[NO. 1 (SOS 2: 6-8) -- CREATED IN 2010]
Though I have other paintings and drawings in the beginning of my painted journal, this is the first collage in the book.
I started it at a worship night at a Vineyard Church in the Castleton area of Indianapolis. They used to have a Friday night worship service where they were going through small sections of the Bible. I always felt closed off during those worship times because I always wanted to paint but no one was doing it and it's work to get supplies set up and it's hard to get any artwork done in a few hours. I also didn't know anyone at the church well and was intimidated by anything charismatic even though I had once been called a 'mystic' years before with no idea of what that really meant.
To compromise, I decided that I would try to work on a small piece and prepped a page in this book to take. I brought a tray table and basic art supplies with me. The verse they were focusing on that night was SOS 2:6-8. "Let his left hand be under my head. And his right hand embrace me. I adjure you O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or by the hands of the field that you will not arouse or awaken my love until she pleases."
I ended up writing the verse in barely legible cursive in the corner of the page and painting a very washed out background that night. That's it.
Months later, I finished it. I envisioned 'let his left hand be under my head and his right hand embrace me' as an act of being submersed. The picture that I kept on seeing was someone being lowered into water during a baptism. There's a gentleness and boldness in saying that that you want Jesus and submission in allowing His spirit to lower you in and out of waters. It's something that you don't want interrupted.
I was also reminded of my personal baptism because I was going through a rough time in a relationship and the church that I attended was going through its third location switch and third pastor in five years. I was tired, mad and hadn't been doing much with any artwork for a few years. In general, I felt like I was being called back to my roots. What are the things that you love to do? How did you feel when you first accepted Christ?
The shape of the leaves are taken from the only photo that I have of my baptism. Two of the cicada wings were collected when I lived on my Great-Grandmother's farm. The third landed in front of me as I was sitting on a porch swing. The church photos are from the sanctuary of Robert Parks UMC in downtown Indy where I would often go and sit at sunset before the Indy Alliance church service. The peasant is from Julien Dupre's, "The Harvester."