So the 50 days of Unremitting Joy are over, the Holy Spirit has descended, my little pictures are all complete. The question I have often been asked during the last 50 days is; what am I go to do with the pictures. Well originally I thought I might mount them as one big picture however I have back tracked on that, firstly because it would be an enormous picture and secondly because it would be an enormous picture which would be difficult to mount successfully, so for now they are all sitting in their little plastic sleeves to protect them, well mostly. I couldn’t bear to put the angels ones away, angels should never be hidden so I have mounted those four, and will probably mount some others.
What started as an idea and grew into a hairbrained scheme turned into an enjoyable task, if somewhat frustrating at times.
Enjoyable because it got me into the habit of painting regularly and now, with daughter having moved out, I am claiming her bedroom for an art room. My hope is, that without having to constantly pack things away I might paint more regularly even if I haven’t set myself a task. It was also enjoyable because I allowed myself to experiment and through that discovered what I was capable of and what I shouldn’t try again. (I think I probably around eight or so pictures didn’t make it into the project one because I used it for something else, the rest because I binned them!) It was also enjoyable from a spiritual point of view. Painting parts of the Easter Eucharist payer, which I have always loved anyway, has enriched my telling of that story through the season – I am very tempted to mount all those pictures together.
It was frustrating on two levels, firstly because I couldn’t paint some of the ideas and pictures that I had in my head and secondly the occasions when I just wanted to spend all day and a myriad of canvases exploring a new idea and just didn’t have the time to do so.
Two other things have enriched this enterprise. Discovering verses in the Easter story which had never really registered before has been a delight and a surprise. I thought I knew the stories but the familiarity had meant I had been glancing over some gems, like Peter and his belt. While the differing account of Easter morning have highlighted afresh how dangerous it is to take any one verse in isolation as absolute.
I don’t know if I will ever attempt any such project again, however I will be continuing to explore faith in paint and canvas for as long as I can pick up a paint brush but for now the little canvases that have been my constant companions over the passed 50 days are being replaced by a larger canvas as I explore an idea that has been floating around my head. An idea that may prove to be even more ambitious even though it is but one picture – due to the subject matter.