Dordt College News

Matheis book published by Dordt College Press

August 25, 2008

God's Garden

A new book by retired Dordt College Art Professor Norm Matheis, Sioux Center, was released by Dordt College Press last week.

God’s Garden: Sketches, Drawings, and Watercolors is a collection of Matheis’ artwork that captures magnificent scenery from across the United States and Canada.

“While we traveled, I often made quick sketches of places that caught my eye,” said Matheis. The illustrations drawn from this collection of sketches were done over a 35-year period, from the early 1970s to 2005, and enhanced for publication over the past five years.

In addition to Matheis’ art, the book contains essays about God’s creation: “The Gospel of Creation” by Cal Seerveld; “Is Creation a Lost Cause?” by Cal DeWitt; “God’s Good Creation” by Neal Plantinga Jr.; “Creation Appreciation” by Herm Van Niejenhuis; and “Valuing Life” by Del Vander Zee. Bible verses are paired with the artwork throughout the book.

David Versluis, a Dordt College art professor, did the production work for the project. “Dave brought the book from germination to full fruition,” said Matheis, who was Versluis’ art professor many years ago at Calvin College.

“Norm first showed the project to me a few years ago, and he gave me instructions about what he envisioned for the book,” said Versluis. “For most of this year his health has not been very good, and I wanted to finish the project for him.” Versluis added that Norm was a tremendous inspiration for him as a student, and this was a way of expressing his gratitude.

“For years Norm and his artwork have been appreciated by many in the Dordt community, the church community, and the community of Northwest Iowa,” said Versluis. In 2005 Dordt Press published 30 full-color illustrations by Matheis in Witness, a book featuring heroes of the Christian faith, with text written another Dordt associate, Dr. Syd Hielema.

Norm Matheis has been an artist all of his life. He began teaching art at Kendall School of Design in Grand Rapids, Mich., and later joined the faculty of Calvin College. In 1977 he moved to Dordt College to help set up the art program. He has been retired from teaching since 1989.

God’s Garden: Sketches, Drawings, and Watercolors and his previous release, Witness, are available for purchase at the Dordt College Bookstore.

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