Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Psalm 23, The Lord Is My Shepherd

Oil on Canvas
with Palette Knife

Sometimes, I get a image in my head so strong that I cannot rest until it is painted. 
This is another painting inspired by the music of  John Rutter's Requiem

The text is Psalm 23. 
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want;
     he makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters;
     he restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name’s sake.
 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I fear no evil;
for thou art with me;
    thy rod and thy staff,
    they comfort me.
 Thou preparest a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
thou anointest my head with oil,
    my cup overflows.
 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    for ever.

Although the psalm is full of many beautiful and powerful images, I tend to gravitate to imagine a pastoral vista of green fields and running streams. This is a completely inspired work. I had no visual references when I painted it. It is completely from an image in my head—molded and shaped on canvas as the painting evolved. I recalled experiences plein air painting and combined them with a new loose abstraction I've been developing. 

What really changes this painting from a pastoral scene to a work of theology is the light in the sky. It is not unlike my very first painting in this blog, And The Spirit of God Moved over the Waters. The light represents God and God's outpouring of grace (my cup overflows). That "overflowing" is the stream running towards the viewer. The painting is an impression of the peace and serenity the comes with "dwelling in the house of the LORD, forever." A peace that not only will be enjoy in the future, but one that is ever present here and now.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Silent Sentinels

Oil on Canvas
with Palette Knife
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While walking in the woods, I noticed a striking composition of pale trees against a dark wooded background—all kissed by morning light. The trees resembled something like age-old sages—witnesses to all that happens around them. Perhaps they even were more like sentinels, silently at watch in the forest. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Pie Jesu

Oil on Canvas
with Palette Knife
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Our choir has the privilege to sing John Rutter's Requiem this spring. One of my favorite pieces in this work is Pie Jesu. The full text in english is:

Blessed Jesus, 
Lord I pray,
in Thy mercy,
Grant them rest.
Grant them rest eternal.
Lord our God,
I pray Thee,
Lord our God, 
We pray Thee,
Grant them everlasting rest.

It is a beautiful song with haunting undertones overcome by ascending grace. The song makes a most beautiful prayer. To paint it, I wanted to capture the mixture of deep longing, communal faith and brilliant hope. The painting is also a theological mix of interaction between a community of faith and God. The highest and most beautiful parts of the soprano solo are represented with the bright yellow streak ascending upward. It makes for a nice blending of both personal and corporate prayer. 

Although a requiem is mainly intended for loved ones who have passed on, the song and the painting are an expression for all prayers—especially prayers for intercession and peace.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Offering 20x20

Oil on Canvas
with Palette Knife
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You may recall my previous posts in 2013 about on a series of florals titled "Offering." Today, I'm revisiting the concept with a looser, more abstracted painting technique on a larger canvas. 

Every Sunday, our church displays fresh flower arrangements during worship. They remind me of the beauty of creation, and the frailty of life. After worship, the flowers are composed into smaller arrangements and delivered to people who are home-bound or in the hospital. They truly are an offering of love and grace. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017


Oil on Canvas
with Palette Knife

What is your source? What grounds you and keeps you sane during the week? What gives you a sense of identity, purpose and belonging? My source is in God. It is faith in God that gives me courage, strength and freedom. In God, I find belonging, identity and calling. 

This is an abstract exploring the concept of source. It resembles water trailing down a rocky hillside from an unseen source above. In the painting, there is strength and grace as well as mystery and certainty.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Winter Wandering

Oil on Canvas
with Palette Knife
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My first painting of 2017. This organic abstract was inspired by impressions gathered from a walk in the snow.