Part of the ongoing prayerful focus on Sight…
“I was standing today in the dark toolshed. The sun was shining outside and through the crack at the top of the door there came a sunbeam. From where I stood that beam of light, with the specks of dust floating in it, was the most striking thing in the place. Everything else was almost pitch black. I was seeing the beam, no t seeing things by it.
Then I moved, so that the beam fell on my eyes. Instantly the whole previous picture vanished. I saw no toolshed, and (above all) no beam. Instead I saw, framed in the irregular carry at the top of the door, green leaves moving on the branches of a tree outside and beyond that, ninety-odd million miles away, the sun. Looking along the beam, and looking at the beam are very different experiences.”
“It is looking at things for a long time that ripens and gives you a deeper understanding… Everything that is really good and beautiful, of inward moral, spiritual and sublime beauty, in human beings and in their works, comes from God.”
Van Gogh looked along the beam to its Source, Beauty Himself and truly had eyes to see. Looking along the beam, he was the first painter to give a canvas over to the beauty of stubble, hedgerows and cornfields … to paint humble, peaceful and homely things such as a bed, a chair, a bowl, dish, spoon, which no master had ever considered being worthy of the artist’s attention.