Thursday, October 13, 2011

Introducing: Isaiah's Imagery

I am in the process of completing a large series of paintings about the writings of Isaiah. Tomorrow, I'll "unveil" my first painting, but today, I'll introduce what this project is—and is not—about.

I sincerely hope each piece in this project is: first, a work of Art—where vision and light work together to create a compelling image; second, a Painting—where the technical skills are as close to excellence as possible; and third, a Teacher—where the message is an eternal priority but the delivery can be more effective when the first two criteria precede it.

I don’t presume to know exactly what Isaiah means by all of his symbols and predictions. But I take comfort in the fact that even Christ’s Apostles were not only (A) unsure of how Christ’s mission would unfold even after He made it pretty clear (Matt 16:21-23) but also (B) doubted the truth even when events happened just as Christ said they would (Mark 16:14). Since I’m certainly no better than they, this project will focus on what I can—and must—learn: how to incorporate Isaiah’s principles into my own life. Then when God someday says, “THIS is what Isaiah means. NOW his words are fulfilled,” I’ll have sufficient familiarity with Isaiah's words to know what He's referring to and sufficient faith to believe Him.

Though my own religious bias will be inescapable at times, I still hope my entire audience (some of whom I know belong to many different faiths—or no faith at all) will be able to relate to the principles I share. After all, principles are universal.

Since my focus is on principles rather than events, I only care about what his teachings mean for you, for me (and for Israel), today. So although Isaiah certainly was biblical, I am not planning to use only olive-skinned models or dress my figures in traditional biblical attire. I want my viewers to be encouraged to read, ponder, and live the principles he teaches in their daily lives—right now. Because Isaiah's message has religious, political, and personal applications, this blog is about to get a more controversial--but I hope it is controversial in a good way.

Let’s face it. Even though Jesus Himself quoted Isaiah more frequently than any other prophet, as did many of his disciples; and even though scripture quotes Jesus commanding us to, “search … diligently … the words of Isaiah” (3 Ne 23:1-2),* most people that I know still avoid his writings. They can be very vague and confusing, right? That’s where this project comes in.

I have no guarantees that I will be able to finish this project because the lifetime required to complete it surely holds many unknowns. Regardless, I have decided to forge ahead and hope whatever I can share in the meantime will make Isaiah less intimidating for others.

Although I will occasionally share what some element in my painting means to me, I will leave the bulk of further pondering, as well as interpretation of the symbolism in these paintings, up to you. I fear that if I tell you what everything means to me, I will rob you of insights that could have been—and should be—uniquely yours. I hope you share your insights with me because I bet you’ll see something I missed. If you do, I promise to reciprocate with my thoughts so we can enjoy being edified together. I look forward to hearing from you!

2011Res: To Matt: I love our new effort at texting more often throughout the day. Who else would I want to hear from more than you? To my girls: today I savored your mimicking each others' funny vocal sounds and then your laughter at the fun game you'd created. I especially savored the moment when Brynn suddenly stopped, patted Heidi's head, and said, "This is a little sister!" Then Brynn patted her own head and said, "This is a big sister!" I'm just savoring what good sisters you are for each other! Dear Mr H: today I texted back--even when I felt crazy trying to manage the two girls at lunch with cousins because I love you and you come first.

*In case you're wondering, this is where that scripture passage comes from.


Alyson said...

Excited to see the project unveiled :)

Unknown said...

Ooo! I am so excited about this! I remember you telling me about this idea/goal years and years ago!