Thursday, March 17, 2016

Brokenness and Restoration

I am bowed down and brought very low;
all day long I go about mourning.
My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body.
I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart.
~Psalm 38: 6-8

Unintentionally, the latest two paintings I've completed go together thematically quite well.  I recently finished a piece simply called Frail, that depicts a figure in a vulnerable state.  This piece represents the lowest moment of our lives - whatever that may be.  Knowing we are imperfect, broken, and in need of a Savior.  Psalm 38 describes an infliction on David from God in response to his sin.  Brokenness is inevitable for us all.

oil on linen
22x28 inches
This is one of only a few nude paintings I've done, as is the most recent piece.  I realize it is a controversial thing for some.  Particularly for faith-based pieces, there are some individuals who are disheartened or offended at the depiction of any amount of nudity in a work of art.  The offense is understandable to me, because of what nudity has come to represent - a sexualized humanity by a depraved culture.  But if I may, I want to offer explanation for its purpose in these two paintings.  The nude in art has a far greater purpose than the superficial, sexualized objectivity that pop culture has made it into.
For Frail in particular, it represents vulnerability.  It represents our nakedness after the fall of Adam and Eve.  It represents our shame, and our inability to hide it from the Almighty.

The most recent painting, just finished today, is called O Lord, Make Us Pure Again.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
~Psalm 51: 7-12

O Lord, Make Us Pure Again
oil on canvas
24x20 inches
Here, the nude figure represents humanity's restored purity.  A washing away of our sin, and a restoration of our purest state of existence as Adam and Eve before their fall.  As we are made pure, the Scripture says we are made white as snow (depicted literally in this representation).  As I mentioned, I just finished this piece today, and couldn't help but think about the state of our nation.  We are divided more today than I have ever seen in my lifetime.  Part of what brought me to this painting, and its title, was my hope to see this country restored.  Not just the country, but we the people.  To see us turn our eyes away from sin, and back toward the face of God.

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