Chris Cook Artist

Southern Art – Georgia Artist – Landscape Paintings, Christian Art, Southern Expressionist Art

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Jesus Heals the man possessed by Legion

 

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When Jesus climbed out of the boat, a man possessed by an evil spirit came out from a cemetery to meet him. This man lived among the burial caves and could no longer be restrained, even with a chain. Whenever he was put into chains and shackles—as he often was—he snapped the chains from his wrists and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Day and night he wandered among the burial caves and in the hills, howling and cutting himself with sharp stones.

When Jesus was still some distance away, the man saw him, ran to meet him, and bowed low before him. With a shriek, he screamed, “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In the name of God, I beg you, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had already said to the spirit, “Come out of the man, you evil spirit.” 
Then Jesus demanded, “What is your name?”
And he replied, “My name is Legion, because there are many of us inside this man.” Then the evil spirits begged him again and again not to send them to some distant place. 
There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby. “Send us into those pigs,” the spirits begged. “Let us enter them.”
So Jesus gave them permission. The evil spirits came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd of about 2,000 pigs plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.
When I read this passage, and look at this piece of art, I stop to think about the things in life that torment and bind each and every one of us. Whether it’s visible or not, many of us struggle with things that keep us retreated back away from others, much like the man in this passage. He could not be held by manmade chains or bonds anymore. The pain of what tormented him was so great that he’d retreated to a life of solitude and agony within the burial caves outside of the village. People knew him not as himself, but rather as a reflection of the daemons that tormented his life.
As I continue reading, however, there is a part of this story that pops out at me. Jesus, still some distance away, evokes a response from both the tormented man, and the hoard of spirits within him. The spirits immediately recognize and know who Jesus is, and furthermore, they know that he will interfere with the work of evil that they are conducting inside their host. They resort to begging Jesus not to send them away. They know he has the power to rebuke them and send them away. They’d rather be able to continue tormenting something, even a herd of pigs than to be sent away all together.
What sticks to my mind and heart the most is that the things that torment us, no matter how terrible or painful they are, are subject to the authority and power of Jesus. The spirits and the man knew that he had the power to get rid of the pain and torment. The man knew Jesus had the answer to his problem, and Legion knew that Jesus was the source of their demise. What we need to do is just be willing to let Jesus get close enough to us, in the midst of our pain, and to allow him to call out the pain and draw it out of us like we know he can.
The passage tells us that the man was left “sitting there fully clothed and perfectly sane”, and that people were afraid when they saw this. The man wasn’t just better he was completely sane, restored, and made new. May we all rely on Jesus’ power to heal the things that hold us in bondage and cause us pain. May we rest on the truth that he makes all things new, and not just better.
Jed Hanes
For more information Chris Cook, a premier southern artist, click HERE.

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Oswald-Ruby Shooting

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As the 50 year anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy (November 22, 1963), and the subsequent death of his suspected killer, Lee Harvey Oswald, two days later, I find it fitting that Chris just finished this piece this week. I came into the office today to find it in a new place on the wall here at Madison Studios. Of all of the days, a traveler from Ontario, Canada came into the gallery while snapping pictures of downtown Madison’s storefronts and streets. The man was a self professed “Kennedy Buff” who had a connection on his grandmother (who was born a Kennedy)’s side to our late Commander-In-Chief. The visitor came in and marveled at both the content and style of the painting.

The piece is Chris’s depiction of Jack Ruby assassinating Oswald just 2 short days after he, according to our government, killed JFK. The style of the painting was inspired by Guernica, a piece by Pablo Picasso that depicts the violence and devastation that came from the bombing of Guernica, Spain by the Germans during the Spanish Civil War. I think that this painting really helps to demonstrate the versatility of how a southern artist can pull from very classical paintings and incorporate them stylistically into a work that is still uniquely his own.

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Rather than harp on the conspiracies and coverups that surround the events that shook our nation 50 years ago, Chris chose to base the style off of the Picasso pice to reflect the savage and violent nature of humanity. The violence that surrounded the attack on Guernica shook Spain much like the attack on our President did for the US back in ’63. The style of the painting is very much like that of Picasso’s depiction of the disaster after the bombing.

Where were you when Kennedy was shot? What are your thoughts on those who claim it was all a conspiracy? What do acts like the shooting, and the bombing of a village is Spain say about the state of our world?

Jed Hanes

More information on the artist can be found at http://www.chriscookartist.com/bio.html

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A man’s soul:

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“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”

Mark 8:36-37 NIV

I find it funny that in all of science and technology, the entirety of modern medicine, there is one thing that we can not put our fingers on. The one thing about human beings is that we are created with a Soul. The soul, our breath of life, our will, our self, our individuality…what truly makes each and every one of us unique.

Science could, as far as I know, engineer a life form from a group of cells and genetic material. But one thing that they can not replicate is the soul of a human being. I believe that this, among a host of other indications, is great testament to the creator God that breathed breath into each of our lungs. He made each of us in his image with a specific purpose for our lives. Our soul, “psuché” in the Greek is, in my opinion, the mark of what makes us God’s glorious creation. It set’s us apart from all other created things. It is a quality that makes us…us.

Jesus warned that if we gained everything in the world, yet forfeited our souls, then we would gain nothing. There is nothing in this world that could possibly replace the peace and comfort of a relationship with the Father, through the Son, and being able to say “it is well with my soul”.

I think that another way of saying this might be felt in these words.

“You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.”

May we never lose sight of our soul, and the glorious gift from above that it is from our Father in heaven.

Jed Hanes

For more information on Chris Cook, a premier southern artist, check out http://www.chriscookartist.com/bio.html.

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Men of Galilee:

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9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 
11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven,
will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
Imagine this – you are one of the disciples…one of the few who have spent the last few years of your life devoted to following THE ONE, the Messiah. Your rabbi, who you have seen raise men from the dead, walk on water, heal the sick, drive out daemons, and feed thousands of people with just a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish has just ascended into the heavens (bear in mind that this is taking place about 40 days after he died & was resurrected).
So you and your fellow disciples are left standing there staring up at the heavens…perplexed about what should come next. Where do you go? What do you do? How do you begin to move on? Lucky for us, the two men dressed in white give us a promise of His return, and hope for the mean time.
The good news, the Gospel if you will, for each of us is that Christ is risen from the dead. The key for us, just as it was for the disciples is what we do in the mean time. We don’t need to be the ones left standing there, staring at the heavens. We do however, need to follow the examples of the apostles in the days following the ascension. They prayed for God’s guidance, received the Spirit at Pentecost, and began their work as the hands and feet of Jesus’ ministry.
Rather than being complacent, staring at the heavens, and waiting in fear of what could happen, we need to embrace the power He gives us through the spirit and be the ones who share the good news of the resurrection and all of the joy and peace that comes with it. We should be like the apostles and continue to share Jesus’ love and power with all those around us until the day of his return.
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. 
Let us look for Jesus, through the power of the Spirt, by the grace of the Father, through service and fellowship with one another.
-Jed Hanes
For more information on Chris Cook, a premier southern artist, visit http://www.chriscookartist.com/bio.html.

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Godfrey Feed: Madison, GA

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Madison Studios is located on West Washington Street, just down from Godfrey’s Feed Co. The profile of this mill has become a fixture of Madison, as it is probably the closest that downtown will ever come to having a “skyscraper”.

As we sit and work, we can often hear the sounds of the machinery working the seed and feed. The persistent rumble of delivery trucks coming in and out, and the whine of the train horn serve to remind us of the once bustling agricultural hub that Madison was. Farming, and all of the businesses and jobs that go along to support it have played such a vital role in the development of what Madison has become.

There is just something beautiful about the mechanical and metallic and noisy mill set against the quaint antebellum buildings and centuries old trees. Madison is a beautiful town, and would not be the same without this mill. What buildings in town stir memories or emotions for you? What landmarks do you see in your mind’s eye when you imagine the Madison skyline?

 

-Jed Hanes

 

For more information on Chris Cook, a premier southern artist, visit http://www.chriscookartist.com/bio.html

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Parent’s Room

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I think we all have memories of sneaking through our homes at night when we were supposed to be asleep. This picture reminds me of those nights.

The walls are blue with the darkness of the night, all is quiet. Maybe you’ve ventured out for a drink of water or to go to the bathroom. Maybe you’re feeling adventurous and defiant, wanting to know what goes on when the rest of the world thinks that you’re asleep.

For me, this image personifies the little child in all of us that wandered out, looking to see what the night might hold. I can almost hear the muffled sounds of the television, and my parents’ voices coming through the walls.

When you think back on your childhood, what stands out for you? What memories permeate your psyche? Good or bad, we all have memories of the other side of the door…

– Jed Hanes

 

More Information about the artist, Chris Cook, can be found at http://www.chriscookartist.com/bio.html

 

 

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Historic Madison

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Madison, GA. – A quaint historic city nestled halfway between Atlanta and Augusta, full of beautiful antebellum homes and pieces of Southern history. Growing up in Madison, I never really understood or appreciated just how beautiful the homes and streets were, and how historically significant the town really is. We all got the “Joshua Hill talked Sherman out of burning the town on his ‘March to the Sea’ ” talk when we were in school, but none of us were really able to grasp all that lies in the history of Madison, GA.

Something else that is unique to living in a town like Madison is the number of tourists, artists, photographers, and other onlookers who spent their afternoons and weekends wandering down the city streets, snapping pictures and taking in the memories of the historic homes and storefronts that the city has to offer. There is no telling how many artists have captured the essence of downtown Madison over the past 200 or so years.

This particular building holds a special place in my heart, as it is located next door to Madison First UMC, my home church. Heritage Hall is a hub for the Historical Society of Madison. The Greek Revival home is a great testament to the Antebellum architecture that permeates Madison, GA year round. There is truly something special about standing in and seeing homes that have been around since the 1830’s.

I think that this piece does a great job of capturing the grandeur of Heritage Hall, and the true spirit of antebellum Madison. When I see it, I am reminded of how truly fortunate Madisonians are to have such rich history all around us. It also serves as a reminder of the timeless beauty and art that are expressed in antebellum architecture.

– Jed Hanes

 

More Information about the artist, Chris Cook, can be found at http://www.chriscookartist.com/bio.html

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Saul: Acts 9

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Saul set out on the road to Damascus with one goal in mind; to eliminate as many of the followers of “The Way” that he could. He wanted to do his part to quell the rebellion of these revolutionaries. However, as we often see…God had a different plan for Saul than his own..something much different…something much better.

Saul was a religious man. He’d devoted much of his life to following the Law. He was a “holy man” not only in his own eyes, but in the eyes of many of the men that he came into contact with daily. Saul had a problem, however; even though he kept the Law and lived a “good life”, his heart was as black as night.

God met Saul, like he so often does for each of us, on the path that was sure to lead to destruction and death. He seized the opportunity to get Saul’s attention.

3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.

4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, 

“Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

5“ Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,”he replied.
6 “Now get up and go into the city,
and you will be told what you must do.”
Saul was literally knocked off of his high horse, and blinded of his self-righteous vision in order for God the Father to show him His plan for his life. How true is it for each of us that, from time to time, God has to knock us down and shine the light of his love and majesty into our eyes so that we can more clearly see his greater plan for our lives?
May we all remember that his vision and plans for our lives are far greater than we could ever imagine. May we also use Saul’s story to serve as a reminder of God’s grace and willingness to meet us right where we are to lead us back to Him.
– Jed Hanes
More Information about the artist, Chris Cook, can be found at http://www.chriscookartist.com/bio.html

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Untitled Abstract:

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Art comes in so many forms. It is tough to think about trying to classify what “art” really is. As I look into and see more of Chris’ works, I am further reminded of just how all encompassing the term “art” really can be.

On the days that I work at Madison Studios, I am constantly surrounded by many of Chris’ paintings. This one in particular is an “Untitled” abstract piece. Even without a clear title, in the wide genre of abstract art, it is easy to see the beauty and artistic expression that went into this painting.

God gave us eyes to see and appreciate all things beautiful, He himself being the creator of art, beauty, and colors. Today, I pause and thank God for colors, for beauty, and for art. How awesome is it that we serve a creative God with the passion and skill to knit together the cosmos, sunsets, flowers, people, waterfalls, sonnets, and symphonies.

My challenge for each of us is to look into our world around and find something beautiful and “artistic” and to take a moment, pause, and thank the “artist above” for all that he has given us.

What do you see in this “Untitled Abstract”?

Jed Hanes

 

More information on the artist, Chris Cook, can be found at http://www.chriscookartist.com/bio.html.