Saturday, April 7, 2012
A Different View of the Light
I was saddened to hear of the passing of artist Thomas Kinkade this weekend. While I was not a fan of his work, my sister - in particular - was moved by his comforting paintings of light and landscape.
I continue to marvel at how two souls, born from the same gene pool (12 years apart), can find our sources of light in such disparate places. Susan finds great peace in choral music, folksy stories, church activities, and reassuring artistry by people like Kinkade.
Meanwhile, I'm over here playing out the role of the wandering spirit, seeking truth through the dharma and meditation, opting for the surreality of Dali over the Main Street musings of Rockwell, reveling in reading (and writing) dark satire, and finding divinity in Coltrane rather than Kinkade.
I've always been quick to criticize what I see as banality. I want my artists to leave an indelible mark on my spirit. I want fire and heat. Kinesis and karma. I need to see the depth of the darkness to believe that there is something for the light to pierce and radiate. It's why I'd rather listen to the downer that is "Nebraska" over any climb-every-mountain ballad Celine Dion ever sang.
When all is said and done, though, we're all seeking the same thing from art, and from life. We want meaning, both in the artistry and where it points us. We want someone to help us make sense of things. Some of us like to be thrown into the confusion and madness to appreciate how it all unfolds. We love the contradictions that life provides. Others choose to look away from that and just focus on the light from the start. There's the blind faith that keeps you in the pew, and the vagabond soul that takes you to the most treacherous precipice. Viva la difference.
So, today, I cannot criticize Thomas Kinkade. I made my fair share of scoffing remarks over the years, but as I read in his obituary today, he said all he wanted to do - like Rockwell and Disney before him - was to make people happy with what he created.
That is a noble calling, no matter how your talents manifest themselves. So, rest well, Mr. Kinkade. Know that you brought light to a lot of people. I hope you followed that light home.