What would the pop singer, Michael Jackson have looked like had he have lived longer and not achieved the breathtaking success he had in the music industry? He might have looked like the man I met on this street corner in Altadena, CA. He looked to be much older than Mr. Jackson, but was probably born at around the same year. It must be remembered that Jackson was over 50 years old when he passed away.
More Than Street Knowledge
The lean man who came to my easel as I painted en plein air this day had leather straps on his hands and pants and wore a flamboyant shirt under his black leather vest. His hair was braided with colorful ribbons and beads woven into the shoulder-length strands. He had a plastic bottle partially filled with a liquid in his hand, which I discovered was beer when he wasted some on my backpack containing my art supplies. When I pointed out what he had done, he apologized profusely. He looked much older than he probably was because he had likely lived a tough street-life.
We talked about a variety of subjects. He was a very learned man. For example, when I decided to turn the conversation to spiritual things, I mentioned an event which had been in the news; the ‘God particle’. “Oh, you’re referring to the Higgs Boson,” he said as he went on to wax eloquently about the science behind the theory. It seemed that any subject I brought up, he had knowledge about; including the Bible. Seemed he could quote as much scripture as I could. Eventually, I learned that his grandfather had been a preacher. When I said that God often raises up generations of preachers and asked if he was called to ministry, he said, “God doesn’t want someone like me.”
Get Serious With God
I encouraged him to get serious with his walk with God. Later I thought about his statement, ‘God doesn’t want someone like me’. He was both right and wrong; right in that God doesn’t want him to remain a drunk all his life, but wrong to think that God wouldn’t accept him just as he was at that moment. What God really wants is transformation; for him and all who believe in him to become more like Jesus.
Note: I struggled with this painting because I was using a different watercolor paper. My paper of choice is Arches, which is a 140 lb. 100% cotton fiber paper. It’s very absorbent and produces vibrant colors. This day I was using Canson’s paper; the same weight, but not nearly as absorbent, causing the paints to lay on top of the paper. I’ve returned to Arches.