Monday, February 11, 2013

John 20:6

I realized not too long ago that I've totally abandoned my Blog, and this is my attempt to get back into sharing.   I think the rest of this story is special - when I've told this story to others, they have felt everything from chills to tears.  Enjoy.

This post is about a project that was completed two months ago (December 2012).  I was commissioned by an individual to paint for a church, a mural of the empty tomb, similar to one I had painted years earlier and much smaller.  This mural is large, as you see it on the wall; it's 10'6 high and 16'6 wide.  I purposefully made the canvas larger than the space it was going onto, so that just like wallpaper, it could be trimmed to fit. 

There are benefits to painting a mural on canvas, like being able to work on it in my pajamas at any time of day or night.  Painting on canvas was also good in that my client was in Kentucky - thank you FedEx.

To begin, I sketched out the main shapes and blocked in my colors.  To cover this amount of surface, I used a 6" whiz roller on a pole.  You'll notice I tarped everything. 
And now some progress shots...  

 This is where the neat part of the mural comes in.  I had been communicating with the client via  telephone calls and pictures throughout the process.  Toward the end of completion, she shared the 'final' image with the minister; who asked, where's the cloth that was wrapped around Jesus' head?  So she and I both looked up John 20:6-7 as directed: 

"...Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself." 

Well, I had something to add because it's significant.   After doing some research about the significance of the folded napkin and there are several, I have copied one of their explanations:

"...In order to understand the significance of the folded napkin, you have to understand a little bit about Hebrew tradition of that day. The folded napkin had to do with the Master and Servant, and every Jewish boy knew this tradition. 
When the servant set the dinner table for the master, he made sure that it was exactly the way the master wanted it.  The table was furnished perfectly, and then the servant would wait, just out of sight, until the master had finished eating, and the servant would not touch that table, until the master was finished. 
Now if the master were done eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his fingers, his mouth, and clean his beard, and would wad up that napkin and toss it onto the table. The servant would then know to clear the table.

For in those days, the wadded napkin meant, "I'm finished."  But if the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin, and laid it beside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table, because the folded napkin meant,... "I'm coming back."

So here's the folded linen, separate and apart from the other linens.
There are a few other thoughts on the folded linen; one that if tomb robbers had taken His body, they would not have bothered to fold the linen.  And another, that you could envision Jesus rising on Easter morning and as a matter of routine, folding the linen cloth.  Either way, it's significant ... and John made note of the way the linens were found.  I like the explanation:  I'm coming back.
My apologies for the small image, it was sent to me via cell phone. It is always a bit nerve wrecking to ship your artwork and entrust the installation to someone you know only through referrals and emails.  However, kudos to Lillian (and company), who professionally installed the canvas over a pool - it's installed behind the baptismal font - and did a fantastic job.  In case you're wondering, the mural has several coats of clear acrylic protection.  
I think a road trip may be necessary in the near future - it appears to be about a six-hour drive.   Thank you for reading - I always appreciate comments.