Chris Cook Artist

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

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Still Life:

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When I think back to art class when I was in school, I typically think about the times that we’d “study” still life artists, and begin to dabble into creating our own still life images. It seems that this is probably one of the purest forms of art; to take an item (or two) and capture it on canvas in a way that represents it well. I’ve seen some that looked so realistic that one might not believe that they weren’t photographs. I’ve seen others that resemble more so something that my “artistic” mind and hands would have created.

That being said, Chris used this painting as an opportunity to showcase his tools as an artist, and to express himself in a popular style of painting.

I really like this picture; this may be in large part due to the fact that blue is one of my favorite colors. Another reason that I like it so much is that I don’t have to analyze this kind of art too much. I simply get to look at it, take it in, and appreciate it for what it is. I can see it, and know immediately that the artist was taking an opportunity to capture his pliers and a tube of paint. One does not have to read into thoughts like “why did the artist use the color blue right here?” or “what does the position of the pliers say about the feminist movement or the war on terror?”

Art is beautiful and expressive. I love Chris’ style and ability to showcase so much with varied styles, subject matters, and mediums in his work. Being surrounded by it each time I sit down to write one of the posts, I never get bored or feel like I’ve seen all that there is to see in his works. As a viewer/consumer, that is important to me.

Chris Cook is a premier southern artist and owner of Madison Studios, a web design, maintenance, and e-commerce and marketing company. For his artist biography, contact information, or to view more of his work, click HERE.

 

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Jesus Loves You:

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It’s a message that we could all stand to hear more often… “Jesus Loves You”

This painting started off when Chris saw a picture in the local newspaper of a group of young children visiting the local nursing home. The picture showed a group of residents lined up in their wheel chairs, with the children in front of him. When I asked him he said to me “I probably didn’t even read the article, but I was touched by the picture, so I tore it out and made it into a painting”.

The painting itself is a really captivating blend of mediums. I love that you can see the article in the background, that Chris pulled one face out of the crowd and painted her rather than leaving the picture itself to feature the residents. I love the juxtaposition of bright colors with the black and white of the center picture and the text of the article. The implementation of the Cross brings the whole idea of one act of love making a difference in together.

That was the whole basis for the article. Chris saw this one act that the children did for the residents, and it immediately motivated him to capture it in a painting. His mind went to Jesus’ death on the cross, one act of love to save so many.

I really like this painting for so many reasons, not the least of which is the colors. The message that it brings is one that we all could stand to hear more often. Jesus really does love each of us. He’s not in the business of condemnation, punishment, or pain. “Love God with everything you’ve got, and Love your neighbor as yourself” “Love one another as I have loved you” “We love, because he first loved us”.  Jesus LOVES us all…and that is something to cherish and to hold on to!

Chris Cook is a premier southern artist and owner of Madison Studios, a web design, maintenance, and e-commerce and marketing company. For his artist biography, contact information, or to view more of his work, click HERE.

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Rural Renewal:

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Madison, Georgia, and the surrounding area, has been rural for generations and generations. My grandfather, who is 85 now, moved here with his father early in his life because his uncle told him that this was “God’s country” and that “the ground wasn’t as rocky as it was up in Gainesville, and things just grew better”. They dairied, farmed, raised chickens, sold bait worms, put out rabbit boxes, and lived off of the land around here for years and years. All of this was back in a time when “going to town” (Madison) was a big deal, and didn’t happen all too often. He has told me stories of a rolling store that would come around to different farms to trade and sell goods.

Anyone who has lived here, or even visited for any extended period of time knows that there is something different about this part of the state. Very little has changed about the town square, many of the antebellum homes are still in tact, and several families continue to work the land and farm, just like generations before them have done for years. Growing up a native “Madisonian”, the typical teenage argument is one of complaint that we’d have to drive so far to get to anywhere that had something to do (like a mall, movie theatre, or skating rink).

There has been a lot of development and progress in the past few years in this area, but it all seems to be at a much slower pace than that of other cities and towns. There is just something about the quaint rurality of Madison that has seemed to defy development and “progress”; our very own “Mayberry” here in Georgia.

Alas, the time, thy are a changing… There are glimpses all over the area of growth, development, and renewal. This painting shows a glimpse of this phenomenon. The barn is on a pice of land, not too far from Madison. The land was rented by a company that wanted to put a cell phone tower up. Chris’ thinking was “they’ve found a new way to ‘live off of the land’ & are using it in a different way to make money”. Things are different, but still the same in many ways. Things are done in the name of progress and development, but bits and pieces of the past continue to hold true. This artistic juxtaposition in many ways, represents life in a rural town like Madison, GA. Holding on to the past, giving it the respect that it has earned, while dropping in bits of the future, never fully letting go of what once was.

Chris does a great job of capturing the transitional time that this area of the country is in.

Chris Cook is a premier southern artist and owner of Madison Studios, a web design, maintenance, and e-commerce and marketing company. For his artist biography, contact information, or to view more of his work, click HERE.

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Yalta:

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Chris took inspiration for this painting from a picture that he saw in Smithsonian Magazine. Art is so much about symbolism, placement, and subtlety so much of the time, and this painting is no exception.  There is SO much going on in this picture, I’ll just have to get right to it.

The main three men depicted in the painting are Winston Churchill, FDR, and Joseph Stalin.

Churchill – He’s depicted smoking a cigar & with a pig’s foot in place of one of his hands. In the years after England was bombed, as his people lived in shambles and extreme poverty, Churchill was notorious for continuing to smoke his cigars, and drink his liquor. This earned him an infamous reputation as a “pig” for his lavish lifestyle, despite the suffering all around him.

FDR- Can clearly be seen leaning in the direction of Stalin. Chris says that this is indicative of his decisions to give so much of Eastern Europe to Stalin’s forces, even so late in the war. He’s facing Churchill, but clearly leaning to Stalin’s side. His hand is even beginning to become gnarled like Stalin’s are.

Stalin – His hands are gnarled up and demonic/animalistic in appearance. He has a cheeky grin on his face, pleased with the direction and progress of things so far.

The Raven – Often a symbol of impending doom and death in literature and art. Conveniently perched between Churchill and FDR.

The Owl- Symbolizing secrecy, stealth, wisdom, and things hidden. He watches from over Stalin’s shoulder.

There are images of soldiers fighting the war off in the background of the painting, reminding the viewer of the “grunt work” of fighting that was taking place while these men held their meetings and decided the fate of much of the free world at that point.

The man pictured over Chruchill’s shoulder – His countenance bears a striking resemblance to what many of us would imagine the devil’s face to appear like. Chris says that he painted the devil into this picture so that, “he can be there making sure it all goes down the right way”. He uses influences from lyrics from the classic rock song “Sympathy for the Devil” by The Rolling Stones.  The song references the devil being present in times like when Pilate washed his hands of Christ’s blood, and “watching with glee, as kings and queens fought for decades…” Take a listen to the song while looking at this painting, it’ll definitely make you stop and think for a while.

Art is all about symbolism, emotion, and interpretation. I think Chris did a fantastic job of all of these in this painting. Take a look…Take a listen… Think, and Tell me your opinion.

 

Chris Cook is a premier southern artist and owner of Madison Studios, a web design, maintenance, and e-commerce and marketing company. For his artist biography, contact information, or to view more of his work, click HERE.

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Resurrection

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When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The titles of these two pictures are “Resurrection of the Dead” and “Resurrection of the Living”, respectively. They are Chris’ depictions of the time that Jesus returns in all of his splendor to bring his people home.
The Resurrection of the Dead hints to the sea, the grave, and the ground – all things that currently hold mortal bodies for now. A holding place, if you would for us to wait on Christ’s return. I love that the way he depicted the grave is that it’s torn open and the “person” is ascending, leaving the mortal and earthly realm behind. Death conquered once and for all by God’s mighty power.
The Resurrection of the Living shows the “person” ascending from the earth into the sky. You can clearly see the presence of the image leaving the body behind.
I know that there are countless nuances and intricacies of the return of Christ and the ascension of his people that we will never be able to comprehend this side of Heaven, but there are many truths that bring me a lot of comfort as a believer held within this time as well.
  • Death itself has no power over those who are in Christ Jesus – our earthly mortality will cease, and the graves will no longer have their hold on those who have gone before. All will be returned and restored to Him in his time and plan
  • Sickness has no power over Jesus’ work on the cross. We will all be made perfect, and our weak and wounded bodies will be fully restored to the perfection that God had in mind for us from the beginning. The pain and sickness that we feel now are fleeting and temporary, nothing compared to the restored glory that lies ahead.

I don’t know the specifics of the how and the when of this time, but I take comfort in knowing that they will take place. God has a plan to return his people to himself, and I know that he will be faithful to bring it to completion.

These paintings serve as a great artistic reminder of God’s promise to return us to him. There is something to be said about seeing a peace of art, and having it fill you with a sense of emotion. That’s really what art is all about, after all. Chris does a really good job of capturing the promise of our resurrection through Christ in these works.

Theres a sense of peace that I get when i see a visual reminder of the grave split open, that death itself can not be conquered by our King. It’s a great reminder that this world, and all of it’s pain, sickness, war, poverty, famine, and trouble is merely temporary, and will all fall away in comparison with the eternity that is in the perfection of a relationship with Christ.

Chris Cook is a premier southern artist and owner of Madison Studios, a web design, maintenance, and e-commerce and marketing company. For his artist biography, contact information, or to view more of his work, click HERE.

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New American Totem Pole

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For years past, totems were symbolic of battles, murders, family heritage, religious idols, and numerous other things. Typically found on the pacific coast of the U.S., these towers expressed a large amount of culture, creativity, and regional individuality.

That being said, Chris is an artist, and artists see things differently…

Chris saw, either in reality or in his mind, this image of a bird perched on a telephone pole, and thought of a totem pole. In a lot of ways, I totally see where he’s coming from in this. Totems were used to convey a message, to communicate, if you would. They were often an expression of battles, conflicts, family heritage, and religious identity – much of that can be conveyed today through technology and modern communication. In a lot of ways, the “pole” presence of totems has been achieved and spread throughout the entire country with the advent of telephone poles.

The message, however, has shifted away from that of individuality and regional expression and more towards centralization of information and a feeling of connectedness amongst the country’s people. What was once such a vibrant and unique expression has been reduced down to a mainstream symbol of “progress”.

Furthermore, these days, the need for overhead “phone lines” and poles is going the way of the dodo bird as cloud technology and digital signals continue to replace hard wired communication. It just goes to show how times can shift, and the way we see things one day can be completely different on the next. Kudos to Chris for seeing this image, and capturing the thoughts down. Years from now, corded phones and wired communication will be a thing of the past, much like many of the people who once carved the grand totems out west.

Chris Cook is a premier southern artist and owner of Madison Studios, a web design, maintenance, and e-commerce and marketing company. For his artist biography, contact information, or to view more of his work, click HERE.

 

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Carter

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Carter is Chris’ son. He’s an avid soccer player, and an active member of the youth group at the local Methodist Church here in Madison.

Chris used acrylic paint on canvas to capture a glimpse of Carter for the family collection. I think that he did a great job of getting the essence of Carter’s personality in this portrait. I have greatly enjoyed getting to know Carter over the last 2.5 years that I have been back in town. One of the first things that anyone who spends more than a few minutes with him will begin to notice is his smile and his laughter. Simply put, Carter is a happy guy, and one that would do anything to help anyone.

I can think of no better way to have captured this memory of Carter than to have him in full smile, teeth showing and all! That’s the great thing about art – its all about capturing one moment, one memory, one point in time, one emotion. So many of Chris’ paintings do this so well, colors, expressions, styles, and placements draw the view into the painting and into that moment in time. This truth holds particular strength in a lot of Chris’ spiritual paintings like the one of the healed blind man.

Art is all about capturing a moment. Moments in time are fleeting, and it’s important that we find a way to make them last and impact our lives fully, before they are gone forever. Do you have a favorite moment in time or history that has been captured in a work of art?

Chris Cook is a premier southern artist and owner of Madison Studios, a web design, maintenance, and e-commerce and marketing company. For his artist biography, contact information, or to view more of his work, click HERE.

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Crab Apple Tree

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The south is full of interesting people, many of whom have amazing stories to tell. Farmers, dairymen, mechanics, doctors, teachers, veterans, and the like are all over little towns here in the south. One such man is affectionately known as “Mr. Charlie” to Chris. Chris spent some time shadowing and talking with Mr. Charlie, listening to stories, and snapping pictures as he walked and worked around his property. It was an afternoon full of memories and moments that I am sure Chris remembers even today.

I like the way that Chris captured this moment. The greens of the pasture and the leaves of the tree, and the roundness of the apples remind me of time spent on some family property, walking fence lines and throwing crab apples at my brother. The fruit of the tree was always temperamental, almost never “just right”; most often, a taste would result in a puckered face and an exclamation of displeasure.

The folds of Mr. Charlie’s bag and clothing almost seem to mirror the folds and wrinkles in his arms and face. Both are weathered and worn by time, but still work well, and serve a great purpose. From this angle, Mr. Charlie could remind just about anyone around these parts of an uncle, a grandfather, a neighbor, or a friend.

People from Mr. Charlie’s generation are a different breed altogether. They knew more about living off of the land, living a frugal life, and enjoying moments for what they are than any generation after probably ever will. They came from a much simpler time. Chris did a great job of capturing the essence of what Mr. Charlie, and the people like him stand for; a little worn and somewhat broken down, but still full of life, energy, and wisdom that extend far beyond their time. The amount of life held within the years of men and women like Mr. Charlie is something for all of us to remember, revere, and admire.

What are the memories that this painting evokes for you?

Chris Cook is a premier southern artist and owner of Madison Studios, a web design, maintenance, and e-commerce and marketing company. For his artist biography, contact information, or to view more of his work, click HERE.

 

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Father Francis

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Father Francis Xavier Kavanagh was one of the founding members of the Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery in Conyers, GA. He, along with 19 others, formed the Trappist Monastery in 1944. Father Francis is widely remembered by most of the students and visitors who came to the grounds for his role as guest master. He was the face and voice of the monastery for many of the guest who came in seeking information and spiritual counsel.

Chris grew up in the Conyers area. He visited the grounds often as both a “tourist” and as an artist seeking inspiration. The beautiful southern landscape lends a lot of natural beauty to the grandeur of the abbey grounds.

I like the style of this painting. Chris jests that I’m “digging deep” for this painting because it’s from so long ago. I think that the geometric lines and shapes that compose the face, juxtaposed against the rounded crown of the Father’s head are captivating.

There is a mysterious, almost secretive shroud around the monastic lifestyle. I’ve often pondered about the type of faith that it would take to live a life devoted to monastic practices like prayer, service, solitude, silence, and the Trappist skills like baking bread and making wine, beer, and cheeses. The devotion that these men have to their crafts and to their faith is unparalleled. Chris does a beautiful job of capturing a glimpse of the father, incorporated into an artistically blended and beautiful expression.

My question is this – What are your experiences with Monks, Nuns, and Monasteries? Have you visited the grounds out in Conyers? Ever enjoyed a food or product made by the hands of one of these skilled craftsmen?

 

Chris Cook is a premier southern artist and owner of Madison Studios, a web design, maintenance, and e-commerce and marketing company. For his artist biography, contact information, or to view more of his work, click HERE.

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Nativity

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With the first Sunday of Advent behind us, and the supply of leftover turkey and dressing dwindling down, the coming of Christmas is becoming more and more real as the days go by. For those of you who aren’t keeping count, Christmas Eve is 3 weeks from today! This is the perfect time of the year to begin to reflect, recall, and remember all that took place in the months before. The Calendar year is drawing to a close, and the Christian year is just beginning. Whether we like it or not, Christmas is coming; December 25th will come just like it always has. The time is now for us to begin to prepare…

Prepare our minds – try to clear our heads of the stress and chaos of bouncing from one family event to the next. To cope with the increased traffic, larger crowds at stores, psyching ourselves up for “that” family member and their comments and conversations around the table.

Prepare our homes – Cleaning, hanging lights, putting red bows and greenery on anything that will stand still long enough, baking sweets and goodies to be prepared for those drop in guests, finishing up that “honey do” list before everyone comes over for the big dinner.

Prepare our hearts – Advent is literally defined as “the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event”. As Christians, it is a time set aside for us to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ into the world. We focus on Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love….all of which Christ brought into the world when he was born in that manger.

Nativity scenes are rampant in homes, businesses, and town squares this time of year. Depictions of cattle, sheep, wise men, the manger and barn, Joseph, Mary, and the baby in the manger. It is a familiar scene for most of us, but it serves as a great reminder for us of the humble entrance that our Savior made into this world some 2000 years ago.

Chris’ wife Robyn asked him to paint a nativity scene for their home last year. This painting was the result that came. I like the way that he shows the stable distant and separated from the rest of the town. It reinforces that there was no real room for the family as they came into the busy town of Bethlehem. No real preparation or “getting ready” for them at all. It’s a great reminder of the gift that God gave us, even when the world hadn’t prepared a place for her King.

My hope is that this, and every year, each of us will be able to slow down, reflect on the blessings, and prepare a place in our hearts for the coming of Jesus into our lives, just as he came into that Bethlehem stall years ago. May we seek him out, like the wise men did, worship him, as the shepherds came and did, and hold him close to our hearts, much like I am sure the Virgin Mary did on that first night.

Chris Cook is a premier southern artist and owner of Madison Studios, a web design, maintenance, and e-commerce and marketing company. For his artist biography, contact information, or to view more of his work, click HERE.