I spent some time with Paul Buxman today. Â He’s a friend of mine, and also a really talented artist. Â We check in at least once a year, when he brings in the year’s crop of paintings for me to photograph and archive.
Paul’s paintings tell stories on more than one level. Â Visually, each painting tells a story about a slowly fading agrarian way of life in California’s beautiful central valley. Â But taken collectively, they tell a story about the artist.
When I see Paul’s entire collection from a year, I see changes.
Paul used more red paint this year. Â When I asked him about it, he told me that this year he discovered red, and brought it out from the back of his paint-box. Â I also noticed more purity in the colors he chose, and he confirmed that he spent less time mixing colors this year. Â I also noticed some different kinds of composition creeping into his work, and more diversity in the nature of his subjects. Â His paintings this year feel a touch more realistic, and also a little more wild; a little less controlled. Â All these facets of his art make me wonder about Paul’s life, and the events that shaped the artist this year. Â So I asked.
Paul told me that this has been the best year of his life. Â When I asked why, he started listing off events and feelings that seem to me like anything but the ideal year. Â But in looking back, he’s been able to see God’s hand in his life and in his family this year. Â The struggles he has been through this year have brought his life into sharper relief. Â They’ve brought out the reds.
I’m challenged. Â I’m challenged to accept the hard things in life as a gift from God; as his tool for molding me into the shape He wants for me. Â I’m challenged to try putting myself into places that seem less safe. Â I’m challenged to work harder, as if I’m working on things that benefit someone else instead of me. Â I’m challenged to let God show me where to find the red paint.