48″ x 34″ Acrylic on Wood
The top section jumps forward in time to when peace is restored to such an extent that even the animals are affected. When I was doing my editing phase I came so close to cutting this part off because I wasn’t sure it improved the overall composition but I am really glad I decided to keep it. Let’s face it, I just really love painting animals!
The Seraphim were really fun to create!. They are the angels flying behind Jesus. This was where I could do some fun character design. They are described as having six wings with eyes all over. I remember one night just staying up late and trying to figure out how I could depict a creature with six wings. The one angel in profile is the first drawing I did for this painting!
Then there are the riders on their white horses. Why did I choose a design that would require me to paint over a hundred horses!? Oh man. I’m a sucker for punishment I suppose. The reason I wanted so many in there was to show that Jesus is not just for a few elite people. He is for everyone. Salvation is a gift that anyone can receive. To further Illustrate this point I tried to paint people of many cultures, races, and time periods. The world is so full of wonder and variety! There are so many cultures and we should celebrate them with respect.
When it came to depicting Jesus, I had to do a lot of research and put a lot of thought and prayer into it. He is the “image of the Invisible God”, which reminds us that He was an actual person (someone you could see and touch). There are many verses that describe His appearance in the Bible (His eyes are like a flame of fire, His garments were stained as someone treading the wine press, He was scarred from His crucifixion, etc.). I took all the descriptions I could find and wrote them down. Then I tried to include as much as I could into this painting of Him. It is just an interpretation and should by no means be counted as the way He actually does look.
I created this painting while living in Niger. Most people here cannot read and therefore they can’t read the Bible. This makes me think about the opportunity artists have to share truth with people using art and how it is a very powerful tool to reach others.
In conclusion, I am pretty sure I won’t make a habit of creating religious art, but I am glad I tried it. There is already something spiritual about the act of creating and I don’t think it’s necessary to always be “on the nose” about my beliefs in my artwork. So whether you paint an imaginary creature, a sunset, a pirate ship, or even an octopus, you can honour Him as long as it comes from a place of love!
I recently read an art history book and couldn’t help asking myself, “What is religious art all about?” Why are there so many religious paintings and sculptures in art history? Is it only because medieval artists were commissioned by the church and were able to receive a pay check at the end of a job? Was it because they had limited access to inspiration through books but could more easily access the stories of the Bible? Or is there a deeper reason? I wanted to explore this question from the artist’s perspective, so that is one reason why I created The Return.
I have had a fascination with the end times for a while and have tried to learn all I can about it. The Bible is packed with information on the subject and I found myself feeling like my head would just about explode if I didn’t let out my thoughts somehow. One of the main challenges with this painting was deciding what to leave out!
After lots of trial and error I decided to focus on the moment when Jesus comes to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem as the climax of the tribulation. There is a contrast between the terror of everything that just happened as well as the hope and victory as Jesus returns to claim the earth.