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Into the Light

Into the Light

An artist reflects on the view from an abandoned cellar.
By Kenneth Sutton
Fall 2005 8.15.05

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John Dickinson began to paint after a career in business. “From my earliest time,” he says, “I was a museumgoer. Recognizing that each piece of art I saw was but the reflection of the vision of the individual who created it, I became curious about what my vision would reflect in art.” Unitarian Universalism, he says, “has enabled my vision to expand unencumbered by dogma or restriction, a good condition for creative activity.” Into the Light depicts the view from the cellar of an abandoned farmhouse in Virginia built in 1828 by his great-great-grandfather, Ralph Quarles Dickinson. “The house is now in ruins,” he says, “and the floors too decrepit to allow entry, but one can go into the cellar and, looking out, see this view. A startling and poignant moment came one day as I painted when I suddenly realized that some of the construction would have been done by his slaves.”

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