The Art of Wonder (or the Wonder of Art)

God speaks to us in many different ways. In this case it was through a painting.

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Crucifixion painting by Ann Kim

Have you ever come across a painting or work of art that just spoke to you? Or moved you in some spiritual, almost mystical way?

Back in high school, I came across such a painting. It was the summer before my senior year and I was taking painting classes at Ann Kim’s art studio in New York.

Mrs. Kim, as I still call her today, is a Biblical artist and her stunning work has traveled the world. She taught classes during the regular school year, but I was preparing an art portfolio to submit with my college applications–hence the “summer school.”

It never really felt like school, though. I loved every minute of those Saturdays at Mrs. Kim’s. The smell of oil paint that greeted me every time I creaked open the studio door.

The classical music playing in the background. The gentletap-tap of the brush hitting the canvas. And Mrs. Kim’s Yoda-like advice on everything from paint hues to career goals. The whole experience was kind of magical.

When I needed a break, I’d wander around the studio and study Mrs. Kim’s paintings that covered the bright walls. Self-portraits. Still lifes of summer flowers. And, of course, the biblical art she was known for, including a painting for every book of the Bible. Like faith come to life.

My favorite painting hung at the very back of the studio–Jesus on the cross, crying out to his father. I could stare at it for hours. Even the brush strokes conveyed so much emotion. I didn’t know a painting could do that–so perfectly capture the depth of pain and suffering.

It was chilling and beautiful all at the same time. A very visible reminder of God’s sacrifice on the cross. Something I don’t think I truly understood until I saw it hanging right before me on canvas. It was almost otherworldly.

One of the many, many wondrous things about God is that he speaks to each of us in an infinite number of ways, on a very personal level. So it’s no surprise that we all connect to him differently.

For some, it’s singing songs of praise. Or listening to a powerful sermon. Or studying the great theologians of the past. For me, I feel especially linked to God when lost in art.

I finished my portfolio that summer, though (spoiler alert!) I never went on to study art in college. Still, I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Mrs. Kim’s art. And a painting that brought me closer to God.

What about you? Which work of art opened your eyes up to God’s wonder? Share your favorites below.

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