Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. ~ 1 Peter 4:10

Monday, April 16, 2012

You Make Beautiful Things....

Wooden cross in the prayer garden at our church

Happy Belated Easter!  I hope your holiday was wonderful and an amazing celebration of Christ's special gift of love and saving grace!  Our weeks have been full and busy.  I can hardly believe we are already halfway through April!  My, how time truly flies... 

I've been super busy creating the past few weeks.  I had the privilege of doing my first "live" painting during the Easter services at our church last week.  What an exhilarating, scary, but amazing experience it was!!  It was most definitely all God!  I prayed He'd show up and He never let me down!  It usually takes many hours to complete one of my artworks and when I was first approached I was thinking there is no way I can do a piece during the 3 to 4 minutes of a worship song.  But shortly thereafter, the ideas starting rolling and I knew God was speaking and gently pushing me to step out of my comfort zone!

 I knew I'd have to do a lot of the background layered work before hand.  The idea was to create as I usually do with multi layers of paint and collage elements but then leave some dramatic finishing touches to do while painting live.  I had to work larger than I normally do which was a challenge in itself!  I decided to use two (one for each service) 40" x 60" canvases.  Here is a peek at my process:

First layer of paint; getting rid of that intimidating blank, white canvas!

More paint (white blended into the center)

Both canvases in my studio

Collage papers

Placing collage pieces

Using matte medium to glue collage pieces down

A closer look!
I use found papers, scrapbooking papers, tissue paper and what ever else I can get my hands on in my collage work! 

Layering more paint and design elements

Notice the darker elements are around the edges and the lighter elements are in the center.  There is a reason for that....!

More layering

Here I'm adding actual bible pages from an old bible as collage elements

I love to tear my collage pieces!

My next step was to create a mask in the shape of a cross.  To do this I just tore poster board and taped it down with painter's tape onto each canvas.

My last step was to paint over the crosses to make them less noticeable. I also painted the outlying areas of the canvases a mix of black, dark crimson and red. I payed close attention to the edges of the crosses, making sure they were painted well and made sure some of the darker colors blended off into the surrounding background.

Now I was ready to paint live at the Easter services!!  I gathered up my paint, brushes, some printing supplies and a small cup for water and put them all into a black box to set underneath the easel on stage. Here is what happened next.....

Our worship pastor chose the song "You Make Beautiful Things" by Gungor and put together a wonderful arrangement that actually gave me around 8 minutes on stage.  It worked beautifully!

The paintings illustrate the separation between our sin and the saving gift of eternal life that Christ provides us with through the cross.  I wrote the words death and sin on the cross before pulling it off and revealing the pure, clean, softer colors underneath.  Hopefully the paintings share the true meaning of Easter with each viewer!

Close up after revealing cross

Me with my painting!! :)

I still need to add a few finishing touches to the paintings.  I always see areas that I feel need more layering or something else added.  I think I'll add some of the words from the song lyrics as well!  I'll post photos of the finished piece soon.  I think one will be on display in the church for a bit and then I'll put it in my Etsy shop.  The other one has already been requested for purchase!  Super excited about that blessing!! :)


Collette said...

Wow! That is just beautiful!!
And, you are brave for performing your artwork, too. :) I know one thing I always loved about art (vs. music or other performance-arts) is that you can finish everything before displaying it, lol :)

What a special Easter blessing!
Have a lovely day! :)

Devanee said...

I missed the Easter service, but I'm so glad you posted this so I could see what you did. I'd heard great things. This is beautiful!

Steph said...

Congratulations on a very successful piece as well as deepening the worship service. Beautiful work.

Michelle said...

WOW...I just love seeing your process for this piece. Thank you so much for sharing. What a beautiful way to worship!

Michelle Cooke said...

One of my favorite worship songs! What a beautiful work of art! It's inspiring to read a blog so connected to your faith life. I need to do so much better!!! Just became your latest follower--I'm in the Creative Business class with you. God bless, Michelle

Cindy said...

I found you thru Jeanne's class. Your art is so beautiful and your blog very inspiring and uplifting! I look forward to reading more!

Donna Heart said...

Hi Jen! Oh it's been a while since Wyanne's class hasnt it?! I just watched your video and have to say how awesome that was - what a blessing you must be to your church :) It is amazing how God works because only two days ago I was asked to do the same thing for my church in two weeks! I too was thinking I'd have to make a start on it prior to the service and was feeling quite nervous about it all, but seeing you there sharing your gift has made me realise that I can do it too ! Thankyou so much Jen! Take care, X Donna

Mikel Lyman said...

Beautiful stuff! THanks for sharing your process!