The Art of Bob Webster

Bob Webster served in several Winnipeg parishes before retiring in 2012. He is now an honorary assistant at St. Matthew’s Anglican and has spent six winter months in Puerto Vallarta over the last five years.

When I was a child, I had no artistic ability, so I never followed any of those inclinations. However, in a mid-career evaluation course, I realized that I was doing nothing with my creative drives. I decided to dabble in oils and had a few satisfying results, but for a couple of reasons I drifted away. Upon retirement, living in Mexico, I discovered my neighbour was an artist and she gave me some classes.
I have long been impressed with God’s call to Adam to join in the acts of creation by naming the animals. The ways in which we serve one another continue to manifest the loving word of God, which called all things out of nothing. Painting is simply one way I use present materials to draw into being something that was not there before.

I call this one “Angel Choir.” I see in [humpback whales] an affirmation of the expansive life of God’s realm, which goes so far beyond what we know here in the flesh. Without consciously knowing it, when we make/create things, we are speaking a symbolic tongue, which can open us further to the language of the Spirit.
I love the humpback whales that come to Banderas Bay, Mexico, to give birth and mated, and decided to try painting one. I was asked if I had named it and I immediately knew his name was “Watcher.” He reminds me of the angels God put in charge of watching over us. I also feel a sense of Watcher questioning us about what we are doing when it comes to the deterioration of the earth at human hands.
I began [painting] simply wanting to make something beautiful, so I did a series of flowers. But, as my son Mark moved closer to death, I switched to sunsets. My style is more controlled, so I didn’t think my artwork was expressive of my grief; I had not yet clued into the fact that I was painting sunsets while my own sun going was down.
A friend asked for a painting of something from Mexico and we decided on a shell. This began a series of shells, which speak to me of life and resurrection. There’s an empty tomb element about them as some critters move on to larger shells when they outgrow the one they’re in. It is only in the last month or so that I see in them some beginnings of a healing developing.

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