Art in the Sanctuary: Stuart Hobbs’ “Brilliant Sky”

We’re thrilled to have Stuart offer a new show that will be on display for the next two months! Stop by to view his work, or take some time during coffee hour on Sunday mornings to enjoy the paintings.

Artist’s Statement

When novelist and essayist Frederick Buechner wrote about art, this is what he said: “Literature, painting, music: the most basic lesson that all art teaches us is to stop, look, and listen to life on this planet.” The painting In Nature’s Realm in this exhibit takes its title from a tone poem by Czech composer, Antonín Dvořák. In that piece, the composer asks us to stop and listen to the sounds and silences he has organized between the first and last notes. Sounds produced by musical instruments that reflect Dvořák’s experiences of the sights and sounds of the natural world and the feelings inspired by those sensations.

My painting on this theme takes the blues and greens and yellows we experience in the natural world to create its own realm. A small universe bounded by the borders of canvas that asks us to stop and look. Several other pieces have titles referencing the natural world (and others referencing music and poetry). And while my general painting practice is to start with color, what is color but light refracted and broken up into its component parts of red and green and blue and all the others. The special universe of the painting and of the world around us are all parts of the larger whole. A whole it is too easy to take for granted, to pass on by.

And yet, in passing by the world around us, we are also passing by ourselves. For as Buechner goes on to say, the invitation “stop, look, and listen” includes our own lives. The universe, Buechner says, is “a vastly richer, deeper, more mysterious business than most of the time it ever occurs to us to suspect,” and the same is true, he notes, of ourselves.

The message of this exhibit is to stop, look, and listen to the paintings, to ourselves, to others, and to the beautiful world around us. To be present to the mystery that is life. Brilliant Sky references a poem in which two people have very different experiences under the same sky. The painting riffs on the theme of life’s joys and sorrows and the consolation of beauty—whether in literature, painting, or nature’s realm. For what is beauty but the spirit of God coming to us in tongues of fire?

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