Judas Kisses Jesus


When Chris first saw Picasso’s “Portrait of Marie-Thérèse Walter”, with the use of the blue face and yellow lips, his  mind immediately went to Judas’ kiss to betray Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Note the similarities in both the color scheme, and the orientation of the hand in the paintings.



Following that thought, it seemed only natural to sample another of Picasso’s works for the expression on Jesus’ face. He chose a painting of similar style to sample from for the painting.




Chris, a self proclaimed “art history buff” likes to utilize various styles of art in his works in order to establish a unique style that can not be pegged into one particular genre. A southern artist, and Georgia native son, Chris infuses a wide range of colors, syles, and mediums in his paintings of multiple subject matters. Many of his paintings are spiritual in nature, but he also pants numerous still life and landscape scenes, in addition to a slew of abstract and figurative works.

I find this picture captivating. Judas seems to have a strange sense of peace on his face. Jesus, knowing what’s in store has a quiet countenance of disappointment at his beloved brother Judas’ betrayal.  The real chaos and confusion seems to come from Peter on the left, poised and ready to defend his rabbi, and the persecutors carrying the torch and spear, ready to take Jesus away to those who would condemn him.


For more information on Chris Cook, a premier Southern Artist, click here.


Orion: Southern Night Sky



One of the blessings of living in a Southern small town is that there aren’t a lot of city lights to pollute the night skies, and you can really get a chance to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation in the stars. In the little bit of time that I spent living in Cities like Charlotte, NC, I developed a longing for the night skies of my youth. There truly is nothing quite like a clear southern night, out in a field or pasture, sitting on a tailgate with a blanket staring at the stars. It’s something so special that countless recording artists have written songs with lyrics like

“We can throw a blanket down, crickets singin’ in the background, and more stars that you can count on a night this clear.”

Chris, being a southern artist would know this well.

One formation of stars in particular stands out to me as I gaze up at the stars. As a Cub Scout, I was fought to look for the three starts in a row that formed Orion’s belt. How awesome is it to think of the creative energy that went into forming the planets and stars in the sky; in the midst of all of that, God took the time to draw a few pictures with the stars for us to find and enjoy. Constellations may be man-made ideas, but I can’t help but marvel the beautiful and artistic presence that is inside God’s creation of a night sky.

Sitting and staring at the sky, it is difficult not to feel slightly less than significant as you get lost in the vastness of God’s creation. The universe, in all of its limitless splendor is all God’s glorious creation. However, I find peace in knowing that it was the same creator God who breathed breath into each of our lungs, and gave us life so that we, created in His image, might be able to enjoy the rest of his creation.


God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:16-18)


The blue barber shop: Streets of Madison



I have lived in Madison for 20+ years. A lot of things have changed in that time. A lot of businesses have come and gone.


People have moved in…People have moved out…People have passed on…


Through all of the changes that have taken place, there is one part of Madison that has stayed pretty constant (probably due in large part to the efforts of the Morgan County Historical Society) is the look & feel of the city streets in downtown. Riding down Main Street in Madison, GA hasn’t changed very much at all in my 27 years, and from what i’ve gathered it hasn’t changed much at all for a very long time. I think that Chris was able to capture the essence of this block of Main St. very well in this painting. It is a good representation of a Southern artist capturing a glimpse of a place near and dear to his heart.

One of my childhood memories of Madison was sitting in the barber’s chair at the Bulldog Barber Shop on Main Street. I can still remember seeing the bulldog statue, smelling the oiled clippers and freshly cut hair, and hearing the snips of scissors trimming away as I sat in the large leather chair, robed in a smock with a paper turtle-neck to keep the hairs out of my collar. My absolute favorite memory of that barber shop on main street, was knowing that after i’d been still and quiet long enough to get my haircut, the barber would open his desk drawer and hand me a penny so that I could take it over to the gum ball machine and get my prize.

It’s funny to me how much has changed all around the world in my 27 years on the 3rd rock from the sun. What cherish and treasure, however, is the regularity, and consistent beauty that surrounds downtown Madison. The memories that are maintained through the preservation of the homes and buildings of Madison may never be fully understood or appreciated by anyone other than a Madisonian, and I for one am glad and proud to be a part of the glorious stories that are held within.



Jed Hanes


For more information on the artist, Chris Cook, click HERE.





Jesus Heals the man possessed by Legion



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.

Oswald-Ruby Shooting


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.


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

A man’s soul:



“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.

Men of Galilee:


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.

Godfrey Feed: Madison, GA




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

Parent’s Room



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



Historic Madison



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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