Renoir to Picasso Exhibition, Brisbane 2001
Ah, if I could paint pictures like you, Renoir,
She states, with inestimable effrontery,
Pictures that soar in the mind like graceful birds,
Cadences of colour, that glorious memory of
Yet I have only words, unworthy words,
A thumbnail sketch to depict a masterpiece.
Would that I could capture the essence of those images
that flows, in a river of eyes and trees and light,
Alas, as I bathe
It trickles like liquid sunshine through my grasping fingers
and cupped palms.
Words, regretful words,
Only love and desire of love remain
Like the thrilling signatures of those beloved:
Renoir, Monet, Cézanne,
Whose eyes and hands and loving hearts
copyright Jo Collett 18/5/01
I will never forget visiting the Renoir to Picasso Exhibition at the Queensland Art Gallery in 2001. After years of viewing images of great masterpieces in books and online, here were some originals in the gallery in front of my eyes. It was a wonderful privilege to see them. I was particularly struck by the signatures. Renoir’s hand had signed his name. Monet had written this. Unmistakable as they might be without, the paintings were indelibly connected by a signature to the artist. The names identified each as an expression of that person’s talent, love, life. For a true artist, his or her work is not what he does, it is who he or she is, a complete expression of self. It pours from the heart, a lifelong quest, a search for completeness and perfection.
God tells us through His word that “ we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10). I’d like my life to be like one of those paintings. Colour, light and darkness, movement, stillness, people, places, things, beauty, purpose, relationships. Even before they saw the signature, I’d want anyone who saw my life to know who the artist was. God the Father, Jesus Christ His Son and His Holy Spirit. His workmanship. His name upon my life. My Creator.