokes. Then they seem to be dots that make up larger forms.

The Eiffel Tower by Georges Seurat

Finally, at a distance the individual dots aren't even apparent as the eye sees the whole picture of forms, shadows and highlights that Seurat created with thousands of small brushstrokes of many colors.

The Eiffel Tower by Georges Seurat

In that quiet gallery, many thoughts ran through my head...

Life is made up of moments, each like a tiny brushstroke with its own unique texture, brilliance, vibrance and color. Each relationship that influences my life, good and bad, adds a brushstroke with special nuances. Each experience I go through, good and bad, adds a brushstroke.

In Seurat's painting, muted, dark, or grey brushstrokes are necessary to create dimension, to accent the highlights or to anchor a form. Not every brushstroke can be a brilliant and vibrant color.

The dark and grey times in my life are like the dark and grey brushstrokes.

If I over focus on one of those dark or grey brushstrokes, I miss seeing how that one brushstroke fits into the greater whole of my life--how it is necessary in order to create the shapes and compositions that make up who I am.

Not every experience or relationship in my life can be brilliant and vibrant. Some must be muted. Some must have hints of grey. And some must be dark. I need them to give my character dimension. I need them to accent the high points because I cannot know the sweet without the bitter. I need them to anchor my soul in the faith which is born from affliction.
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  1. There must needs be opposition in all things. I love your analogy.

    Love you,

  2. Beautiful analogy, so true, so well thought out and written :)
    Wendy xo

  3. So beautifully written, and so true.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  4. Beautiful painting. Beautiful words. I appreciate your analogy.

  5. What a wonderful pondering you posted. Lovely analogy.

  6. It's so similar to the pixels that create our photos now, or tv.


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