Art is God’s idea

Colin Black: Future Hope

ArtWay Visual Meditation May 29, 2022

Colin Black: Future Hope

How Hope Works

by Colin Black

My most recent work has been inspired by mist, especially that which tends to linger over water. This acted as a metaphor for all that is unknown relating to the pandemic over the last two years. I wanted to capture that lack of clarity as we looked out and beyond. There is uncertainty but always hope as we look forward.

I recently put this painting Future Hope on my Facebook page with the comment: 'This painting took ages and went through numerous transitional stages and changed colour several times. It wasn't 'working' for weeks and then it finally came together. I think it was telling me something about how hope works.'

This piece is from a series inspired by walking along the River Ouse in York, England. I call them my ‘mist pictures’ because it was a particularly misty day and vision was limited. I tend to work from drawings done on site but the real work comes back in the studio away from the motif. That frees me up from copying and allows the picture to stand alone and be worthy in its own right. Everything is open to change and so it should be. We shouldn’t try to squeeze our vision into some preconceived idea. I work with mixed-media beginning with collage. That gives me an initial idea about composition and colour and a general direction to head. But that is only the start of the journey and there is so much to learn along the way. Hope has to be tested and when it is, it’s strengthened. Layers of oil paint later, scraping away as much as adding, it is starting to do what I had hoped for. 

This conversation one has with one’s work is an interesting one. I recall reading a story about the artist Paul Klee that he went round all his progressing paintings and asked them ‘What can I do for you today?’ as a doctor would when visiting his patients on a hospital ward. He was basically asking how he could make the picture better, what it needed to become whole. How does a work 'feel' or become complete? Is it an intuitive thing that one recognises in a moment, but also based on a knowledge or understanding that has been acquired over time? Certainly, to become a fully qualified doctor takes years of training. 

Hope is something that is out there beyond our grasp, but we need it to move forward in knowledge of certainty, even though that can waver. I know that some of the hardest ‘fought for’ paintings are those that I have struggled with, but have known that the grappling was all worthwhile and part of the creative process. Each time I go through that process, does it become easier? Not really, because it's a new set of circumstances, but the knowledge that there will hopefully be a positive outcome is very encouraging.


Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
   even as we hope in you.

Psalm 33:22


Colin Black: Future Hope, 2021, mixed media on board, 16” x 16”.

Colin Black lives in York, England and runs his own art school, with his wife Sallie, called Seek Art School.



1. The Artist as Truth-Teller and The Legacy of French Artist Georges Rouault, a symposium in Paris on Friday 17 June 2022, sponsored by the Association of Scholars of Christianity in the History of Art (ASCHA), The Department of Art History, ICP, and Institut supérieur de théologie des arts (ISTA), ICP, at Institut Catholique de Paris (ICP), 74 rue Vaugirard 75006 Paris, René Rémond lecture hall. For a complete schedule, see The Association of Scholars of Christianity in the History of Art (ASCHA). The symposium is free of charge but registration is required. To register go to

2. Art and Truth (No Matter of Taste) Summer School, July 19-24 2022, Monastery of Mariastein, Switzerland, foXs Forum Christliche Studien | Forum for Christian Studies. Lectures, discussions, joint text reading, art analyses and excursions to contemporary art in Basel. This study week is aimed at philosophers and theologians, artists and other interested parties. Conference language: English. Speakers: Lambert Zuidervaart, Adrienne Dengerink Chaplin, Francesco Papagni, Andreas Widmer. Read more

3. The 3rd Chaiya Art Awards are now open for Early Bird entries to professional visual artists, students and amateurs in the UK's biggest art awards exploring and illuminating spirituality with a top prize of £10,000. You can get a flavour of the awards by watching our 3 min video at

4. Grace as an Aesthetic Concept, led by Rebekah Smick
Once weekly, September - December 2022
Online (Institute for Christian Studies, Toronto)
Examine the concept of grace within its theological, philosophical, literary, and art theoretical contexts in an effort to more fully understand its historical significance, points of intersection between its contemporary uses, and its potential usefulness for the philosophy and theology of art today. Graduate students, artists, and lifelong learners welcome.

5. Toronto School of Theology, the University of Toronto, and Toronto’s cultural institutions explore the range of ways that the arts intersect with spirituality and theological understanding. Students will investigate, through a wide offering of interdisciplinary courses, the visual arts, architecture, music, literature, the performing arts, film, and media from theological, historical, liturgical, and pastoral perspectives. Read more

6. 5 razões para ler Rookmaaker hoje, por William Edgar. Five reasons to read Rookmaaker today, by Bill Edgar, just posted in Portuguese on the Brazilian Ultimato website and on ArtWay. Read here (read the English version here)

7. Art Between the Sacred and the Secular: Alicja Kwade, Dr María López-Fanjul y Díez del Corral, Dr Neil MacGregor, and Prof. Ben Quash.  
6th June 6-7:30pm
Akademie der Künste, Berlin
This three-way panel conversation will explore the relation between contemporary art and Christianity from a range of perspectives. Combining the insights of a leading contemporary artist, and two distinguished art historians and curators, it will be chaired by the theologian Professor Ben Quash of the Centre for Arts & the Sacred in London.  The evening  will be of interest both to art scholars and art enthusiasts—both those sympathetic to religion and those critical of it; those with faith as well as those with none.  Full details:
Art Between the Sacred and the Secular (  Registration for free tickets Webshop ( 

ArtWay is a website with resources for congregations and individuals concerned about linking art and faith.