Art is a gift. Artists are as much recipients of that gift as their audiences. Tolkien once said he could not figure out why Gandalf hadn’t shown up at the town of Bree to meet the hobbits in the story. He said, "I had to write Lord of the Rings to find out why."
Regarding the painting from which this fragment derives, “Time and Tide at Walker Creek”: that particular piece is part of a larger cycle of paintings I’ve done in response to the place where I live: Cape Ann, here in northeastern Massachusetts. The cape is a glacial moraine—where huge granite boulders are strewn around our woods like marbles in a child’s game. Boulders the size of a house or bigger. And the stone outcroppings—ledges—are like surfacing whales, showing up everywhere in the woods here. The woods come right down to the ocean’s edge—where, here on Walker Creek, a large tidal estuary lives. I say “lives” because an estuary is an organism filled with other organisms. It’s almost the perfect metaphor for God’s amazing economy, the Holy Trinity in which we are shown how God loves and lives and creates: in community, in mutual submission, in loving harmony of wills. That is what inspires me about nature: it is a mirror of God’s grace and bountiful hospitality. When Jesus says, “Take, eat, this is my body…drink you all of this, for this wine is the new covenant in my blood” He is saying, "Come to My Table". And that Table of divine hospitality includes the beautiful cosmos He has created:
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. 19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell; 20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.