Sunday, April 09, 2006

A Good Day.

Last Tuesday was busy, but it was a good day. It started out, of course with a very productive time with the Lord, in which I asked Him to guide my path through some decisions and help me to do service to Him in my work and in ministry in a timely way.

Then I went in to the studio, where I have been spending many hours working on a two paintings, one being a smaller version of another. Working on paintings these days has been so wonderful. I haven't enjoyed painting like this for decades, and it's mostly due to having just the right teacher at just the right time. She's filling in some very concrete details about color theory that never did get addressed in my college years. Or maybe I wan't any case, I'm being mightily blessed, and I thank God for this opportunity.

I like painting in the mornings. There's activity at the school, but usually no one in the studio at that hour, maybe one other person. Sure enough, when I got in, no one was there, and I happily laid out my things and got right down to work. Presently the door opened, and in walked T., a gal from the class above mine, who sometimes is in the studio at a similar time. I groaned inwardly. T. is a talker. She is certainly pleasant, but she is a bit nervously compulsive about it, the way troubled people sometimes are, and I would probably be amused if only I wasn't trying to concentrate on my painting. That plus the fact that I never wear my hearing aids while painting makes it very difficult for me to fix on the task at hand: I am trying to make polite responses to whatever she is saying and not appear surly (when I feel surly about the interruption, to be honest).

So, of course T. starts in talking. She asks me to have a look at her painting 'because you'll be shocked'. Her assignment has been to overlay one painting with another, and still another, making a statement needing interpretation. It's meant to be a large painting-- about 4x5-- and T. has started out with an iconic painting of St. Martin, with a pilgrim in supplication, arms outreached, by his horse's side. On top of that is a painting of red-flowered vines with hummingbirds, actually rather interesting and pretty. Overlaid on this is an ouline suggestive of the distinctive spiral steps of the Vatican. At this point things are beginning to become confusing, but it's still thought-provoking. But the last thing she had done was to take red paint and liberally splatter it all over the entire painting. It looks like a massacre has occurred in the studio! I literally gasped when I saw what she had done. It was upsetting, to say the least. T. saw my reaction and said, "What do you think? You don't like it, do you? I'm shocked myself, but it's a part of the assignment. I want to wipe all this red off, but I'd have to paint it all over again." All this time, I'm staring at this painting, trying to think of why it shocked me so. It isn't just that the red paint is so vandalistic. It's what's underneath it, that has been ruined. St. Martin, the garden, the beauty of the Vatican staircase...

As I try to make sense of the painting, I think aloud. I tell her that the painting has certainly become shocking, and that it is indeed hard to "like". I think it's because (I tell her) it's as if someone evil has taken a can of blood and thrown it all over images that are meant to be beautiful and good. I tell her that I am an evangelical Christian, and that the red reminds me of blood. In some respects, this has a bad connotation; in other ways it has good ones, as in the shed blood of Christ. So, to me, it becomes in one sense like a statement of what Satan has tried to do to God's poeple and His creation: the Garden, His people, and the good and lovely things they try to do to express their love for Him. Satan has ruined all that.

On the other hand, the red becomes like the blood of Christ. I told her that if she would continue to paint just a little on top of the red, to paint in again perfectly certain parts of it, like say a hummingbird and a flower, and the hand of the pilgrim and the Face of St. Martin, and a small curve of the stairs, it would speak to the redemption that Christ's blood accomplishes to all Creation. His death looks bad, but it brings forth life, and His world will be redeemed.

By this time, T. is amazed. She is asking me about the Gospel, and I tell her that we if we are hidden in Christ, we are saved from the righteous wrath of God, as we make Christ and His blood our sacrifice, and hide behind Him so that nothing of ourselves shows, only Him.. of course all this is in the most basic language I can put it in.

T. expressed amazement at this and asked where I go to church. "I want to come to your church and hear more about this," she says, a tear rolling down her face. I tell her, and she writes down the name. Pray for T. She is an emotional lady, older than the average student, and her life has not been easy. But I thank God that He shocked me out of my plans and into His at just that time. In art schools, believers are far and few in between. Pray for the harvest among the art schools of this country, and pray for the believers in them, that they may love the lost, and speak redemption to sinners therein.


Blogger The Clinging Vine said...

Mercy Maud, Eleanor! I'm wildly impressed you were able to so quickly "redeem" the painting, so to speak. Amazing how the lack of hearing aids doesn't slow the Holy Spirit down in the slightest, huh?

Clearly He was whispering in your shell-like ear, and you heard every word. ;^)

Let us know if T. shows up at your church. Perhaps you could specifically invite her the next time you see her?

Praying for her and you both, m'dear!

5:42 PM  
Blogger craigellachie said...

Thanks, Anne. I saw T. a couple of times this past week-- I don't think she got to church last Sunday. But she revealed to me that her husband is abusive. I'm going to be taking an intensive month-long painting course after the end of the semester, so maybe I'll see her some more.

6:34 AM  
Blogger Aunt Cin said...

God bless you, Eleanor, as you bless others. HUGS!

Will be praying for T.


11:42 AM  

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