My practice as a Christian artist is to wait on God for what He is saying. Consequently my work reflects the rhythm of God’s voice for each season in whatever I am walking through, or leaning into God for. The following is a response to my gentle observations worked out in paint.
Gentle observations on the season of Covid 19
In this present season of Covid 19, many serious questions have been asked: Is this punishment from God? What do we do to survive? How should I be praying? Can we help our neighbours? How do we all keep in touch? And how should we do Church?
There are as many possible answers as there have been questions, and life has been lived very differently.
For myself, I walked into a season of calm. Fear had to be stilled first, but then the calm and peace came as I pushed into God’s presence. Then I heard God say to wait, watch, and rest. Consequently rather than striving in prayer, the Holy Spirit has led me to pray for individuals and into a deeper intimacy with God.
But how has this impacted my work as a Christian artist?
My working practice since Art School is to bounce ideas for each new work from the previous painting. Even as I work, my mind envisions the next painting to resolve. So it has been with this painting; this time it was the composition of the previous painting I was drawing upon.
However, when a friend asked me what had inspired me, my answer was – a small stone. I had picked it up on the beach following a storm. There was a micro universe upon it. Barnacles had once set up home here. Seaweed had taken root and established itself, making the small stone an anchor. And minute marine life had no doubt made use of it. But it had been tossed ashore by the merciless sea.
Now it nestled within my hands and I gazed with wonder on its beauty. Particularly at the pinks and subtle greys. All these colours were reflected in the sky that day. – It was inspiring.
How has my practice of listening to God been expressed in my work?
So I started to paint, but as I painted I was also working through the Covid 19 situation and my thoughts and feelings all became entwined within the work. The storm is expressed, but within what looks like a dark foreboding sky are subtle layers of pinks and purple. Startling orange and salmon pink occurred and it surprised me to see so much colour coming into play. But my spirit had put it there for that is what I was seeing in this season. Hidden, subtle beauty. Gentle occurrences. Powerful life changing things. And light of course – there is always light. That is what I was expressing here in this painting.
What has the storm uncovered
During this tumultuous time the Covid 19 Pandemic and all that it entails, treasures have been found. Just like the small stone I found. Many beautiful but hidden things have come to light. Relationships have been nurtured. People have discovered things about themselves they just did not notice before, and new and wonderful colours have emerged. Creativity in caring, sharing and helping others has abounded. Songs – written. Poems – crafted. Businesses coming up with new ways to communicate. Families connecting. Churches being innovative. And much more.
Now I am not overlooking the heartache of this storm. And I am not wanting to come across as insensitive to all the pain, loss and trauma. I am simply wishing to share what I have sensed as I waited on God for some answers. There is beauty for ashes.
To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory. Isaiah 61:3
For further reading on ‘Beauty for ashes’…