Saturday, January 3, 2015

Holy Family

8"x10" Oil on Panel
with Palette Knife

One of my resolutions for this year is to make more paintings of biblical stories and faith-based themes—what I like to call "illuminations." Painting illuminations was where my painting career began and I'm feeling a strong calling to return to my roots. 

Still in the spirit of Christmas, today's painting depicts Joseph, Mary and a toddler Jesus walking though town. In my opinion, the art world doesn't have enough child Jesus portraits. There are tons of infant Jesus paintings, and plenty of adult ones. To me, a child Jesus, toddling around, is a great way to see the humanity of Christ. After seeing a great painting of a child Jesus in the local paper at Christmas, I decided to take a shot at painting one of my own.

The family is out for a walk. They could be going to the market or to the synagogue for worship. Perhaps they are just out for a little fresh air—allowing Jesus to see the world with his fresh little eyes. Where they go is up to you. The real point is that they are taking the time to go together as a family. The parents are patiently slowing down to walk with the young Jesus, barely able to stand on his own two feet. 

I titled this painting "Holy Family." What makes the family holy, really? Is it because Jesus is in their lives? Is it because they have faith in God? Perhaps. But are they uniquely different from other families? No. I would contend that most families could be considered "holy." 

Families today, traditional or otherwise, share the same qualities as Jesus' family. When a parent, or parents, lovingly teaches a child to understand right from wrong—that's holy. When parents slow down with patience to connect with their children—that's holy. When a family spends quality time together—even if it's via FaceTime from half a world away—that's holy. When we go to worship—that's holy. Even a loving couple without children can be a holy family. Wherever there is love, there is God. Any relationship with God in their lives is a holy family.

I hope you take some time to reflect with this painting and think about all that is holy in your life. 


  1. Wonderful post Mike. This is so special. I love how they are holding on, guiding him, and yes, walking at his pace. Very sweet. I also love how his shadow, looks a bit like and angel form.

  2. I'm looking forward to your 2015 biblical paintings.