Sunday, March 1, 2015

Behold Thy Son

It was 4:00 pm, the light was fading and I was starting to panic. I needed to fix up a few little things but I kept messing up. There were only minutes left to photograph my painting before the light was gone. This painting was important to me. I kept praying but it didn't feel like it was helping. I wondered if the subject matter was too sacred and shouldn't be painted. I wondered if painting wasn't what I was supposed to be doing. I wondered if I just wasn't good enough.

Doubt and anger burst as I snapped my paintbrush in half. That act of artistic passion left me with a palm full of blood, a lot of questions and an unfinished painting.

The theme for the 10th LDS International Art Show is Tell Me the Stories of Jesus. I had been thinking about the theme for a year. I had a list of possible subjects I was interested in painting. I settled on painting Mary and Martha. I did sketches and was ready to go. Then my sister said she was going to paint Mary and Martha. She said we could both paint it because we would paint it differently.  That was true I thought but I didn't want the artwork to be about how two sisters painted the same and different. I thought it would distract from the paintings. I decided it was a blessing because there was something else I should paint.
After more contemplation and prayers, I read John 19, 26-28 again. I thought about how these scriptures testify to me of Christ's tenderness and compassion. I love that he didn't overlook his mother despite the pain and anguish that He suffered.

Christ's mother, Mary, held many things in her heart. I don't know that knowing his fate would have made it easier.  I can't imagine her anguish as her son suffered for all mankind. She was his mother but she couldn't lighten the burden. And then as His mortal life was coming to an end, He did something for her. He asked his friend, John, to take care of her, and then it was done.

What a beautiful story to share. I have never felt comfortable painting a representation of Christ. I sketched Mary from Christ's perspective. I was happy with it. I looked up flowers that would symbolize the event.

I sketched Mary sitting on the ground under the branch of a dogwood, a symbol of crucifixion.

Next to Mary is a lily, symbolizing reflection of pure light and of the pure soul's resurrection, and lilly of the valley, also known as Mary's tear. It is said to have sprung from her tears at the foot of the cross. There are violets and strawberries, representing  of the humility of Mary.
At the base of the cross, I wanted Passion flower. It is said that in the Passion flower, God portrayed the suffering of Christ. It is a powerful symbol of Christ's faith and suffering.

The first few days of painting went well. I started with more than enough time. Most of my painting time is spent with my dad these days, assisting him with the murals he is painting, but I still had plenty of time.

All was going well until I couldn't seem to finish the painting. And the next thing I knew, I missed the deadline and was getting stitches in my hand.

I almost drowned in my puddle of tears. Dan Barney tried to help, my kittens tried to help, and my parents tried to help, but I couldn't be consoled. I couldn't find comfort or answers.
I slept, then dragged myself back into the studio. I painted and fixed. 

It's not perfect but it's decent. One day I might even look at the painting and love it. It will take a while to sort it all out. The good news was that I looked at the entry form and found it still open. I took a photo of the painting on my iPad and sent it in. I hope that it gets into the show but if it doesn't, at least I finished it. 

1 comment:

Tasha said...

Well, I love it! This moment isn't depicted much, and I love your sweet and reverent interpretation. Thank you


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