By dylan
Jan 25th, 2015

Office of Communications, Princeton University, from Wikimedia Commons

In this 2010 Los Angeles Times interview, author, John McPhee echoes Dr. Eric Kandel’s statement about the creativity people use when viewing art.  McPhee is known to be vigilant about getting facts right and for his respect for readers:

“The creative person in this process,” McPhee says, “is the reader, by a long shot. The writer supplies three or four words, but the reader makes the picture.”

By dylan
Jan 19th, 2015


Love is creative and redemptive. Love builds up and unites; hate tears down and destroys. The aftermath of the ‘fight with fire’ method which you suggest is bitterness and chaos, the aftermath of the love method is reconciliation and creation of the beloved community. Physical force can repress, restrain, coerce, destroy, but it cannot create and organize anything permanent; only love can do that. Yes, love—which means understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill, even for one’s enemies—is the solution to the race problem.
—Martin Luther King, Jr., 1957 (via The Papers of MLK)

By dylan
Jan 16th, 2015


Watch this TED Talk by Artist/Gardener, Ron Finley who is transforming his community in South Central LA by growing food:

See, I’m an artist. Gardening is my graffiti. I grow my art…I beautify lawns parkways. I use the garden, the soil like it’s a piece of cloth and the plants and the trees, that’s my embellishment for that cloth. You’d be surprised what the soil could do if you let it be your canvas. You just couldn’t imagine how amazing a sunflower is and how it affects people… To change the community, you have to change the composition of the soil. We are the soil.

By dylan
Jan 13th, 2015

The Good Samaritan by Marc Chagall.  Photo: Union Church of Pocantico Hills

The parable of The Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 30-37) is one of our culture’s most iconic compassion stories:  A lawyer asks Jesus how he can inherit eternal life.  He has been taught it is to love God and his neighbor as himself.  In response, Jesus tells the now familiar tale of a Jewish man who is beaten, robbed and left.  A priest and a Levite passes him without stopping.  But a man from another tribe–a Samaritan–stops to help.  He tends to the man’s wounds, takes care of him, and brings him to an inn.  As he leaves, he promises the innkeeper that he will cover any charges the injured man accrues.  Jesus asks the man, “which of the three was a better neighbor to the man who fell among thieves.”

“The Samaritan,” answers the lawyer.

“Go and do likewise,” says Jesus.

I recently discovered that the story has been depicted again and again by visual artists from Rebrandt to Van Gogh to Marc Chagall.

Look at Chagall’s stained glass portrait of the scene above.  Blue was the color of love for the artist.

Below is Van Gogh’s interpretation of the story.  To me, his depiction conveys the Samaritan’s strenuous effort.  He really went out of his way to help this man.  Look at the awkward angle of his head as he struggles to get him aboard his horse.  Van Gogh’s dynamic brush strokes also add a level of tension.  The horse seems to balance the scene.  It stands upright, a stalwart companion.  I also read tenderness in the horse’s face that adds comfort to the piece.  Do you?

The Good Samaritan by Vincent van Gogh [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Rembrandt depicted The Good Samaritan story several times.  In the scene below, the Samaritan delivers the injured man to the inn.

The Good Samaritan by Rembrandt [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 Do you have favorite depictions of this popular story?