Brookside Park in Pasadena CA is a very busy place. Located in this luscious green valley is the Rose Bowl, Aquatics Center, Kidspace Children’s Museum, golf course, tennis courts and other recreational facilities. Brookside Park is a popular place for walkers, joggers and bicyclists to come for exercise.
I enjoy coming to Brookside Park to paint. I often pitch my easel near the Rose Bowl. It’s a favorite site of mine not only because it’s very scenic, but it gives me an opportunity to talk to many park visitors about Jesu.
Today, I took my easel to the southern edge of Brookside Park to paint a scene outside the park. The painting above is of the Colorado Street Bridge. It has been the subject of many paintings by other artists throughout the years.
Colorado Street Bridge of Notoriety
The Colorado Street Bridge was built in 1913. In 1989, it was declared a seismic hazard after an earthquake in northern California and was closed. Only after four years and major retrofitting did the bridge once again open to traffic.
Colorado Street Bridge also has the inauspicious moniker of ‘Suicide Bridge’. Dozens of people have jumped to their deaths over the years from this bridge. I once talked a man off a bridge late one night less than a mile from here. It was clear that he wanted help because he was on the wrong side of the guard rail looking down on freeway traffic and in the site of motorists. Had he have been on the Colorado Street Bridge, he would have leaped into a deserted ravine.
The Art of Ministry
I worked quietly and alone for most of the hour spent on the painting. Near the time I was ready to pack my gear, a group of children and an adult came to have a picnic nearby. I thought I might have an opportunity to speak to them about Christ, but no one came over.
After I had my gear tucked neatly in my backpack and was heading for my car, a man approached and said that he had been watching me. He said, “I could see that you were painting and didn’t want to interrupt you.” I answered, “One of the reasons I paint outdoors is to talk to people. You should have come over.”
He asked if he could see the painting. “Of course,” I said. When I showed it to him, he seemed to truly admire it. When I asked him what talent God had given him, he said that he was a photographer. I learned also that he was a Christian and attended a church in the city (Pasadena).
My new friend said that his interests also included videography. He asked if anyone had ever filmed me painting outdoors (en plein air). I told him that only once had someone filmed on an inexpensive consumer camera. He asked if he could join me on the streets and document what God was doing through the artwork. I said that he could if it didn’t interfere or distract with the ministry to others. He said he would be very sensitive to that, so I gave him my phone number.
That was several months ago. I’ve not yet heard from him. Not surprising since most people I meet on the streets who promise to contact me never follow through. That’s ok as long as I know I’ve done my job of pointing them to Christ.