“Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Luke1:38a).
Painting was a surprise. A joy I didn’t expect or see coming. Like all things, I have dabbled around, here and there, all these years. Following my curiosity, experimenting, learning. I have wrestled with painting- its meaning and purpose, wondering why God would give me something so wonderful, feeling the weight of responsibility to steward the gift well. I have learned I most enjoy painting faces. Each one is a challenge, and each one is unique – like us. I see a story emerging in each face taking shape through the layers of paint and collage. This is the most thrilling. What will this be? What does it represent?
This approach to painting, while creative and just plain-old-fun, does not yield many technically accurate, proportionate, and realistic results. Which has been perfectly fine to me. But I took a portrait class this fall with a really talented painter who taught me quite a bit about it all from watching her videos and taking in her knowledge of portrait painting. This led me to take a new approach to painting. I knew I wanted to paint Mary and Baby Jesus, and started with looking at several reference photos online. I found a couple I really liked and then sketched the basic figures onto a blank clay board (another note: this class was my first experience painting on clay and gesso boards. They are so wonderful for portraits. I had NO idea the difference this would make in the quality of the painting!). Then I set out to paint Mary and Jesus in intentional layers, like the master painters did. Starting with the darkest values and working to light, I followed my teacher’s advice, and mirrored her approach. I shared several pictures on social media of my process, including the shot painter’s refer to as the “ugly stage” with the dark values being very pronounced. Even in this stage, people were commenting this was a beautiful piece of art, which was so thrilling and personally gratifying!
My portrait, which is entitled, “Unto Us a Child is Born” is inspired from Isaiah 9:2-7. Jesus has the names from the passage written around his head, “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”. I could not be more excited to share this with you this Christmas. I present to you, dear friends, my “magnificat” – my “song to the Lord” because He has done great things for me. He has remembered the lowly state of his servant and given me a tremendous gift in painting – a gift I pray will honor him in every way “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my savior”:
“Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth,
Sing to the Lord, praise His name; proclaim His salvation day after day.
Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples”
I did make prints and cards of this piece, which are available in my shop. Everything is 30% now through Christmas day with code: JOY30.