If you live in the city, you’ll never run out of interesting place to paint en plein air where you’ll likely meet people with whom you can share God’s love. A busy street corner in a commercial district will probably yield the most curious onlookers. Yet there are often landmark site where you can visit and paint frequently. Even if there is much less foot traffic, it is unlikely you can paint for an hour without one or more visitors.
In Pasadena, CA, there are several scenic sites I’ve painted numerous times, usually with great results. The Rose Bowl is one of them. I’ve painted here more than a half a dozen times. The first time I painted the west face the Rose Bowl, I met an aspiring artist (seems I meet a lot of artists) and her friend. As always, I sought to learn about them before turning the conversation to Jesus.
I continued to paint the Rose Bowl over the years. More than ten had years passed when I returned to the to paint from the same spot as before. This time however, it was raining. Since it was a light rain, I took my umbrella which attached to my easel to do the painting. The Bowl was being remodeled, so it was a unique opportunity to paint the framework and crane. One of the construction workers came to see what I was doing. He talked about how he hoped to retire within a year, but was uncertain if he would receive enough money from his benefits to meet his financial obligations. I simply told him to trust God.
I was disappointed in myself that I didn’t offer him more encouragement from the scriptures. For example, how does one trust God? (Proverbs 3:5,6) I’ve discovered that sharing Christ with a stranger is somewhat like painting, playing a sport or any activity that improves with use and exercise. On that rainy day, I had not been on the streets with my easel for a while. Like iron exposed to the rain for too long, I had gotten rusty. I would recommend that an artist go out at least once a week so that they don’t get rusty in painting and, more importantly, seeking the lost.
Have you ever gotten ‘rusty’ in spiritual things?