Painting isn’t exactly the right word. I didn’t use paint. I used ordinary, medium point Sharpies.
I wanted to say something about the banality of the world in which the Messiah entered... the mess, the smell, the conditions of where he was born. I wanted to emphasize the animals, put them in the foreground. A different sort of Nativity.
I created the image by writing with those variously colored Sharpies. I began with the nativity story in Luke (the face of the cow in the foreground), and put the lineage of Jesus in the walls of the building.
The rest of it was mostly prayers that came to me as I stood on the platform of the filled sanctuary of our church, tuning out the people around me.
When the second church service ended so did the picture. I moved quickly to a corner where I could avoid speaking to people.
Something wasn’t right about that picture.
While I did it my prayers were sincere, but they were dry. It was as if I was feeling the mundane part of the Nativity myself, not taking any joy in what was going on in the background. Just as I tuned out the congregation that morning, I was tuning out the joy of God incarnate.
Someone, a good friend, pointed out that there wasn’t the bright colors I often put in my images... no bright yellows, no golds, no emerald greens.
Lately I have had a dryness to my prayers, and it is showing in my art prayers as well.
I usually want nothing much to do with my prayer pictures after they are finished, but this was truer for this one.
So I gave it away this morning.
We have a prayer room at our church, and I often do such prayers on the walls in there. About once a year a friend paints it over for me (I sometimes help). He thinks of himself as my Etch-A-Sketch shaker.
I want to shake off all the pictures I have done. I’m looking for a way to do that.
There are three:
Acrylics - The laughing infant Jesus (my deceased son as the model) bearing the marks of His crucifixion.
Acrylics - Mary learning she will bear the Messiah, set in a modern, imposing cityscape.
Sharpies and watercolors -made up of prayers and scriptures.
I’m not sure how to set them loose... Perhaps I can find folks who want them, perhaps they can make a donation to our church’s building fund or the food pantry or something. I don't know. We'll see.