Surreal Portrait: A Frustrated Artist’s Reflection

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.

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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.

Surreal Portrait

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.

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