Monday, January 23, 2017

LUTD - The Latest Works

It's a new year, and I have some new work to share.  Actually, one of them is a few months old.  I just haven't posted it on the blog yet.  But the other one is newly finished today.

Both of these are part of my Light Up The Darkness series, and I actually think it's appropriate that I post these two particular pieces in the same blog post.  One of my intentions for this series is that some of these paintings would be responses to previous paintings.  I want to convey the idea of a spiritual battle with this series.  My hope is for the imagery to go back and forth between Darkness having an upper hand, and the Crusader responding in faith and boldness.

I painted Lament in mid-November, and my intention was to make it an extremely dark piece that would get to the heart of the battle between good and evil.  It is simply what you see - a remorseless figure of Darkness mocking the faithful Crusader as they behold a scene of brutal persecution.  It's no secret that Christian persecution weighs on my heart, and I often feel helpless to do anything about it.  I pray about it.  I try to spread news of it when I see stories about it on social media.  And I think to myself, "What more can I do?"  I can't fight ISIS head on.  I often feel like my voice is too small to make others care about it.  So I wanted to portray that sentiment in this painting by putting the Crusader in a position that basically embodies that kind of helplessness to do anything about the horror that is happening.

Lament (John 15: 18-25)
oil on linen
30x24 inches
So how do I respond to this image?  The scripture passage from Ephesians 5 that inspired this series says not to participate in the deeds of darkness, but to expose them.  It means responding in faith and fight darkness until there is no darkness left.  To love what is righteous and hate what is evil.  I believe God has called us to be crusaders for righteousness.  He has called us to rise up and shine light on the evil deeds of darkness.  To expose them for what they are, and not be afraid to use our voices and our gifts as means of communicating and spreading the gospel.  That is precisely what this series is about.  And I believe Christ is my Good Shepherd and Protector for the battle.  So I began thinking about images for this.  A Protector.  One with strength and majesty, and one that would terrify evil.  And then it dawned on me.  I recalled a quote that I read from a book called Manuel for Spiritual Warfare.  The quote is from St. John Chrysostom, and he is talking about the Eucharist.  It says in part,

"For this reason, we must return from the Table like lions breathing fire, having become terrifying to the Devil."

A lion.  Something I had never painted before.  This was going to be my symbol for a holy Guardian in the battle.  And while He's not breathing fire in this painting, I have not ruled it out for future pieces.

The Guardian (Psalm 121)
oil on linen
36x24 inches

The scary thing is, even when we are bold in faith, Darkness still likes to play games with us.  The battle continues...

No comments:

Post a Comment