Water from the Rock

My art projects this week have been all about texture. I love texture! When the words “water” and “rock” jumped out at me in my heART journal, I couldn’t wait to experiment with ways to create them. I immediately thought of the story of the Israelites, and how God had provided water from the rock during their years in the desert. God sustained them for 40 years. This became the story told and retold in every generation. Remember the Lord who saved Israel with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Remember the Lord who makes streams flow in the desert. Nehemiah recalled it this way, “In their hunger you gave them bread from heaven and in their thirst you brought them water from the rock…You have your good Spirit to instruct them…For forty years you sustained them in the desert; they lacked nothing” (Nehemiah 9:15, 20, 21).

Are you ready to walk through creating this page with me? Come on in, pull up a chair, and maybe some coffee. Here’s a picture of my theme words:

step 1

I created the “rock” by gluing down tissue paper with gel medium. Here’s a shot of that:

Step 2

Next, I applied some paint (after it dried a bit). First, raw umber, followed by some burnt sienna and raw sienna. What is cool about the tissue paper is how it catches some of the color in the wrinkles and folds, making it look like ridges in a rock. Here are a couple of pictures of this step, showing the difference with just one color vs. three!

step 3


Step 4

You can see how I left spaces for the “water” to flow. I watched some tutorials online before I attempted this step. I first applied some gesso on the page with a flat brush pulling side to side. I wanted to create texture that made it look like movement. Then I painted with a pale blue and a little lake blue. Again, having two different shades of blue, like with the browns in the rock, creates interest, depth, and “ripples”. After the gesso and the blues were dry, I added some white acrylic with a small brush. This time I started at the top and pulled forward in little places. This made the effect of the water flowing down out of the rock. I also concentrated the white at the edges where the water met the rock to make it look kind of foamy. Sort of, see what you think:

Step 5 close

I discovered a white gelato worked really well to create the “waves” or movement in my water. I added random horizontal lines and then pulled/smeared with my finger. I loved the added effect of this! All that was left to do now was paint a border. I chose a yellow to add a nice glow around the top and edges. Here is a picture of my finished page:

Step 7

And a close up to show you how cool it looks with all that texture:

step 7 close

I forgot to mention, I went over my rock with a black oil pastel. Just lay it flat and drag it right across the ridges of the painted tissue paper. This really solidifies the rock appearance by creating dark shadows and ridges. I also used my trusty black stabilo pencil (I use it on everything!) a little bit in the water, especially the edging, to create some shadowy areas.  I was very happy with the resulting texture! What do you think?

This page reminds me of the importance of trusting in God’s provision. And then I thought of Christ, and His provision for us on the Cross. I remembered the Israelites; how they grumbled and complained against the God who sustained them all those years in the desert. I don’t want to be a grumbler. I want to receive all that Christ died for me to have in this life, and eternally. I want to remember and honor Christ with my life, and tell every generation of the salvation won for us on the Cross. Christina Rossetti has a beautiful poem called, Beneath Thy Cross, that I’ll leave you with today. The poem speaks of the hard indifference we can harbor in our hearts.  I love the last line, calling upon Jesus, the One greater than Moses, to turn toward her, and once again bring water from the rock:

Beneath Thy Cross

Am I a stone, and not a sheep,
That I can stand, O Christ, beneath thy cross,
To number drop by drop Thy Blood’s slow loss,
And yet not weep?

Not so those women loved
Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
Not so the thief was moved;

Not so the Sun and Moon
Which hid their faces in a starless sky,
A horror of great darkness at broad noon–
I, only I.

Yet give not o’er,
But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;
Greater than Moses, turn and look once more
And smite a rock.