|You Are the Light of My World|
Look who did a whole piece of art. Jeepers, how long has it been? This is a 24"X36" acrylic and mixed media on canvas that I created for the major art exhibit at church. The theme selected by the Arts Ministry for this year's show is "The Seven 'I AM' Statements of Jesus in the Book of John."
|Upper Left Corner (Detail)|
|Dove Representing the Holy Spirit (Detail)|
The images above show the detail of the upper left corner of the canvas. I'll start there and move around counter-clockwise with details of the canvas.
When I started this piece I only knew that I wanted to use my iPhone photos somehow. First, I decided to use the "I AM" statement, "I am the light of the world," with my photos of sunsets. So, I printed small copies of the photos about two or three inches tall, mounted them on cardboard, and sealed them with gel medium.
|Middle Left (Detail)|
After I had the photos ready, I worked on the background for the canvas. First step was to apply modeling paste with a palette knife making a heavily textured background. That dried overnight and I painted the canvas with three colors of Golden acrylics, Quinacridone Crimson, Yellow Iron Oxide, Turquoise (Phthalo) - generally moving from lighter color in the center of the canvas moving to ever darker color on the outer edges all around.
|Lower Left Corner (Detail)|
At this point, I began applying collage pieces and the magic started. In my studio are four or five large drawers of random pieces of decorative papers and images - all garbage, really - like an old cleaners ticket and lotto numbers from a fortune cookie, pieces of paper doily, etc. I pulled one of those drawers out and just started placing items from it randomly on the edges of the canvas. Picture me humming, dancing, and slapping down collage pieces onto the colorful background. This is my very favorite part of the collage creation process. It honestly seemed like the magic of the Holy Spirit that morning. The whole piece took shape in a couple of hours - from painting to gluing the whole collage.
|Lower Center (Left)|
|Lower Center Right (Detail)|
|Lower Right Corner (Detail)|
When the collage pieces were affixed, I painted over them with liquid acrylics in the same three colors I used on the background.
|Lower Right Center (Detail)|
|Background and Collage, Stage One|
As I placed the photos in the cruciform shape, I realized that no matter how much I loved all the pastel colors of the background (see image above), the contrasts needed to be deeper in order to make the photos pop and make the cross seem lighter than the dark areas.
Because I was afraid of messing up what I had done so far, I decided to use technology to see how it might look with darker edges. (See image below.) I loved how the app made it look. In fact I almost covered the whole thing with wax because the digital image looked like it had subtle cracked wax marks.
|Digital Image with Dark Edges|
So I deepened the darks around the edges (still using only the three Golden acrylic colors - a magic all its own.) Finally, I added some more collage pieces to brighten certain areas.
|Upper Right Center (Detail)|
|Upper Right Corner (Detail)|
Below are some of the sunset photos on the cross that can't be seen in the images posted above, starting with the top of the cross (sorry, the only photo I got of it is blurred.) You will also notice that I used tiny, single, beveled rhinestones to simulate nails or tacks on each photo making it look as if that was my method of attaching it to the canvas rather than just gluing it. That is just a faux effect which added yet another symbol of light.
|Upper Cross (Detail)|
|Center of Cross (Detail)|
Notice the collaged "Eye of God" in the center of the cross. This is a personal symbol signifyimg to me the approval of God the Father. (Unfortunately, I can't recall the artist who originally created this particular image of the eye. If you recognize it, please let me know so I can give credit.)
|Lower Cross (Detail)|
There are also a few images signifying the presence of our Lord Jesus such as the chalice of communion and the Madonna and child. Stepping back to view and evaluate the piece, I realized through the process of collage and the pieces I selected, I had inadvertantly included symbols of the presence of the Holy Trinity - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That exemplifies what I meant by the " magic" of the process.
|Bottom of Cross (Detail)|
As I worked on the piece, the meaning of " light of the world" was not only developed in the photos but by the cross itself - meaning that Christ and His work on the cross is the light of our world. He illuminates the dark corners and various elements that pull our attention away from Him.
In this artful collage representation, all the diatribe around the edges pulls our eye and take our attention but the main focal is the cross with its light, both literally in the photos of light and figuratively with the light of Christ's cross. Ultimately we settle on its brightness and hope - a metaphor of our lives in Christ. Amen. As my minister often says, "That'll preach, my friends!"
|You Are The Light of My World|