The Canvas Is Called Silence

We are musicians and artists, the canvas we paint is called silence. — Jens Kruger.

A few weeks ago, Suzy and I had the pleasure of attending the first of the Charlotte Symphony’s Pops concerts. The symphony played with the internationally acclaimed Kruger Brothers. If you ever get an opportunity to hear them “do not pass go, do not collect $200,” go directly to the box office.

During a break between tunes, Jen Kruger talked about being musicians and painting on the canvas called silence. I didn’t have a pen to write down his words exactly but I forced my memory to remember enough. I used his observation during my brief sabbatical to think about my life and life in general. What does my painting look like? Can it be repaired or at least touched up? What would I call my canvas?

I found to think about life as a painting to be an interesting analogy. Is our life an oil painting where mistakes can be covered, or a water color that is full of smudges from tears of joy and pain. I could play with this analogy all day long, and sometimes I did. How about thinking about forgiveness as God handing us a brand new canvas, a blank slate over and over again?

Leonardo Da Vinci never completed the Mona Lisa. He carried it with him his entire life ever making changes and trying to make it better. I carry my life’s painting in much the same way. I don’t try to cover up the mistakes or imperfections, but yes I do hope and try to improve on the final canvas.

Where a musician’s canvas is silence, I believe mine is composed of the fibers of my parents, my family, my friends, my environments, and my experiences, good and bad. Each and every being is also a part of an even bigger canvas, that of God’s. Neither painting is complete and today we have an opportunity to paint.

About the author

Webb Hubbell, former Associate Attorney General of the United States, is an author and lecturer. His novels, When Men Betray, Ginger Snaps, and A Game Of Inches, are published by Beaufort Books and are available online, in your local bookstore, or you can order autographed copies at When Men Betray won one of the IndieFab awards for best novel in 2014. Ginger Snaps Won the IPPY Awards Gold Medal for best suspense/thriller.


  1. Webb, you know my wife Kathleen who is part of a three person musical team putting all the music together for the Episcopal General Convention starting late next week in Austin. Wednesday, July 11th is the feast day of Benedict of Nursia who obviously established the Benedictine order. The music for the song of praise that day in the bulletin for the Eucharist is a whole note rest with a fermata. That means silence for the whole song. Monks are into silence at times so so shall we be at one point in the worship. Maybe some of us will hear that still small voice.

  2. I believe our lives start with a blank canvas and the finished product does not come until we die. During that time, most of us have had great successes and some colossal mistakes. The key is continuous learning and growth until that death date. We all make mistakes, but I think we are judged on how we handle them and learn from them. When we pass away and if we are remembered for making a difference while on this earth, then I think it’s a beautiful picture.

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