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.

PicassoGuernica

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:

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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.

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.

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

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

 

 

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

Saul: Acts 9

Saul

 

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

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.

David and Goliath:

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David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LordAlmighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.

Like many, I have read this passage and heard it told to me for my entire life. The older I get, the more gruesome and intense the story has become.

Early on, it was a simple and wholesome tale about a boy and his slingshot who saved his friends from the mean old giant. As I continue to reread and study the passage more, it becomes a deeper and darker tale of a great triumph for God’s people.

David, a simple shepherd boy and least of his brothers, takes a stand against Goliath, a Philistine Giant who mocks the God of David’s people. David refuses to tolerate the mockery any longer, and decides to take on the giant who is holding his people in terror.

Armed with only a sling and stone, not encumbered by the armor of King Saul, he steps out onto the field of battle. While the stone dealt the blow that killed Goliath, David was equipped with so much more. He held within his heart the fulfillment of all of God’s promises of protection and provision through the years. God had protected him from the lions and bears, and he had no doubt that He would do the same for this threat to His flock.

David’s conquest is a great testimony of how one follower, refusing to allow God to be mocked and ridiculed can take a stand for what is right. The odds may never seem in our favor, but in the end it is a matter of where the faith of the soldier is placed rather than the size of the soldier in the fight.

May we all continue to defend the name and honor of God almighty. May we, like David, remember his faithfulness and promises to be true.

The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”

“Go, and the Lord be with you”
Jed Hanes
More Information about the artist, Chris Cook, can be found at http://www.chriscookartist.com/bio.html

Temptation of Christ:

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“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil”

Shortly after his baptism, Jesus was led by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil. The ministry of the savior of the world, Jesus Christ began with a 40 day fast, and coming face to face with the devil himself.

Tired, hungry, and weary, he sat, looking to his Father to sustain his needs.

Three times the devil tempted him, and three times Jesus had an answer.

Hungry– Satan tempts Jesus to turn stones into loaves of bread

‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’

Tired– Satan says for Jesus to throw himself from the highest point in the temple

‘It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’

Weary– He promises jesus all the kingdoms of the world, if He will bow and worship him.

‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’

It brings me great comfort to know that my Lord and Savior was tempted and tried, just as I’ve been. Yet through it all, I can draw peace and strength in knowing that he was able to look the devil in the eye and rely on God alone for peace and strength.

Knowing that we serve a God who chose to come down to earth in human form brings me much comfort. He lived our life, he suffered just as we have, and he died an innocent man’s death… all just to be in a relationship with each of us.

Jed Hanes

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