This Prodigal Son narrative is a multi-layered piece on primed canvas.
The first step to developing any piece is research — to study the text and experiment with styles and techniques. To delve into the text, I studied several Bible translations and commentaries. I made lists of key verses, adjectives, emotions, themes, synonyms and symbols. I searched our church library and public library for quotes relating to the themes and the landscape, the clothing and architecture of the time.
During the research, I am writing ideas and making sketches for giving visual expression to the text. I am asking myself many questions • What is the focal point, mood, attitude? • How can the images (the downcast, repentant son, the welcoming, joyful father and the robe, representative of reconciliation, forgiveness, restoration of heritage) and the quotes be positioned to effectively use balance and scale?
The first marks on the canvas were pencil sketches of the father and son. I covered the canvas with light yellows, golds, greens and blues. Painted rocks, hills, a large tree and a stream with more rocks followed, but were pushed into the background with darker hues of burgundy, purples, and browns. As I work with color, I am evaluating the effect of color and elements blending into or emerging from the background.
I worked on the unstretched canvas. After painting the background, the first lettering to go on was the text that partially surrounds the son. It represents the temptation around us. The son looked for things other than God to make him happy. There are so many distractions that rob me of time, focus, worship and relationship with God. (All that we call human history – money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery – (is) the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy. MERE CHRISTIANITY C.S. Lewis)
I reflect on my own journey as a prodigal while I move through the process of painting and designing. I reject my Father and think I can live on my own. I realize my sorry miserable state and long for my relationship with my Father to be restored. My humbled repentant heart searches for my Father. I search, call and pray (as Jeremiah 29:11-13 teaches). I learn and relearn the truth Paul speaks of in Philippians 4:12-13, which is written over the tree on the left. (I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty, I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.)
I know I need for the armor of God in this journey. Thus, this text from Ephesians 6:12-17 is across the bottom, forming a baseline and stability on which to ‘walk’ as I journey in the world. (For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one, Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.)
The focus is on the Father, His great love for us, the blessings and abundance of life in relationship with Him, His joyful countenance as I approach Him. The Father is always waiting expectantly for my return. The C. S. Lewis quote surrounding the Father describes His love toward us. (… the great thing to remember is that, though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not. It is not wearied by our sins, or our indifference; and, therefore, it is quite relentless in its determination that we shall be cured of those sins, at whatever cost to us, at whatever cost to Him. MERE CHRISTIANITY C. S. Lewis)
When I experience my Father’s love, forgiveness and reconciliation, the brokenness caused by sin and rebellion is replaced with new life. I symbolize this renewal, restoration and reconciliation with rich colors of gold, bronze, reds, purples and the robe.
The narrative of the prodigal son was arranged in the remaining space. The son’s confession and change of heart fit exactly in the area depicting his humble, repentant spirit seeking restoration with his father.
When developing a concept to merge message with technique into a finished piece, the joy of God’s grace is experienced. It is a journey of exploration, inspiration and discovery on a spiritual level as I lean on God and on a concrete level as I work with my tools and experience. It is a walk in faith, patience and joy as I depend on and realize God’s leading. I am grateful for the opportunity to do this work. My work is a celebration of life with God and life in relationship with others.
Contact me at 651 645 4223, or write email@example.com, for information
this piece or commissions. See also my other gallery and on-line store
Artist, Calligrapher, Painter
Ah Music, 1993
Best Mom, 2008
Blessings or God of Hope, 1996
Be Thou My Vision, 1986
Certificate, The Bove Award, 2005
Certificate, The Steffler Award, 2005
Candle Christmas Card
God at Work, 2003
Savior Born Christmas Card
Take Time Christmas Card
Songs of Christmas Card
O Holy Night
On This Day
Hand of God
St Francis Prayer, version1
St. Francis Prayer, version 2
Wonder and Splendor
Roseville Lutheran Church Commission
ee cummings poem
Serenity Prayer Vellum
Psalm 23, Navajo version
Love Forgiveness Reconciliation (The Prodigal Son)
Love of God
Future Hope II
Here I Am
With this Ring
1 Cor 13
Hand of God
Armor of God
Hymn for Baptism
I Am With You
Shepherd, Luther Seminary commission
Grow in Grace & Knowledge, Luther Seminary Commission
Serenity Prayer II