by Brittany Koepke, volunteer in Ecuador
How can we explain how our heart is moved by art? How can a non-living painting say so much to the living? How is it that artwork evokes so much emotion in us?
These questions arose after my afternoon spent with Daniel Reinoso. Daniel is a friend of Heart’s Home and an Ecuadorian artist living in Quito. Daniel paints landscapes of Ecuador and captures the essence of the Indigenous lifestyle with his strokes. Daniel introduced us to his studio and shared his testimony.
Before Daniel’s car wreck that nearly took his life and left him hospitalized for 3 months, he lived a sort of party life. But the car wreck was his wake up call to seek the things that matter in life. Nowadays, Daniel leads a youth group in Quito and has an understanding that his occupation as a painter is not just a job. It is a gift he can passionately offer to others.
After his conversion, Daniel realized that all he can do is attempt to mimic the art of the Great Artist. No artwork is original in the sense that it is all just an interpretation of the beautiful and inspiring work of Another. After this realization, his paintings improved as he was freed by the understanding that his talent is a gift. And he paints no longer only for himself but in thanksgiving to God-the Creator of all.
Daniel Reinoso seems to agree with the same humble view that Saint Augustine had on his talents. Saint Augustine said, "All these are gifts of my God; I did not give them to myself." And how true that statement is for us all!
"None can sense more deeply than you artists, ingenious creators of beauty that you are, something of the pathos with which God at the dawn of creation looked upon the work of his hands. A glimmer of that feeling has shone so often in your eyes when—like the artists of every age—captivated by the hidden power of sounds and words, colors and shapes, you have admired the work of your inspiration, sensing in it some echo of the mystery of creation with which God, the sole creator of all things, has wished in some way to associate you." - Letter to Artists by Pope John Paul II"