I am fascinated by how paintings evolve.
Especially when one does not start out
with a particular image in mind. Such was
the case with this painting. What began as
an abstract in which I wanted to simply use
up the leftover paint from my last painting,
morphed into something else completely.
I have begun to photograph the stages that
my paintings go through. I find it helps me
gain a different perspective and gives me
a new set of eyes with which to see what
needs changing or adding or more attention.
In the case of this abstract, I noticed the curve
of turquoise and thought it looked like the
edge of a halo - the kind saints have in icons,
and thus the journey began...
Doing the initial rough sketch.
Trying out different color combinations.
Hmmm...to add a cross...or
not. This was a turning point. A sadness crept in and
I did not know if this was going to be a man or a woman.
I enjoy listening to spoken word pieces while I paint.
They may be audio books, podcasts, lectures,
or even sermons. At this juncture, I had begun
to listen to a sermon in which the minister
referenced the story of Rizpah from the Old
Testament, which can be found in II Samuel 21:8-14.
Now the story of Rizpah normally doesn't get a
whole lot of air time in sermons. Hers is a sad,
difficult and painful story. In fact, in my
54 years, I do not recall ever having heard a
sermon about her. So her story really got my attention,
and began to resonate on many different levels.
Rizpah exhibits a depth of love as she mourns and
grieves the unjust and untimely death of her two sons,
that puts everything else happening in the story into
perspective. Once the painting was complete, I went
on to do more reading about Rizpah. British Rabbi,
Jonathan Magonet describes her as "every mother who
sees her sons killed before their time for reasons of state,
be they in time of peace or in war. All that remains is for
her to preserve the dignity of their memory and live
on to bear witness and call to account the rulers of
the world." I also learned that Alfred Lord Tennyson
wrote a poem entitled, "Rizpah," which reads in part:
"Flesh of my flesh was gone,
But bone of my bone was left -
I stole them all from the lawyer -
and will you call it a theft?
My baby, my bones, that had sucked me,
the bones that had laughed and had cried.
Theirs? O no! they are mine -
not theirs -
they had moved in my side."
"Love Does" by Stacy Wills
(22" x 22" acrylic on watercolor paper)
I chose to name it, "Love Does," because that is the title
of the sermon by Pastor Jon Stone of Renovatus Church
that I was listening to online which inspired the final
direction the painting took. When all seems lost, and
no one knows what else there is to do...Love does.