Our church bulletin announced the forthcoming annual art display in the all-purpose room. Members were once again invited to bring their oils, watercolors, camera work, wood carvings, and so forth to the church. Each year I am amazed at the artistic talent in our congregation. And each year I regret that I have nothing to contribute, inasmuch as my drawing abilities did not develop beyond my kindergarten days.
I was thinking about all this while rummaging through the back of a basement closet, where I found my wife’s art supplies left over from her painting days. The supplies included some dozen half-squeezed tubes of paints. I wondered whether they had dried out over the years.
Seeing a piece of cardboard on the floor, I squeezed out a dark red blob on it. Another tube produced another color. Soon I had five blobs of different hues. I filled the spaces between them with some yellow paint from a remaining tube. Presto! I had produced a modern, abstract piece of art in less than 10 minutes!
I turned it a number of times to decide which side would be on top. To me the painting looked to be the equal of some stuff I had stared at, in ignorance, in art museums in New York and Chicago. I called the committee of our church. I said I had a painting to submit.
I was not prepared for the questions I was asked: How large was it? Was it insured? What value did I place on it? What was its title? I started making up answers. I found that each lie had to be buttressed with another. I dug myself deeper into a hole with each question and began to wonder how I would ever climb out of it—all in my effort to have my masterpiece accepted.
I said my painting had been appraised at $4,000 and that it was on loan from the Detroit Institute of Arts. As for its title, I said—happening to look at an article on my desk on the five points of Calvinism—it was called The Five Points. I was told to expect a return call.
Feeling ashamed, I sat down immediately. I wrote a complete confession and sent it that same day to the lady who had interviewed me.
A week later she called me. She had received my letter and so learned the truth. I was surprised by what she added. The committee wanted my offering. It might serve as a touch of humor. Did I still have it? I retrieved my masterpiece from the garbage can and brought it to church. The committee gave it a better frame and displayed it amid some really good creations. They placed my name, J.D. Eppinga, beneath my work as the artist. The sign further identified the painting as being on loan from the Synod of Dort. A beautiful bouquet of tulips was placed beneath it.
Having preaching engagements elsewhere, I could not be present for the showings on two succeeding Sundays. I was told that my work drew considerable attention and quite a few guffaws.
At the close of the two-week display, the artists were requested to retrieve their productions. However, mine was personally and carefully delivered to my home by no less then the chair of the committee.
Not knowing what to do with my framed blobs, I have now hung my work of genius. Not beside our reproduction of Rembrandt’s The Night Watch, but in a good place for it.
P.S. Can you name the five points?