Jack E. Dawson has been in the art field since the early 1970’s. His experience includes painting in watercolor, oil and acrylics, as well as sculpture. One of his most notable works is “The Praying Hands Statue,” a 32-foot tall sculpture located on Highway 71 in Webb City, Missouri.
In 1999 he began his “Seek and Find Series;” paintings that contain hidden images built upon the principles and teachings of the Word of God. Just as God’s treasures are in plain view for all who seek Christ and believe in His promises, so you will find meaningful images in Dawson’s paintings. Each one comes with an explanation of the symbolism. Jack’s wife Nancy, along with their children, was instrumental in launching Bittersweet Gallery, which made these works available in prints across the country. Jack’s desire is that the art will encourage viewers to seek the Lord with sincerity and commitment.
Why a SEEK AND FIND Collection?
We are all on life’s quest to discover our purpose and destiny. Solomon, perhaps the wisest man to ever live, stated, “God has placed eternity in our human heart.” He wrote about his search to SEEK an answer to the question of life’s meaning “under the sun,” apart from God and His counsel. He would FIND the answer in recognizing God as the giver of real life and purpose: to love God and serve others and have eternity secure in our hearts. We know seeking and finding Jesus is God’s ultimate plan for each of us. Jesus was a master teacher who could take every day common places, people or objects and use them as a metaphor for us to consider a greater meaning. I have found that using common places, people and objects in paintings can be a tool to share these great truths.
Why put hidden thoughts in paintings?
When I was painting “Peace in the Midst of the Storm,” I remembered a story I heard years ago in a revival about a competition among artists trying to paint “peace.” The winning picture involved a bird, protected and secure in a storm. That story challenged me to create a message of contrast; a stormy, foreboding painting that reminded me of the storms of pain, suffering and death we face in life; but that also reflected God’s blessings of faith, hope and love…the BITTER and yet the SWEET. I noticed an iconic profile of a face in the cliff that reminded me of Christ. This Rock was facing stormy winds and lightning and a crushing waterfall-turmoil-vs. the calm peace of the dove on its nest, secure in the cleft of the rock.
The verse John 16:33 came to my mind where Jesus says, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
This began my quest to paint with obvious subjects that contain subtle hidden images which would be built upon the principles and teachings of the Word of God. An example is “Sharing the Light.” The obvious subject is two cowboys around the warmth of a campfire. The hidden images of a manger, three crosses, the crown of thorns and an empty tomb lead to the scriptural truths.
You may not find a dog in the bushes or a fish in the clouds, although that can be fun for children or even adults; but hopefully you will discover a message of hope, faith and love. My desire is that through the art we will search for more than a turtle in a tulip tree. We can SEEK AND FIND answers for some of the questions of life that are so difficult, no, impossible to understand, but Jesus said we are to seek the deeper meaning and purpose in life. He said that all who ask, seek and knock will find. As you spend time searching the paintings for the hidden messages, determine to seek the One who came that you might have life, and an abundant one at that. His gifts of life, wisdom, love and grace are waiting to be discovered and shared with our world.
As C.S. Lewis says in The Weight of Glory, “The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.”
So, remember the promise of Jesus, “…ask and keep on asking, and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking, and you will find; knock and keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” (Luke 11:9)