This very personal piece is a reminder to myself to hold on to faith and trust, which I constantly find eroded in my struggles with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and with my doubts concerning my worth as an artist and creator. These days, my stress level and OCD have ratcheted up to Howard Hughes Aviator levels, which can be really hard on me and on my family who lives with me. Also, it seems that I have less time to paint than ever these days, which is frustrating because I had thought that I would find more time for creative pursuits as I got older. Further, some of the wonderful doors that had been opened to me in pursuing my art have recently closed. Are these just tests to see how much art means to me, or am I being told that this was never really my path? As I move from Wheel of Time work to more personal work, I’m partly excited and partly terrified. Fans were interested in my illustrative work… will they interested or moved at all by personal concepts and ideas? Those kinds of thoughts can be crippling to creativity…
So this piece is for all who feel tested, afraid, held back, or beaten down in some way. Christ actually suffered more than anything we face… even to death… but if we hold faith… in the end… hopefully we can all say, “I am bruised, but I am not broken.”
As ever, I am drawn to symbolism in my art. In this piece, the symbolic imagery combines elements of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which burns with loving compassion and a desire to save humanity - the crucifixion and the wounds of Christ, represented by the rubies and spear to the side , which imply the body of Christ - the defeat of Death, represented here by the Serpent impaled by the cross - and the Resurrection, represented here by the butterfly. There are secondary inferences such as the Nehushtan, which was the bronze or brass serpent that Moses raised on a staff for healing from fiery serpents for all who gazed upon it. Jesus referred to the Nehushtan when he told Nicodemus that the Son of Man must be lifted up (crucified) in the same way Moses lifted up the serpent on the staff. That lifting up came to be healing for all with the faith to seek it.
I was also inspired by religious tattoo art that I’ve seen on friends and on Ink Master… yes, I’m an addict, even if I’ll never set foot in a tattoo parlor. LOL
Special thanks to Michael Livingston for helping me with the Latin… which I love from my days in the Atlanta Symphony Chorus, but have never studied. Expect to see a lot more Latin in my future works.