September’s Easel: The Faith of Blue and Henri Matisse

The Color Blue:

This month we will dissect one of my favorite colors — blue and an artist who used it well, Henri Matisse.  I believe blue to be one of God’s favorite colors as well, as we see it in the expanse of the sky and the ocean. But how does blue impact the mind? It is known to have a calming effect. Maybe this is why many people flood the beaches for a vacation from their ordinary lives. But it is also known to cause sadness.  A whole music genre was named after this emotion, called “The Blues.”

Although artists use blue in their work for several reasons. One is to illustrate sadness, loss, or mourning. We see this in Pablo Picasso’s blue period, which he painted while mourning the death of a friend.

Another reason artists use blue is to evoke feelings of peace, calmness, and tranquility from the viewer.

The Blues of Home Interiors:

In a home, pale and lighter shades of blues are thought to be used only in baby boy nurseries, but the right shade can create a natural airy feel and make smaller rooms appear larger.  Darker, more saturated shades can create everything from a serene comfy space to a moody and dramatic one. I love the color in masculine offices with heavy furniture or in reading spaces like home libraries.

The Artist Henri Matisse:

Henri Matisse was regarded as the greatest colorist of the 20th century. Matisse was a French visual artist known for his works as a sculptor, painter, and printmaker.  While recovering from a bout of appendicitis, his mother gifted him with a set of art supplies, and he found it mesmerizing. Much to his father’s chagrin, Matisse set out to become a professional artist. His early works depicted nudes and still lifes similar in style to the masters who’d gone before him. Eventually Matisse found his originality in flat forms and bold colors.

At the end of his life, Matisse suffered extreme pain from abdominal cancer and a botched surgery, which made it more difficult to paint. It was here he returned to his faith, by the aid of his nurse, a young Dominican nun. One of his greatest works of all time was The Chapelle du Rosaire in France, located near her convent. Even though Matisse was not an architect, he designed the chapel as well as the stained glass windows inside. He stated he believed he was chosen by God to create the chapel and felt it a sacred commission.

The Takeaway:

As believers, we can learn from Matisse’s life. He recognized what he was created for, and he set aside the expectations of his wealthy father in order to pick up what God had placed in his lap.

If his health hadn’t suffered, would he have ever discovered the joy of painting? Would he have had the time to develop his craft? The greatest appointments in life are often delivered on the hem of a crisis.

If you’re going through a hardship today, I hope you’ll reflect on this verse, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (ESV)

The greatest appointments in life are often delivered on the hem of a crisis.

Tammy Carter Adams is the founder of The Hallelujah House. Tammy resides in Orlando, Florida with her husband and four children ages 24 to 9. When she’s not writing, Tammy enjoys painting, interior design projects, and retreating to her farmhouse in the sticks of Georgia. Tammy’s passion is leading people into an authentic and abiding relationship with Jesus Christ. You can contact her directly at

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