Way back in April when the rapeseed was spreading its bright yellow across fields all over the country, a friend in Lincolnshire posted a picture of a field near her and immediately I thought I would like to paint it. The colours grabbed me and across the picture, and the field, was a row of trees like sentinels not a speck of greenery was yet to be seen on them as the crop at its base neared time for harvesting.
It has taken awhile to get around to painting it indeed after my painting a day for the season of Easter I didn’t seem to have any time for any painting. However, recently I promised myself that I would get back to it so with paints at the ready and a blank canvas it was the sentinels that called.
And so I began and as I began I found myself praying for the person who had posted the picture. As I painted the blue sky tingled with lilac I prayed that; her vision and mind would be clear from storms, that there would be highlights within that clarity which surprised and gave delight. As I painted the bright yellow crop I prayed that; her life would be full of joy and happiness, that whenever life felt grey the brightness of that image would wash over her. As I painted the green of the foreground I prayed that; her feet would always find firm ground, and that just as the flowers tumbled out over the edge of the field so like God promised her cup would overflow. As I painted the trees reaching up into the sky I prayed that; her hopes and dreams would find fruition, I prayed that she would always be protected and safe. As I painted their fine branches I prayed that the detail of her daily life would be productive even if it sometimes seems tedious. As I painted the shadows I prayed that: the shadows in her life would be brief.
I didn’t set out thinking I was going to pray for her as I painted it just happened, the trees took on a life of their own especially the one on the far left. As I painted them I prayed for her congregations, she has six of them, but I painted 7 trees. The final one that one on the far left, morphed into something far different from the ones that stood proudly in that field. As I painted that tree I prayed for all those lives she touches, all those who through her faith and commitment to God have seen new hope, reawakened in God’s love, replanted in Christ’s peace, found reasons to rejoice again in the new life the Holy Spirit brings.
The painting is not what I thought it would be, either in its finished look or in the manner of its painting, however in lots of other ways it has become a far greater painting than I could have ever dreamed. I find myself wondering if I will ever paint in such a way again. I am not convinced that painting can, or indeed should be planned in such a way, but maybe it can, we shall see.