It’s All in a Name

Recently I finished an unnamed painting using acrylic paint. Since I began painting back in 2020, I’ve always used watercolor, but rarely acrylic. Watercolor has always been preferrable due to the ability to blend colors and correct my mistakes.

Speaking of mistakes, nearly a year’s worth of mistakes is what ultimately led to this painting. After successfully completing a commissioned work of “Doolittle Pond,” the owner of the property asked if I could do a painting of his chestnut orchard. I happily agreed, but what followed was nothing but frustration.

Remember, I haven’t been at this for very long and my abilities are not as great as some might think. Therefore, in a moment of believing the hype, I accepted the challenge not knowing how difficult a realistic painting of actual trees would be! I went about the usual steps I take to create a painting, then launched into it with anticipation. Unfortunately, nothing went as planned. What I wound up with were two completely embarrassing and failed attempts to earn a commission, along with a stained and now worthless 16×20″ stretched canvas.

Then, a week or so ago I sat looking at that pitiful canvas, a green-and-blue-stained failure complete with the scraggly black beginnings of chestnut tree trunks and limbs. In an instant of inspiration (or maybe desperation) I thought, “I could cover all that with some acrylic paint!” I mean, seriously, even if it was a total disaster, at least I could have fun creating something “off the wall” while recycling a canvas!

Funny thing, what started off as an “off the wall” endeavor is now ON the wall in our living room! The first moment my wife laid eyes on it she said, “I love it.” So, it became a keeper. As a matter of fact, I don’t even think I’ll make prints.

But as I was holding this painting in the frame, just as I was about to take it into the living room to hang on the wall, I stood and admired it with my wife. The feeling was sort of surreal, honestly. It was like I was holding a masterpiece I could never afford, yet there it was.

I said, “You know what, Valerie? The only thing that separates this painting from those that might cost a fortune is that thing right there . . . the signature. If only it was a Picasso, it would be worth millions.”

Honestly, this painting may not be on the level of the great masters’, but had it only been a splotch of paint on the canvas, and one put there by Leonardo DaVinci, it wouldn’t matter the composition.

Yet, what is human life? Each life is a creation of the greatest artist in the universe and one-of-a-kind. Sure, some may seem worthy to be viewed and admired by all, while others are nothing more than a splotch of color on an outline of what is planned. But would we through away a single scribble if it were made by Monet or van Gogh?

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

– King David, Psalm 139:14

We are not valuable because of our beauty. We are priceless because we bear the signature of the Divine.


Published by Anthony Baker

Husband, dad, pastor, artist, and musician. Time Magazine's Person of the Year in 2006 (no joke!). Loves coffee (big time), good movies, and sarcastic humor. Holds a Doctorate in Ministry. Most importantly, a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. All glory belongs to Him! Matthew 5:16

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