The Artist at Work

The Artist at Work
The Artist at Work

Monday, October 24, 2011

Happy Are the Painters

Marcus' mom, Betsy Thomas, recently presented Marcus with a slim hard-bound book she just happened to find in a used book store entitled Painting as a Pastime by Winston Churchill.

Churchill, who discovered painting late in life, revels in his discovery of the sheer pleasure of painting, describing it as a “joy ride in a paint-box.” And for this joyful journey, expectations should be left at the door, he says: “Audacity is the only ticket.”

“Painting is a companion with whom one may hope to walk a great part of life’s journey,” Mr. Churchill writes, a truth close to Marcus’ heart.  Each step is an opportunity to see more, do more and learn more.

Winston Churchill and Marcus Thomas both learned the same secret: painting transforms the hours. No matter what weight burdens the heart, or what frustration nags at the mind, no matter if infirmity cripples the body, painting releases the soul and launches it into wonder. Churchill proclaims:

The whole world is open with all its treasures. The simplest objects have their beauty. Every garden presents innumerable fascinating problems. Every land, every parish, has its own tale to tell. And there are many lands differing from each other in countless ways, and each presenting delicious variants of color, light, form and definition. Obviously, then, armed with a paint-box, one cannot be bored, one cannot be left at a loose end, one cannot ‘have several days on one’s hands.’ Good gracious! What there is to admire and how little time to see it in!

What little time indeed for all the wonder the artist's soul can hold! A daredevil at heart, game for the joy-ride painting invites, Marcus’ work gives substance to his audacity and joy, as well as his poetic soul. As he faithfully takes up his brush, cherishing each moment, time itself, ordinary and mundane, begins to glow golden.

“Happy are the painters," declares Mr. Churchill, "for they shall not be lonely. Light and color, peace and hope, will keep them company to the end, or almost to the end, of the day." He concludes his own testament to the art of painting with a exhortation strikingly similar to Marcus’ philosophy of life: “Go out into the sunlight and be happy with what you see.”

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Invitational Show @ MHC Homecoming

Marcus' alma mater, Mars Hill College, is celebrating homecoming this weekend and as part of the festivities the Weizenblatt Gallery will showcase three alumni artists: Kristalyn Bunyan, Joelle Diepenbrock and our own, Marcus C. Thomas.

Marcus graduated MHC in 1985 with a degree in Recreation. Three months later, he survived a skiing accident that paralyzed him from the neck down. Before the accident, Marcus was a talented athlete. After the accident transformed his way of being in the world, he became a gifted artist.

We are thrilled about the show, which opens this week (Saturday @10am) and stays up all month. If you are in the area, consider a visit to see Marcus' work live.

From the artists' statement:

My voice as a painter amplifies multiple personalities that include a desperate cry for environmental help, a deathly cold walk through life, endlessly happy days of play, historic conversation about the evolution of flight, and simply celebrating the obvious beauty that surrounds us.