It’s been quite a Faith and Art journey for me recently. After the last painting, I was really looking forward to painting light and life, seeking to paint a glimpse of resurrection light. Another audacious desire….
After the last few paintings, I felt ready to go back to the comfort of my art journals. But no… another idea came and I felt I needed to take a step of faith with another painting.
I emailed the pastors of our church and asked if they would like me to worship paint during Easter service. I was almost hoping to be told “no”. Instead, with their usual graciousness, I was told it would be welcome. It was Holy Week, and we were having a “Beyond Passover” gathering at our church, Rock Creek Church. I asked if I could bring the canvas and have people write or paint what they wanted freedom from on the background of the canvas. They did (step 1). Then I wrote similar words covering the entire background. Then I painted a light wash using mostly transparent black and red paint with a lot of water.
In the third step, I painted with my hands using colors I associate with death, covering part of the words, but having them still show through. (The colors in the left image are more brown/gold than they really appear.) After it was dry, I sketched the tomb with charcoal and loosely painted it with black. The one on the right shows an image with more accurate color, and is what I took to church on Easter morning, death-like.
The first thing I did when starting painting during worship, was to paint the Passover blood (step 5) over the doorway symbolizing Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. Then The moment I’d been waiting for: Painting Resurrection Light! (step 6)
It was a joy to paint during the worship service! I found I was putting so much white paint on the surface it was really wet. Here is the painting below, not quite finished, but how it looked at the end of worship painting.
AND THEN… it dried…. The negative death words showed through the white/light in the doorway. VERY DISAPPOINTING! They were perfectly readable. Again, I painted gesso and white paint over it, but the words still showed through. The whole message of the painting was ruined if those death words were not overcome with light!
How could I not have known it would do this? I scolded myself that I had been painting all these years and never thought to check what would happen if I used a sharpie in that way. I googled how to cover up black Sharpie marks. It seemed the only reasonable option was to take off the white paint. It could ruin the painting. Once again I was feeling angst and regret. I prayed as I sat on the floor with the painting in front of me and asked God to give me His perspective. The Still Small Voice whispered:
“What I did in the Resurrection was so deep, so thorough, I did not just cover up sin and death, I went to the root of it all, to hell itself, and eradicated it completely, as if it was never there. Victory! Death was conquered, and this Resurrection Life and Power is what I want to bring to all people, Life and Light, because I love each person.”
Peace washed over me….
I wish I would’ve thought to take a photo of the words showing through the painting, but I was so caught up in the process, I forgot. I began to take off the paint, layer by layer, using rubbing alcohol, paper towels, and a palette knife. The paint scraped off like dead skin, a pallor of death color, until the words were gone in the doorway. I thought it was interesting that the first word taken off first was “death” and the last word was “hopelessness.” Below, on the left is the photo of how it looked after the words were taken off in the doorway. Empty. Then this morning I moved on, worshiping in the studio, asking for help painting Resurrection light and life again. The image on the right is the same as the larger image at the beginning of this post.
For the past four years, I have been growing in a faith revelation and it just keeps increasing, changing and integrating my life. I’m reading the Bible with new insight. The process of this painting is a reminder that much of my overall experience with Christianity focused so much on the death of Jesus, it neglected a hugely important part of God’s plan, which is for me to truly embrace the resurrection of Jesus’ and experience the life-giving power of His life, living in me, through the power of Holy Spirit!
“For God so loved the world,
that He gave His only begotten son,
that whoever believes in Him will not perish,
but have eternal life.”
– John 3:16
“…If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord,
and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead,
you will be saved.”
– Romans 10:9