Painting #1: Contemplating the Finite and the Infinite

It’s Day 7 of the 30 Day Challenge, and already I’m having revelations about things!

First, paint is expensive. This is almost $75 worth of paint, and it was on sale at the time. Yikes. Makes me wish I’d chosen a smaller canvas size. So, when there’s a big(ger) sale on paint, I’m going to stock up.

New paints for day 7 of the 30 Day Challenge!
New paints for the 30 Day Challenge!


Second, incredible things happen when I slow down.

The first day I painted, I wrote out Matthew 19:3-8 and Genesis 1:27, which together took a whole hour, about 50 minutes of which was the Matthew passage. It goes as follows:

Some Pharisees came to [Jesus] to test him and asked him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason?” And he answered them, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator created them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and unite with his wife, and the two will be one flesh’? So it is that they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined let man not separate.” They objected, “Why then did Moses order to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?” Jesus answered, “Because of the hardness of your heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so”.

Painting very fine wording is a slow, tedious process, but interestingly, as I did it, I found myself really taking the time to reflect on the words, what they meant, and visualized the scene in my head. Until this point, I’ve found it very difficult to focus on a passage and really let it sink in; I tend to rush through it to get it done and then I move on to the next thing. It really helped to paint it out.

Also, as I’m progressing through it, I’m finding myself looking forward to spending the time with this painting and with the reflection, both on the content of this first Wednesday audience, and in its general implication in my life. Also, I’m piecing in general inspiration that is coming to me as I work on this.

Here’s how it looked after the end of the first day I worked on it:

After Day 3 of the 30 Day Challenge (the first day of painting)
After Day 3 of the 30 Day Challenge (the first day of painting)

Over the next couple of days, I added a bit more text: one more Bible passage (Genesis 2:27) and some words that stood out for me that came from Christopher West, talking about how incredibly beautiful God’s original plan was for us.

After Day 5
After Day 5

These words shown above form the first layer, the innermost layer that will be the heart of the painting. Today, I started layering over it – dripping paint, sketching in an Alpha and Omega, and adding in the words “Endless is your love, O Lord”.

Day 7
Day 7

“Endless is your Love, O Lord” are lyrics from the song that is firmly stuck in my head at the moment: Endless is Your Love. You can hear it in the following YouTube video.

It’s been giving me hope in what is turning out to be a rough week – a relationship breakup a couple of days ago, fighting off a bit of a cold, and some bad news (and politics) in the project I’m working on at work. Also, it ties in nicely to one of Christopher West’s comments from Theology of the Body Explained about this first portion of the Theology of the Body: “Even if the heritage of sin carries with it the entire history of discord between the sexes, the roots of man and woman’s relationship go deeper, and Christ enables us to tap into that deeper heritage.”

So with that hope, I press on with the painting. I am looking to put layer upon layer (like Flora Bowley does) and eventually build it into a cohesive and yet sophisticated merger of the Word, Blessed John Paul II’s words, and my thoughts on the subject as I think through it. We’ll see what happens!

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