Playdates with God: The Impressionists

The Impressionists
The Pursuit, Kayenta Arizona by William Robinson Leigh
The Impressionists
The Watcher by Frank Weston Benson
The Impressionists
Lincoln’s Birthday Flags-1918 by Childe Hassam

Every Tuesday is free Tuesday at one of our local museums. One is encouraged to leave a small donation if one is a person of any means. But I am in disguise as one of The-Least-of-These when I go, so I slip in unnoticed—a ghost in blue jeans.
I’ve resolved to wear this place out every Tuesday—to go through each exhibit with young eyes. I promise my Companion that we will not rush, that we will go slow and savor; and I pray a constant conversation as we stand before each work of art.
I have been afraid of places like this most of my life. The subtle messages the world sends to a young girl growing up in poverty scream loud in her ears. Museums, upscale restaurants, cultural centers, expensive stores with makeup counters…these were places I didn’t belong. But wisdom comes with each passing year and when God is one’s companion…the feet will make every space holy.
I spend two hours in The Impressionist exhibit. I read each and every sign, drink in color like milk. I am a child, my disguise no longer a false front…I am newly born and all the world is wonder. I have brought some squares of parchment and I pull out my pencil and try to make these paintings come to life with my hands. Later, I will fill them in with color and re-live the beauty of this moment. The joy that lifts inside of me at the curve of a goat’s neck, at the way a horse’s face takes shape under my hand…this is the joy of waking up to a new life—a new Kingdom.

The Impressionists
working of The Pursuit, watercolor pencil sketch by laura
The Impressionists
detail sketch from Women, Boy and Goats by John Costigan (my sketch)
Madeleine L’Engle, in that book I have read and re-read, dog-eared the pages and underlined in every color imaginable, she says, “We are hurt; we are lonely; and we turn to music or words, and as compensation beyond all price we are given glimpses of the world on the other side ot time and space. We all have glimpses of glory as children, and as we grow up we forget them, or are taught to think we made them up; they couldn’t possibly have been real, because to most of us who are grown up, reality is like radium, and can be borne only in very small quantities.”
And so Tuesdays will be my radium. I feel the danger already. I tremble at this glimpse of eternity and I cradle it close with parchment and graphite, color and light. 
How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us:
the Playdates button:


  1. Nancy Sturm says

    Your pictures are so beautiful, both those created with paint and those brush stroked with words. Thank you for sharing your talents and for sharing your childlike wonder and trust in God.

  2. says

    Yes, impressionist art is my favorite. Impressionist era piano music was always my favorite to play. I wish we had a free museum nearby. Beautiful words, Laura! As always.

  3. says

    Oh, that’s me at an art museum! There’s never enough time! So glad you get to do this. You’re making me wish I lived where I could, too. But when I get the chance…

    Thanks for taking me with you today.

    Sylvia at

  4. says

    I am the product of a preacher and an artist. So I went to college to get a fine art degree but ended up eventually veering more closely to my father’s craft of “pastoring” by being a counselor. I could never achieve the loose, gentle impressions that Impressionist artists or even watercolor artists could master. I preferred the certainty of graphite and a good kneaded eraser or those much more forgiving oils! haha! And my writing is the same way–practical, based in pure reality and full of “re-dos.” But I sooo very much appreciate your amazing writing, your insights, your photography, your art–all of it, Laura. You are different by God’s design. But it’s great that we can appreciate and love each other’s God given expressions. And today your expression is amazing! I hope your birthday was just as amazing as well!

  5. says

    Oh, Laura! This just gave me goosebumps for so many reasons. I’ve been re-visiting my attempts (and failures) to teach my children art during our home schooling years, wondering what they took away from those efforts. And the picture you paint, through your words,of young Laura just grieves me heart.

    But art and music bring healing, and give us hope–restoring the years the locusts have eaten. I love the way kingdom life is waking up within you!

  6. bluecottonmemory says

    Laura – I too am learning to link my arm though His and walk together – it is amazing how everything looks them:) I would love to see the sketches complete:) Enjoy Tuesday:)

  7. says

    oh, that quote! so much to digest there. Like you, I’ve kept myself from places I believed I didn’t belong, still do sometimes. We’re learning it doesn’t hurt to give ourselves permission to live in truth and passion.

  8. Being Woven says

    What a special post. I grew up with a Mom who purposefully took us to museums of all kinds. We were stationed in Washington, DC when I was in 5th to 8th grade where she had a field trip planned for many weekends to the incredible art and history museums of our capitol. Being afraid to go was never in my makeup, but being an artist was also not in my makeup. I appreciate art but cannot draw. I appreciate music tremendously but failed at playing the piano, the clarinet, and the bassoon, of all instruments!! I loved them all, but was terrible. But Mama taught me to appreciate the arts so that is what I do…APPRECIATE! Now I write on a blog and enjoy that as I believe God has given me more than an appreciation, but I blog in His language as I love my walk with the Lord. So He writes and I type what I hear. I hope! Well, most of the time.

    Thanks, Laura. It is good to be back in this writing world. Being a child…I think I do that better than the adult thing.

    “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” Luke 18:17

    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

  9. says

    A beautiful playdate indeed. I love the idea of you prayer-walking with your Savior through the museum, enjoying the creative gifts of those created in His image and creating some of your own beauty as well. This post makes me beam with delight. May you discover more wonder and blessing tomorrow, friend. Thanks so much for sharing this bit of your heart.

    (That L’Engle book is dogeared in my house too. I bought it in a floating Christian bookstore on a ship that traveled about to port cities lacking such places, of which Bangkok was one. Perhaps I love it for that as much as for the content, which is excellent.)

  10. says

    Oh, I wish I could wander through the museum with you, too. My husband and I soaked up bountiful beauty everywhere we looked, it seemed, when we lived in Europe as newlyweds. And to move slowly thru as if to rediscover the eyes of a child, yes, that will be sheer gift. Happy holy week, dear friend.

  11. says

    What a beautiful image of you and your Companion soaking up the Impressionists together. I had a similar experience at the National Gallery. I actually just stumbled in to get out of the cold and took some time to enjoy their Calder mobiles. As they move the colored shadows change, no two moment is alike.

  12. soulstops says

    I am so happy that you are able to enjoy art with your Holy Companion and for you sharing glimpses with us. Hugs to you, my friend 🙂 Museums and art also make me think of God and draw close to Him.

  13. kingfisher says

    Laura, you always write so beautifully and expressively, no matter what subject you choose. God has indeed gifted you with the gift of writing, and you’ve perfected it through much study and practice. So happy for you that you have a free museum where you can lose your adultness and simply enjoy the beauty. So glad that you not only take your Savior along with you, but that you then share the God-and-you experience with us, so we may partake more bountifully of our own conversations with our Lord. Blessings and love.

  14. OutnumberedMom says

    Oh, Laura…you are speaking my language today. The Impressionists and Madeleine L’Engle, too. I LOVE this line, my friend: “When God is one’s companion…the feet will make every space holy.”
    We do a lot of driving in the summer. I MUST figure out a way to stop for coffee in West Virginia! Thanks for this beautiful post.

  15. pastordt says

    Love this loveliness, Laura – so much. Thank you. I’m glad you’re taking Tuesdays for YOU and for deep conversation with the artist in you and Artist who made you.

  16. says

    Free Tuesday, and I like free. When I was growing up in Oakland, CA there were several museums, both art and antique and history, but there was no charge then. Times change and once a week is good to encourage people to visit the museum. Color and different types of art are so lovely!

  17. says

    “I’ve resolved to wear this place out every Tuesday” Love this!

    “I have been afraid of places like this most of my life. The subtle messages the world sends to a young girl growing up in poverty…these were places I didn’t belong.” Yes.

    An inspiring post, Laura!

  18. Jean Wise says

    I reread this post several times. Just love how you drink in the art. Reminds me of Henri Nouwen and how he loved Rembrandt’s Prodigal son. Sounds like to me all art speaks to you but may you also be blessed with some special one near and dear to your heart!

  19. says

    My entry is for anyone who has ever been betrayed and stolen from. Jesus was betrayed by his closest friends, yet he forgave. It must not have always been easy to forgive, but he did.

  20. says

    Even now I feel that trepidation that I don’t belong. You know the funny thing? The museum is on the top of a winding hilly road and there are banners attached to the utility poles all the way up. They say, “You belong in a museum.” I let that minister to me every time.

  21. says

    If you pass through WV, you had better stop to see me! We’ll make a run for the museum–or at least read some lines of L’Engle over a glass of lemonade. That would be perfect.

  22. says

    Sandra, it’s nice to see you here! This summer when we took our boys to DC they all went to the Aerospace Museum and I went to the National Gallery. It is one of my favorite memories from that trip. I almost got lost in Vincent’s eyes. Your story sounds like a scene from a movie! It’s good to stumble into beauty that way 🙂

  23. says

    Oh, to live in Europe as newlyweds! That sounds incredibly romantic, Alicia. I hope one day we can sit across from each other over a cupa so you can tell me all about it.

  24. says

    I don’t think I can visit that place enough times to have enough time there. Yesterday I made it through a special anniversary exhibit. I’ll write about it soon (and share my sketches–this is so much fun!). Give Ebony a smooch for me.

  25. says

    I am finding it so liberating to let my heart go back to that young girl I was and give permission to enjoy, explore, and question. The hardest part is taking the first step in that direction. BUt when I get there I find my heart is young again.

  26. says

    Yes, isn’t it? Amazing? I’ll have to post my little sketches on FB when I get them all done. The fun thing is they are nothing fancy so I don’t stress about them at all. It’s just fun, fun, fun.

  27. says

    Just think what a gift you gave your children by just sharing your love for beauty, Nancy. I’m guessing they are better at seeing because of the ways you taught them about art. And, yes–this has been a healing process. One I didn’t even know I needed!

  28. says

    I think that is the hardest part for me, Sylvia–giving myself permission to “waste” time this way. But it is so restorative, so invigorating. I am so grateful for it. You may come with me any time!

  29. says

    Your story made me sad, but glad you have a redeemer who restores the things that men take away. I’m glad Jesus is our role model when it comes to these things.

  30. betty-wiseheartedwomen.blogspo says

    Your writing style and the way you form a picture with your words are so soothing, calming, beautiful.
    I experienced your words recently at a museum looking at the details of paintings. I think age has given me an appreciation of more art froms. Voice, singing use to be my way of drawing close to the creator, the way voices blend together, how words are framed in a song, the message of light of our Savior…hummm, I still enjoy listening but my singing voice has lost so much of the ability to reproduce the pleasant sounds. Age has taken its toll but it has not taken away the desire to enjoy pleasure and your post gave me pleasure. Blessings my sister.

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