“Good morning,” whispered my husband. “HE IS RISEN!” “He is risen,” I croaked back, not wanting to be awake yet. It has been an emotional and taxing couple of days since Good Friday. “Are you going to get up and paint?”
I have already been thinking and dreaming about my painting, it feels like for all night long. “Not yet…”
How does one paint EASTER? The most important day ever in all of history? Especially how does one with my level of experience and proficiency paint such an event? I don’t know if it is possible. Still, the images I have seen in my imagination while my eyes have been closed; there are ideas to start with there.
HE IS RISEN! I roll over, kiss my husband, and say, “I am going to paint.” I can imagine him smiling in the dark. “Have fun…” he says. Oh, I will!
My palette is clean and white. My brushes and water are clean. I choose a color wheel of paints, including all my favorite shades and hues, and a couple that remind me of Good Friday’s painting, and the GraySabbath painting. “Because,” I think to myself, “everything is included and significant. There is nothing that is not touched by His resurrection.”
Bruce starts the coffee while I paint the first layer. I put out frozen dough last night for rolls this morning. “If they are ris… “ Oh. Risen. GOD is doing it again! HE is filling my morning with tangible things that bring me to my knees in worship. “If they are RISEN,” I start again,” (“I get it,” he says.) “then preheat the oven and bake for about 20 minutes.”
While we wait for the first layer of the painting to dry, we have our morning ‘couch time’. We love to sit on the couch together before he leaves for work and I go to the studio, and today we sit as we prepare for Easter services. We have coffee together. Sometimes we are both looking at our phones, and sometimes we are discussing important things. This morning, there is a bit of both, but that is ok, because HE IS RISEN. I read him a couple of poems* I found yesterday, and say how much I love them because “there seems to be so much meaning. I mean, there are kind of layers of…” Oh. Just like great paintings, these great poems have layers of meaning.
After prayer, I get up from the couch and return to the studio with an idea of what to do next. “It won’t be a great painting,” I think, “but that’s ok, because HE IS RISEN!’ As I am partway done with this layer, I glance over my shoulder, out the window of my studio. Wow! The sun is rising. There is an intense and beautiful glow coming through the dark… the dark trees. Yes. The bright glory of the Son is shining through the dark, too! What beauty. I just sit and watch for a few minutes, regardless of the paint drying on my brush. It takes my breath away, and I can’t ignore it.
The focal point in this painting is in the center. That is not the ‘right place’ for it, but it is the right place for My Redeemer’s resurrection. There are circles at the very ends of the cross. They represent the scars that will remain for eternity in His hands and feet. The dark and the blood are on the cross, but so is the iridescent gold – a representation of GOD HIMSELF.
HE IS RISEN.
Say it with me. HE IS RISEN INDEED!
* ‘Sepulchre’ by George Hebert; ‘Resurrection’ by John Donne