“Nearly everything that has happened to me has happened by surprise. All the important things have happened by surprise. And whatever has been happening usually has already happened before I have had time to expect it. The world doesn’t stop because you are in love or in mourning or in need of time to think. And so when I thought I was in my story or in charge of it, I really have been only on the edge of it, carried along. Is this because we are in an eternal story that is happening partly in time?” ~ Wendell Berry – from the novel “Jayber Crow”
David Arms was born in 1956 in east Tennessee along with two older brothers who still reside there. His father was a businessman and raised treasured bird dogs. His mother was a homemaker and still enjoys travel and her grandchildren. Growing up, he spent his summers and holidays with a beloved aunt who lived between nowhere and somewhere Tennessee. David had a fairly typical small town childhood – sand lot baseball, church potlucks and an occasional dabbling in art…the soul of the painter however was starting to stir. His mind’s eye was mixing the summer blues and autumn golds on an imaginary palette as he wandered back roads in the shadow of the Smoky Mountains.
After a rather ordinary high school experience, David headed west to Tennessee Tech in an old faded yellow Volkswagen Beetle. Leaving short of graduation, his path eventually landed him in Nashville – the place he has called home since. It was there he was introduced to the world of “special events”, where he soon became known throughout the country for his designs of high profile corporate and social events. His imagination, attention to detail and ability to seemingly create “something out of nothing” resulted in numerous awards for his work.
An ordained, random event then became an intersection in his life.
Having married and moved into their first home, he and his wife needed a large painting to fill a large frame for a large vacant wall. The artist (who had been there all along) suddenly emerged. Almost as if someone else was guiding his hands…a painting filled the canvas.
With a grand leap of faith, his hobby became his calling and his life’s work.
With his wife and two daughters close by, David spends his days in a sun drenched studio filled with Classical and Americana music, french press coffee, books and patchouli. But some days he prefers to paint in the quiet, inspired by the sparrows, wrens and chickadees living at his window. It is here that he creates images that transport you from what you see into that sometimes faraway place of what you feel and what you believe – and his wish is that the viewer look long enough to walk away with a renewed sense of hope.
Let your eyes search his paintings and may you be blessed as you find a place to rest, hope for your heart, light for the darkness…and continue on…as we stumble on…this journey together down Redemption Road.
A quote from one of David’s favorite books, “Jayber Crow” by Wendell Berry, might just sum up the artist and the man:
“I can remember those early years when it seemed to me I was cut completely adrift, and times when, looking back at earlier times, it seems I had been wondering in the dark woods of error. But now it looks to me as though I was following the path that was laid out for me, unbroken, and maybe even as straight as possible, from one end to the other, and I have this feeling, which never leaves me anymore, that I have been led.”