“For the variation in human affairs is generally brought into them, not by life, but by death; by the dying down or breaking off of their strength or desire. A man varies his movements because of some slight element of failure or fatigue. He gets into an omnibus because he is tired of walking; or he walks because he is tired of sitting still. But if his life and joy were so gigantic that he never tired of going to Islington, he might go to Islington as regularly as the Thames goes to Sheerness. The very speed and ecstasy of his life would have the stillness of death.”
-G. K. Chesterton,
The Ethics of Elfland (excerpt from Orthodoxy: The Romance of Faith)
The first part of Matthew chapter 13 includes a number of parables. This illustration was done in conjunction with Bible Study Fellowship’s 2021 Study of Matthew: “The Unexpected King.”. See other artworks here.
What resonated with me as a unifying thread to the many visual elements in the stories themselves was the exhortation to “see” and to “hear.”
Matthew 13:1-30 includes several distinct parts, including the parable of the four soils, and the parable of the good seed among weeds. I have taken Jesus’ exhortation in vv 10-17 to “hear and see” as the integrating theme for this drawing, “An Ear to Hear.” In this drawing, the inside of the story is larger than the outside. Here showing path and birds, rocks, weeds, fruitful ground.
T. S. Eliot said, “to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” 2019 felt like the end of a season and, 2021 a new vantage point by which to evaluate, fuse into orbit fragmented pieces of changing season, history, experience and memory. These works deal in various forms with “the end,” but also with the space between the end and the beginning. They are in part a product of the Adrian Johnston’s quarantine labors to integrate past-present-future—painting is a means to live forward today in light of what is past.