By Hillary Asbury

I had a friend in college who was an abstract artist.

She was a phenomenal figurative painter and could handle realism with great sensitivity and finesse, but her pursuit of her abstract work was passionate and tenacious. She took it quite seriously. There were days when her creativity flowed easily, and days when she struggled to paint at all. In critiques, however, some of our classmates often questioned the validity of her work. They would say it was too easy, that you cannot pour a couple of cups of paint over a canvas and call it a painting. What they were really asking, though, was “is this good art, is it even art at all?”, and this would eventually lead us to the same question that artists and critics have been asking for ages.

By Tim Winterstein

At one point in the documentary Karl Marx City (streaming on Netflix), the narrator (Matilda Tucker) translates two German words for dealing with memories. The first is Erinnerungskultur, or the “culture of remembrance,” and the second is Vergangenheitsbewältigung, or “the process of coming to terms with the past.” These are fitting terms for a country that seems to have more than its share of recent past with which to come to terms. It’s an interesting juxtaposition to watch this film so soon after seeing Hitler’s Children (which I wrote about here).

By Hillary Asbury

Domenikos Theotokopulos, born in the 16th century and commonly known as El Greco, is a European artist with one of the most distinctive styles of his time. Originally from Crete, he studied in Venice, worked in Italy for some time, and went on to heavily influence not only the Spanish Renaissance and generations of artists thereafter (Picasso and Cezanne among them), but his work was a major factor in the development of the Expressionist and Mannerist movements.

By Hillary Asbury

I’ve always been pretty sensitive to violence. There are plenty of films and TV shows that I simply cannot get through without covering my eyes, and sometimes my ears. In fact, just the other night, I was watching a show, opened my eyes a little too soon during a particularly graphic scene, and almost wretched. I’m an artist; I’m very visual, and sometimes I think I can’t watch something like that without experiencing it in my mind. I see it happen (or read it), and I automatically go to that place with the character. I know it’s not real, but I react to it as if it is. I wish I were better at handling it, but I find violence, even if very fake, upsetting.

By Tim Winterstein

I knew this was going to happen. I knew that if a movie was hyped over and over, time and again, as being an incredible, profound meditation on faith and doubt, that it was unlikely to be anything of the sort. If someone has left or been scarred by Christianity, or an American Fundamentalist version of it; if someone is quick to say, “I’m spiritual, but not religious”; or if someone is fully convinced that what the Church should do is take up the apocalyptic cause du jour, then that person is the perfect candidate to be over-impressed with Paul Schrader’s First Reformed.

By Hillary Asbury

Lately I have been reflecting on the unique challenges one faces when maintaining a creative career.

It’s a little odd, building a business by manufacturing products based on one’s private thoughts and feelings. My thoughts are inspired by many things—by experiences and certainly by Scripture. Those thoughts coalesce into a vision, and that vision eventually becomes a piece of artwork, which I will likely sell. Sometimes it feels as though I am selling my heart, my mind, my soul. It’s why, as a young artist, I found it difficult to let go of my work or sell it. It’s why many artists struggle to price their paintings.