“See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills…” Exodus 31: 2 & 3.
Bezalel is kind of an early renaissance man, thousands of years before Brunelleschi, Michelangelo, or Durer. More importantly he was faithful to God’s design of him as a craftsman. He was found worthy to build the design of God concerning the tabernacle and all of its parts. As a craftsman and artist, it is hard to comprehend anything so significant to my earthly labors as to manifest on earth something that was authored in the very heart and mind of God.
Elizabeth Duffy asked me about influences and progenitors in her interview with me last year. Here is an excerpt of my response pertaining to Bezalel: I hope, maybe, to be in the line of Bezalel, who fashioned so much for the tabernacle, making the sacred things that were part of the “technology” of worship of His God for his community. Personally, I couldn’t ask for more than that. Bezalel is valuable as a paradigm of an artisan of broad experience and skill. He could work in many trades and arts with skill worthy of God’s Tabernacle. My good friend reminds me of the value of a man of that breadth of experience and skill in contrast to a culture that places a premium on experts of high degree in a single field. When I wonder if I am hurting myself by embracing so many disciplines, I am grateful for Bezalel and his place in God’s story, and a few other men I have encountered who are champions of excellence in this way. The drawing, an imagining of a portion of Bezalel’s tent-workshop, started two or three years ago, finally over the past two months I was able to finish it. It is composed along the lines of another drawing, Go On, Adam, Breathe. An potential series of drawings? The drawing to me feels so limited, compared to the vastness of what could be explored and depicted, as a task to learn about Bezalel, his labors, and his relationship to his God.
8 thoughts on “Go On, Bezalel”
I Jack , I am amazed by your dexterity are very good my best compliments could you build for me a bench like your in photos ? It’s possible in wallnut ? If you can let me known total price with shipping.
I’m writing from San Donato Milanese, Milano in Italy.
Date: Mon, 23 Mar 2015 11:14:17 +0000 To: email@example.com
A beautiful drawing Jack with all of the surprise details. Love the ‘scratch marks’ test lines on the textured paper as well. And the contrast of thumb/hand warmth to paper & ink. I was always struck (if I’m not mistaken) by Bezalel being the first person in the Bible to be ‘filled’ with the Holy Spirit. And the manifestation of this being artistry, skill, vision. I think you’re in that tradition Jack and to be working with and through many interests and skills in related genres, disciplines, interests enriches the world.
Outstanding work here Jack – keep following God’s direction and you will remain blessed, as will we. thanks Kyle
Thank you, Kyle. I will certainly do my best.
Jack, I’m always inspired by your work. Thanks for this post especially. I also wonder if I’m trying to do too many things, so your comments are helpful as I feed the artsy side of my life after retiring from teaching and research in Mechanical Engineering. Blessings.
I think I discovered a family connection. I told my brother in law about your website and he wrote back that “Jack Baumgartner is a son of a very good friend of Marie’s when we were at Hillcrest covenant church in Kansas City for about 12 years.” Ken and Marie lived in California for a number of years. When he retired they moved back home; he now lives about 30 miles north of you in Whitewater. Marie died about five years ago. It’s a teeny world. I think I told you that my parents grew up in the Hesston-Moundridge area. We went “home” to Kansas every summer.
Thank you, Don. I feel pretty honored and encouraged that I am able to be inspiring. Yes, Hillcrest is the church that my parents were married in/ at. I’ll ask them about Ken and Marie. Whitewater is not far at all, in fact I drove through yesterday on my way to pick up some lambs. Thanks for the rich comment – I am always appreciative of what you offer. May your retirement be blessed and full of life.
I liked your comment about the drawing feeling limited in comparison to the vastness of the subject matter. It’s this feeling that’s led to me working in series. When I found that one painting of Saint Kevin and the Blackbird couldn’t convey all that I felt when reading the Seamus Heaney poem, then I made another, and another, and another…
It’s a great weight, to imagine that all the ideas and emotions must be contained within a single drawing or painting, and so I always tell myself… in order to stop from giving up in despair… “Ah yes, but the next one will be better”… and the thought leads me on.
I’m too much a stranger here. My work schedule is packed like a whelk into a shell. (Little room for anything else!) Have to change that. Sending good wishes from Wales.
Thank you so much for the comment. I greatly value your insights. I feel like there are certain subjects that I could work on for a lifetime and never exhaust. One reason is the complexity and depth- and the other you hit on too, that they merit the benefit of skill and workmanship improved through process and failure- the attention of growth- to tell the story more completely – with a greater heart. We are similar in this respect, I know. So good to hear from you, my friend.