Values in Color, Values in Life

A painted Easter lily, detail from Resurrection Lilies
A painted Easter lily, detail from Resurrection Lilies

Some of our days, or seasons of our life, can be like dramatic contrast in a painting.  There are portions of brilliant light juxtaposed by deep dark shadows – the peaks and valleys of life sometimes run close together.  In my work in ministry there were weeks when we would both prepare for a wedding, with all the joyous celebration of a couple’s new life together, and just days later work alongside family members who were saying their final good-byes to a loved one when death stepped forward drew its line in the sand.  High contrast.

Then there are season – days, weeks, months, even years – when everything seems to run together.  Nothing changes, it’s all the same…or at least on the surface.  Those are days of like value.  There is a consistency to the climate of the painting – it is all relatively the same.  Yet, herein is the lesson.

2nd third of 19th century
2nd third of 19th century (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When we approach a painting, or the days of our lives in a quiet season, the value can be either monotonous or vibrant depending on the use of value.  Multicolored hues of the same value can be used on the canvas to make a visual symphony with interest in every stroke.  A painting of this nature is compared to a life that, although no great drama, has stunning beauty because the values of intellect, physical action, and rich spiritual nourishment coincide in harmony side-by-side.  Conversely, if a painting has no thought as to the placement of value in color, it will be dull, without life and immature in concept…and life is the same.  If we put forth no action toward the things which make us uniquely human – our intellects, our physical capabilities, our skills, talents and things of the spirit, then life would be boring indeed.  But it need not be – there is always a choice.

Michelangelo Buonarroti
Michelangelo Buonarroti (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.  – Michelangelo

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