As a visual artist, I am continually challenged with the idea of what I am to say with the language and medium I have been given. Most often in my case, the simple and profound message of hope as it points to our Creator through “the beautiful” is more than sufficient and provides all I that I wish to say with most subjects. In other words, the fact that I am struck by the simple elegance of a line in nature, or the moving harmony of two or more colors dancing together are more than enough reasons to record them and provide ample material for a work of great meaning. However, there have been instances when I have been inspired to include an overarching narrative to depict an emotion or tell a story. This painting “The Passage”, page 123, was one of those for me.
The inspiration for this work came in a vision of the completed painting that flashed in my mind as I lay in bed ready to retire for the day. Just weeks earlier, during a time of great sadness, I had the privilege of being with my father as he breathed his last breath and lost the battle from a relatively short illness. This moment of profound loss was also one of the more sacred times in my life. As I witnessed his passing, I could not help but wonder how we are transported to the next realm and what his journey may have looked like. I, in no way mean to conclude that this image has any historical accuracy, is substantiated by scripture, or is what our experience will look like. I was simply following the inspiration and seeing it through. What I am certain of is the great hope of eternal life we have through our Lord and I stand on that as I move ahead.
These following passages have always given me great comfort and offer such assurance.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
I know that my redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
As to the execution of this work, various studies were completed on location of the model in twilight light on the shores of a river. As you can see in the study, not much attention was paid to detail or proper drawing as the light was fleeting fast. In this case, it was only important to capture accurate values and color relationships to translate the effect of light in the finished piece. Later in the studio, I then transposed the key to create the desired lighting to better depict the mood. Finally, a sketch was created one quarter size to work out the harmonies and final design before the finished canvas was begun.