Star of Wonder

I had a new experience with my painting in December.  I had a pretty clear vision in my head about what I wanted to paint.  I wanted a large modern looking Nativity scene to hang up next to my Christmas tree.  I figured I would enjoy it for the holiday and then paint over it since it’s really too big to keep in storage.

I started the painting and for some reason my hands painted the typical nativity scene with a small barn and family.  This was nothing like what I wanted to paint.  My intention was to complete the picture but I decided to go ahead and paint over the bottom half and keep the top.  I loved the star’s light and wanted to keep it.

I added ultramarine blue (the color I used in my background) to the bottom of the painting because I knew it would be dark enough to cover the scene in one layer.  I didn’t feel bad about this because I hadn’t yet painted in baby Jesus.  I added more color to the star and brought the light downward.  Something about the sparkly paint that I used seemed to glob up in certain areas of the painting.  This was quite disappointing because I couldn’t get it to behave the way I wanted it to.  At this point I had to walk away from the painting.

The following evening, I sat down in front of my canvas.  I still had the original painting in my head and I’ve prayed about this painting several times so far.  I painted in a little more yellow and gold for the star.  Then, I went to mix the ultramarine blue with silver but I grabbed the wrong tube.  I added brilliant blue by mistake.  I didn’t notice until I started to mix the colors together.  I loved the tint that was produced and I just had to go with it.

With each stroke, I changed the angle of the brush.  Instead of painting with a flat stroke I started turning my brush on it’s edge and varying the angle.  Something about this combination created a flow I haven’t felt before.  I had no agenda, just movement.  After putting bluish-silvery paint to canvas I walked away for an hour.  Then, I went back with more gold and yellow to create the internal formation.

I walked away knowing that I had found something unique.  Every evening for two weeks, I went back to the canvas and work on the composition.  I’ve measured out the sides of the painting to bring some consistency of size into it.  Each paint stroke was now completely intentional, with the end in mind.