Painted one year before Benjamin Berlin’s death at the age of 48, Surreal Portrait seems to portray a fractured mind—bequeathed with possibilities and yet denied closures.
As I sit and ponder this majestic painting, I wonder whether this is the plight of one artist or just my frustration I’m projecting.
Invention, ascent, reflection. I see their expressions in Benjamin’s Surreal Portrait, and I feel their impact in my own artistic life. Yet I find myself forgetting about these qualities that propel me to paint.
I wonder: What must I do to pursue creativity again and conquer my fractured mind?
I strive to press past the challenges life sends and return to the artistic longings of my soul. And I forget that it is these very challenges that drive me towards my Creator—the One who graces expression for what refuses to form into words.
So even though I possess a surreal portrait, I promise to pick up my paintbrush again.
*Special thanks to the TEAL, Technology Enhanced Arts Learning, team and to LACMA for providing the opportunity to reflect on a painting in the LACMA collection.