A review of artist Dawn Buskard Faber’s “Love Lifted Me”

By W. Thomas Smith Jr.

Art is a journey. Sounds vague, even cliché. But it’s true. And like music and poetry, visual physical hand-formed works of art are also subjective in terms of their sensory appeal. Though the clearly masterful works are objectively beautiful, which brings me both to Columbia artist Dawn Buskard Faber’s latest work, “Love lifted Me,” and my anecdotal review of it, which you are reading here.

I factor myself into this only because of the subjectivity of art and my simple journey as regards Dawn’s piece.

Though I’ve been writing professionally in some form or fashion nearly all of my adult life, I don’t think I’ve ever once professionally critiqued a drawing, a piece of sculpture, or a painting; largely because I’m no visual arts expert. I know what I like, and as a child I was recognized as having some innate artistic talent (which if I did I never developed it into anything remotely marketable). My sister is a talented artist. My ex-wife too. But that’s pretty much where it begins and ends for me.

That said, I have an eye, a perspective, a love of art, and a soul; and I think those four gifts from God – and there is no other source of intrinsic facility – are key.

So, to Dawn’s piece and a little background: I’ve known Dawn for years. I first met her and husband Jim when I attended a Sunday School class taught by Jim many years ago. I still attend that Sunday School class.

Anyway, I bought a small painting by Dawn back in 2015. It was entitled, “Angel Wings,” and has since been displayed along with a few other unrelated pieces above the mantelpiece in my den.

A few years later, Dawn – who when she’s not painting and teaching art classes, works in the communications department at Columbia International University – was instrumental in helping me acquire a shofar, a Biblically significant, primarily Jewish, wind instrument fashioned from a kosher animal horn. But we’ll save that for another story.

As I’ve said, I love art, and I know what I like. My unique, I think, mind’s-eye perspective also led me years ago to envision a piece I might one day draw though probably never paint (painting is really hard work) of the three crosses atop Golgotha in 1st-century Jerusalem. But envisioning something doesn’t make it something: Talent, discipline, creativity, conception, and production do.

Fast forward to March 5, 2021 – a few days ago and 17 days into the 40-day Lenten season before Easter – Dawn posted her “Love Lifted Me” painting on her Facebook page and wrote: “I finally took some time to paint today. It’s good for the soul.”
Indeed, her soul and the souls of those who perchance see her work.

Dawn’s three wood-brown crosses are the central focus of the piece which is broadly painted in God’s perfect earth-shades of green (a near-translucent sea green with the crosses’ black shadows creating an illusion of water), a somewhat pale blue sky, also-illusory blacks and grays, and an almost imperceptibly blood-red streak running partially along the main beam of the cross of Christ.

Looking deeply into the piece, I discovered something else. Something unusual, even remarkable.

I texted Dawn: “You can see the men [the two condemned criminals] and our Lord on the crosses. Surely that is deliberate?”

Dawn’s response: “No. God is in control. It’s so cool when He shows up like that. Sometimes it’s a still small voice and sometimes it’s a roaring lion.”

Therein lies the subjectivity. As to the journey or the conclusion thereof, I now own the piece and I will display it before Easter in my Sunday School classroom where it will remain for a few months so that my classmates, who also know and appreciate Dawn and her exceptional flair for painting, may enjoy it before I eventually bring it home.

I even know where the crosses are going to be displayed, in my den, not too far from the angel wings.

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