Anatomy of a Painting / “The Fishermen” (2015)

Anatomy commonly relates to the dissection of an animal or plant in order to study its structure. But it is also defined as an analysis or minute examination. This is an analysis of a painting that came to be titled “The Fishermen.” My only regret: I wish I had photographed the process more methodically!  But perhaps the process (that miraculously came together as if I had orchestrated it) will help illuminate my painting process.

One Who Came On the Waters of Time Series

“Art is work and the making of things is about process—a ‘truthful activity,’ Makoto Fujimura calls it–-that which unveils the veiled truths of what it means to be human, to plumb the depths of reality”(Catherine Page). My work is about this process of revealing true reality. It includes experience, art practices, education, intuition, and a “liberated imagination“–liberated by faith in the Creator God who holds all reality together and is the wellspring of truth and light.

I had no pre-planned idea where this painting would take me. I had been reading  Island of the World by Michael O’Brien and his poetry at the back of the book (“Beneath the Waves,” p. 822-825) was an important influence. A 4′ x 5′ gessoed panel was ready for the application of oils and cold wax medium. My main tool, a yellow-handled dough scraper, was lying ready on the table.

panels

I chose a warm Quinacridone Gold as the unifying base color (and a bit of red), hoping that fiery glory might show through later. Then I  layered these warms with cool blues to begin a watery theme.  

1. beginning a new painting

The blues blended into the oranges while the paint was wet. I welcomed the subtle mixing of these compliments. I scumbled my scraper across the surface, allowing imperfections, scratch marks, and lines to add interest and texture. Scribbled words also enhanced the mystery and meaning in the layering process.

3. early on.

4 horizontal ABBA ideaThis Hebrew word, abba, was hidden in subsequent layers.

I began working horizontally but the darker blues on the right suggested ocean and “the one who came on the waters of time.” Then a “swimmer” appeared in my imagination, so I scraped off some of the darker blue to reveal his shape “beneath the waves.”

“To you, the one who came on the waters of time, like a swimmer, you passed in front of my eyes . . . . You were there a sudden presence, a form, a fire, slow silent fire . . .” (Michael O’Brien).

Swimmer

But “the swimmer” was hidden in the subsequent layers of blues and became “the form, finely wrought, fire upon the water” (ibid).

O Form Finely Wrought Upon the Waters,,,Fire Upon the Water 3 x 4 feet  oil and wax on panel.

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detail

Then I waited several weeks before returning to this painting. It was too monochromatic and lacked a strong focal point. Courageously I attacked it with red. Perhaps I was seeking Incarnation and “the one who came by water and blood — Jesus Christ; not by water only but by the water and the blood”(1 John 5:6). I allowed a figurative shape to appear in the negative shapes and added warm oranges and a lurid yellow around it. This layering would build the “history” of the piece, allowing glimpses of red and yellow to show through later. I also sprayed these warm colors with mineral spirits. They ran down the center of the painting to break up the space on the lower half.

I applied gold leaf above this figurative shape to suggest glory. I was thinking of the One who walks on water, but unfortunately controlling the miraculous is not possible. Instead of mystery my painting felt contrived. To unify it, I had to forgo any predetermined outcome. I had to release it and approach it as design. Then a miracle could happen.

The colors were not right, so I added glazes of red and  greens and covered the distracting (and contrived) gold leaf. A large painting is more difficult partly because it is challenging to mix the correct amount of color needed for a large area.

thinking this was finished

(Sadly at this frenzied turning point, my process overshadowed my concern for taking photos!)

I mixed bolder colors — a huge amount of the complimentary color — a dark purple. I covered the intrusive figures (now there were two “water-walkers”) and courageously lost the entire top half of the painting, using rollers. It was an ominous dark, but I left a bit of white to the left side and scraped away an arch shape.

I do not recall how the two figures emerged from the grey blue that I layered over the purple. But to break up this dark expanse I loaded my brush with mineral spirits and began making automatic marks, the music of the spheres or perhaps God singing His Creation into being. Then I immediately subtracted the dissolved color with a sponge roller to reveal the very first blue layers underneath. The miracle was beginning to happen!

In releasing or “giving up control,”mystery and beauty happened. The random large “speech marks” became God’s voice on the surface of the deep as He spoke creation into existence.
(details)
speech


Finally, I worked the central figurative focal point by incising the painted layers down to the first layers of paint. The Nets of God “emerged” next to the figures referencing my Nets of God Series. I removed some of the paint around the two figures, but the tiny cross between them was unplanned! The crux of history showed itself miraculously. It subtly joined the two figures — God the Father and God the Son (The Fishermen), who were coming to gather the elect from every nation. They were standing at the gates of heaven.

detail One Who Came

I am always amazed how the wrestling and work that is painting is a miracle — a miracle that as creators, The Creator allows us to reveal the God who created the visible and invisible world. Painting is indeed a process of working and waiting on God to direct my heart, soul, mind, as well as my hand.

“For in Him we live and move and have our being, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are his children.’” Paul is explaining the divine to the Athenians at the Areopagus in Acts 17. Life is sacramental. We are created in the image of God to give him glory.

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Epiphany: “a showing forth” of Jesus

HAPPY NEW YEAR from SOLI DEO GLORIA STUDIO

Epiphany is a Christian festival observed on January 6th. It commemorates the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles in the persons of the Magi or Wise men; the Twelfth-day of the Christmas celebration which ends the last of the five weeks or forty days of Advent (December 29-January 6).

After forty days of awaiting the birth of “Emmanuel” (God with us) at Bethlehem, we celebrate the climax of Advent, Epiphany, when Jesus Christ is recognized as King by the wise men of the world. Christ Jesus is shown forth not just to the Jewish people but to the Gentile world.

Yes, the 40 days of Advent are over. The King of Kings is here! Wise men still seek him.
And we wait during our “40 years of tribulation” for the final Epiphany when every eye will see him, and every knee will bow and confess that Jesus Christ is King.

The Magi were members of the religious hierarchy of ancient Persia and Media (the region corresponding to modern Iran). They were scholars and practitioners of astrology and the first Gentiles, men of renown, to come and worship Jesus, the King (Matthew 2:1-12). Hieronymus Bosch painted an account of this historical event in 1495 (detail left — now in Madrid’s Prado).

To “show forth” Jesus to the world, Epiphany also celebrates The Baptism of Jesus  and  The Wedding Feast at Cana as depicted in these two modern day icons. The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River is seen as Jesus’ manifestation to the world as the Son of God. 

Epiphany

Epiphany

The Wedding Feast at Cana shows forth his divinity as he performs his first miracle. This wedding was performed in a Gentile town in Galilee, not Judea. It is a fitting anticipation of Jesus’ own Wedding Feast in eternity celebrating with all nations tribes and tongues the Wedding Feast of the Lamb!

The Marriage at Cana
My recent commission (below) could be named Epiphany! The fourth definition in Dictionary.com is  “4. a literary work or section of a work presenting, usually symbolically, such a moment of revelation and insight.”

wedding-day

Water Into Wine / The Wedding Feast   40 x 52 inches oil and wax                 grace carol bomer

I was asked to paint this first miracle of Jesus and  “the awe and wonder” when the wine Jesus made from water was first tasted. This amazing wine was and is a picture or foretaste (no pun intended) of the awe and wonder of heaven itself and the celebration of The Wedding Feast of the Lamb in eternity.

In the lower part of the painting are the six water jars for Jewish purification. The  wedding celebration is happening! In fact, the central jar is the crucible of the cross, “the still point where the dance is” (T.S. Eliot), and the miracle truly happens. Jesus, the God-man, mediates between heaven and earth and out of his pierced side blood and water flow.

water-into-wine-the-miiracle the-crux-of-the-miracle-woman-my-time-is-not-yetThis crux of the first miracle is Jesus’ own blood sacrificed for sin that makes celebration in heaven possible. You may be able to see his thorn-crowned head in the red central stem of a chalice connecting heaven and earth. Christ is looking down on his mother Mary’s face in the base of the chalice.

the-bride-meets-her-loverthe-lamb-of-godAt the top of the chalice (the top of the painting) is the figure of the Bride dressed in embroidered garments meeting her Lover, and on the left side the Lamb of God stands on a golden throne.

The chalice suggests Holy Communion, one of the sacraments that Jesus instituted for his “Bride” while she awaits full and perfect communion in heaven. Blues, reds, and golds symbolize the colors of water, blood, and Spirit–the three that bear witness to this first miracle that “shows forth” who Jesus is, the God who came to redeem a people (his Bride) for himself, the God who celebrates and loves his bride in the splendor of holiness and beauty.

The joy and anticipation of eating and drinking with Jesus Christ at his table with all nations tribes and tongues is part of the celebration of Epiphany.
heaven

This manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles and the revealing of His divinity are critical in the history of Redemption.

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Moving to Warehouse Studios #6 in Asheville’s River Arts District

10369175_10203160628748997_2697038602531871524_nI will miss the artists at The Pink Dog Creative, owners Hedy Fisher and Randy Shull, and the space there that David Holt shared so graciously with me since January 2016. Glass Sky Enterprises purchased my former studio at 140 Roberts Street Studio, so I have been thankful for this interim at Pink Dog.

David is leaving at the end of August as well. He is being inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in October, so has been very busy with little time to paint. I do own this small piece of history though! Wish you continued success David!

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January 1 moving in; quite a downsize from 140 D! By August (below), I was crowding David out!

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Pink Dog Creative July 2016

Fortunately, I found a large space on the second floor #6 of  The Warehouse Studiosjust across the railroad tracks. (right or wrong side of the tracks?)  It is a huge luxury with library space, wifi,  and my sixty-dollar sofa for napping and artists’ gatherings! Can’t wait to get it organized!

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Best of all, it has lots of room to paint and teach! I am excited to begin work on several large commissions I received recently. This will be a private place to work. (Pink Dog was open to a common room with less privacy.) Please come visit when my door is open at The Warehouse Studio or call me for an appointment. (828..545.2451)

artistocrat
So far, no messy tarps or paint cover the floor, but a gessoed triptych panel (60 x 76) awaits!
My next post — The Anatomy of a Painting — is about my work process and why a commission is difficult, because the left brain has a tendency to analyze and follow consigned plans. It gets in the way of the right brain and the spontaneity of the spirit. I hope to document it along the way!

Painting is work and wrestling. The making of things  is about process — the process of unveiling veiled truths / revealing true reality, discovering what makes us human. This takes both sides of the brain and the help of the Creator God and Holy Spirit. My work process includes my experience, my intuition, my education, my art practices, and my faith in a God who holds all reality together and is truth and light. I am looking forward to getting to work!

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The wall to the left  is a gallery wall and paintings lined up are waiting to be hung.

fan needed for the month of August!

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Advent / Incarnation II

 

 Advent Celebration
The Account of Christ’s birth

Variations on the same theme S

My painting Variations on a Theme / The Four Evangelists (12 x 12)  seems a fitting image to reference the four gospel accounts of the birth and life and death of Christ Jesus – Emmanuel – God With Us. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John each present a uniquely inspired picture of Jesus’ birth and life. Take time to read them.

Matthew’s gospel is to the Jewish people and presents the authority of Jesus as The King of the Jews, The Lion of Judah. He begins with the historical records, “The record of the genealogy of the Messiah . . .

Mark’s gospel presents Jesus as the Lord who serves and proclaims with immediacy the good news of this miracle-working Savior who comes to be a sacrifice. He begins, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”

Luke, the physician, writes his gospel with precision and detail for the Gentile nations and shows a human Savior, The Savior who brings liberation to the poor and neglected. Dedicating his book to the Greek, Theophilus, he begins, “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses . . . .”

And John’s gospel presents Jesus as the incarnate God, who created the world and comes in flesh as the Word of God, “who is the true light that enlightens everyone.” He begins, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God . . . .”

The four gospels are variations on the unified theme. They tell us who God is in all his power and glory. Like the four living creatures around the throne of God in the book of Revelation, who proclaim continuously, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come,” the four evangelists share the same “good news!”

In 1614, the painter, Peter Paul Rubens painted The Four Evangelists. It was common in Medieval art to describe the gospel writers using animal characteristics – in reference to Revelation’s vision of God himself in His various attributes by four living creatures. We see a lion lying at Matthew’s feet, Mark rests on the ox, an eagle hovers over John, and a human face like an angel hovers over Luke.

File:Peter Paul Rubens-Die Vier Evangelisten.jpg

The four figures in Ezekiel’s vision also reference the four living creatures in Revelation. They surround the throne of God and proclaim His glory.

Ezekiel 1:5-14 . . . Within it there were figures resembling four living beings. And this was their appearance: they had human form. Each of them had four faces and four wings. . . as for the form of their faces, each had the face of a man; all four had the face of a lion on the right, and a face of a bull on the left, and all four had the face of an eagle.

Ezekiel’s Vision shows my painting of the four creatures proclaiming glory to God .
ezekiels-vision

 

The final revelation of Jesus Christ (Revelation 4: 6-11) shows us this glorious God.  “And around the throne were four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind. The first creature was like a lion and the second was like a calf, and the third creature had a face like a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures each of them having six wings are full of eyes around and within, and day and night they do not cease to say, “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, IS THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME.”

The mosaic below shows Christ with the four creatures around him.
The Four living creatures

The gospel or good news of Jesus Christ told by four inspired writers is central to salvation. Below is a Medieval ivory plaque which shows winged evangelists or tellers of good news surrounding The Lamb of God.

Plaque with Agnus Dei on a Cross between Emblems of the Four Evangelists

 

Albrecht Durer painted The Four Apostles rather than The Four Evangelists(1526). He painted them for the town hall (not a church) of his hometown of Nuremberg. And instead of three panels, he omitted the prescribed center panel with Christ or Mary. The two panels are four larger-than-life-sized portraits of the apostles. He painted the John in the foreground pointing to the verse in his gospel which reads, “In the beginning was the Word . . . . ” The spread of The Word was important to Durer. He was a contemporary of Guttenberg who had just invented the printing press. Durer illustrated many copies of newly printed Bibles which were finally available to the common man.

File:Albrecht Dürer 026.jpg  File:Albrecht Dürer 027.jpg

May we continue to celebrate the eternal story told in four uniquely and perfectly told narratives by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

until Shiloh Comes cropped 150    The Scepter Shall Not Depart from Judah     UNTIL SHILOH COMES  48×48  http://gracecarolbomer.com/artwork/2982602_Until_Shiloh_Comes.html 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGJAm1iM1Vc

In Anticipation of Christmas!


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“Babel and The Babe”

This is the title of a small study that sums up my Global City Babel Series about the antithetical war between the words of men (Babel) and the Word of God (The Babe of Bethlehem). I mentioned following up on this painting in a previous post called Word/Image.

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Babel and the Babe   7″ x 7″ graphite, watercolor, text on paper

This painting and the one following are featured on the covers of Issue 8.1 and 8.2 of  Relief Journal. Babel and The Babe is on the Spring cover. (It was incorrectly titled Babel Baby, suggesting instead a human baby or our human condition, not the intended “Incarnate Word of God made flesh,” the baby born in Bethlehem.)

The City of God / The City of Man, 36 x 36 inches mixed media on canvas will be featured on the Fall issue.

Global City Babel City of God City of Man

This encaustic mixed media painting, divided into two parts, is also about the antithetical war between Babel and The Babe. The bottom half includes black and white photographs I took in New York City and images of the 1999 war in Kosovo and the Balkans. The top half includes church architectural drawings, Arabic text — the Word became flesh descending on the tower, biblical texts and the large text — I AM. It is covered with golden beeswax.

The City of God / The City of Man
takes its title from Saint Augustine’s book De Civitates Dei, in which he presents human history as being “a conflict between the Earthly City (The City of Man) and the City of God, a conflict that will end in victory for the latter. The City of God is marked by people who realize the transience of the earthly city with its concern for power and pleasures. They dedicate themselves to the eternal truths of God revealed in the Word of God. The Earthly City consists of people who celebrate the pleasures and cares of the present world and who believe the ever-changing words that promote power, peace  and comfort on earth.

The basic thesis of Augustine’s book is the history of the world as the universal warfare between these two cities and between God and Satan — the theme of my Global City Babel Series. This biblical warfare began when man sinned. God told Satan in the Garden of Eden, “I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). This conflict is also summarized in the final prophetic drama of the book of Revelation (The Unveiling).

Last week, the painting Foundation/Global City Babel that began this series was purchased by collector Dona Spaan for the Permanent Collection at  Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a collection that includes  artwork by Gerhard Richter and contemporary Dutch photographer Henrik Kerstens (1965).

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IMG_4520Global City Babel FOUNDATION for Radix Mag

The Tower of Babel  (right) by Pieter Bruegel (1563) is my central motif. It references the biblical tower (Genesis 11) where God intervened to confound man’s words and his desire “to reach  the heavens” and “make a name for himself.” This Dutch artist had a biblical view of reality. His visit to Rome inspired this Babel tower styled after the Roman Coliseum.
Christians of his day equated Rome with the Biblical, Babylon the Harlot, the antithesis of the Bride of Christ. Babylon was the seducer of man’s heart.
Babel and Babylon symbolized all that is opposed to God’s Word and his glory.

The hand-made frame of this painting includes the all-seeing eye of God at top center and small pilgrims in the wood on either side. The incised text is the stylized acronym for the Tanakh or the Hebrew Scriptures.

vertical detail Power IssueThis series describes our postmodern culture where meaning and words are confused and manipulated for power. Breugel’s Tower is an apt symbol 500 years later as this cosmic battle between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent is revealed. It will continue until The Word of God, who is Faithful and True, returns to claim his kingdom already won by his sacrificial death.

Babel’s Child I (below) is also about this conflict. The figure is bowed with a Babel tower on his back. A snake skin, a symbol of The Fall, is embedded in the beeswax at his feet and the sacrificial death of Christ is alluded to by the snake on the pole.

Babel's Child I for Seeds LA

In  Purified Lips (below) God’s Word descends from the sky. The title is taken from Zephaniah 3:9 — For at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, and all of them may call on the name of the LORD and serve him shoulder to shoulder.The Tower of Babel is situated on deconstructionist texts and city plans, while the text from the sky in the French language is from John 1:1 — In the beginning was the WORD and the Word was with God and the Word was God.

Purified Lips unframed P

Shoulder_to_Shoulder

Babel Grace Reactor

Shoulder to Shoulder 12 x 12 inches                      Babel Grace   24 x 24  (Hebrews 12:18ff)
The two paintings above were also inspired by this text from Zephaniah 3:9.

In Babel Overturned the Tower of Babel is upside-down in a turning sea. The cross, the means of Satan’s conquest, is referenced by the incised grid of red lines (the Nets of God).

c. Babel Down
Babel Overturned   2006 encaustic on panel  24″ x 24″

The Babe of Bethlehem pronounced Satan’s mortal wound and defeat as he approached the cross. He said, Now shall the prince of this world be cast out (John 12:31)And in his last discourse Jesus proclaims as if it were already an accomplished fact, The prince of this world has been judged (John 16:11). In the painting below you can see the plumb line and the tent or tabernacle over the Tower of Babel. This suggests judgment, when all shall be justified or made straight by the God who “pitched his tent” or tabernacled with us (John 1:20)

c. Global City Series He Tabernacled Among UsTabernacle  (2005)   24 x 34  (New Canaan, CT collection)

Global City Babel text encaustic S        A Day of Clouds  S 12 x 12 inches
A City that Cannot Be Shaken 12 x 12 inches       “State Protection” . . . 12 x 12

As this battle between Babel and the Babe wages, we wait. Until Christ has taken captive all His captives, we are “strangers and aliens on earth,” captives in a foreign land. As C.S. Lewis writes, “We are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of he door. . . . But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Someday, God willing, we shall get in (The Weight of Glory).

Finally, two recent paintings on “Ikea photographs” of cities — New York’s Brooklyn Bridge is turned upside-down, the city is burning.  It references Revelation 17  about the doom of Babylon, the Great Prostitute (aka the Harlot) — all that is opposed to the Bride of Christ. They (those who follow the Beast) will make her (Babylon the Harlot) desolate and naked and devour her flesh and burn her with fire . . . and the woman that you saw is the great city.

Global City Babel  New York I
New York City – Brooklyn Bridge /Global City Babel  54″ x 32″ oil and wax on archival Ikea photograph.

And London is turned sideways, painted in whites, suggesting the purified bride where the unrighteous deeds are covered by the God who came to take the judgment and wrath of God on himself. This  Vessel makes sins of scarlet “as white as snow.”

Vessel Series  London Yo 38 x 5u are the VesselLondon /Global City Babel  32″ x 54″ oil and wax on B&W Ikea photograph with red bus

Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away (Matthew 24:35), Josh Garrels  sings in  Words Remain.

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The Presentation


The Presentation
36 x 36 oil and charcoal on canvas

The Presentation M
This week my painting titled The Presentation found a home in Arlington, Tennessee. Dallas and Stefanie visited my studio in the River Arts District of Asheville earlier in the month and called to tell me they wanted to purchase it.  This blog is especially for them. It is a brief statement about the painting but also why it came to have poignant significance for me this year.

First a bit about my initial process. I began abstractly using oils and charcoal to make marks. I had no definite plan in mind. When I smeared the charcoal at the top of the painting, an  image of a lamb “appeared.”  Since it was at the top of the painting, it looked to be overseeing or ruling the scene below. This is paradoxical — a lamb that rules.

first washes of oil and charcoal

The lamb that rules is of course the baby Jesus, The Lamb of God,  who was born in Bethlehem. To reference this Incarnation or “taking on flesh,” I needed an image of a baby. My friend Mary (really) obliged me and gave me several old photographs of her baby daughter, Anna.

I sketched this “little lamb” into my piece.

baby cropped

2008 Incarnation studyThe painting remained in this unfinished state for several months. I named it Immanuel — God With Us but it was not finished. Although the babe was descending into time and space, the lamb was too dark and there was no hint of the anticipated sacrifice — the sacrifice of God’s only lamb.

The Old Testament foreshadowed this coming necessary blood redemption. (Leviticus 17:11 — For the life of  the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.) God’s people were commanded to sacrifice a lamb and put its blood on the doors of their homes when the Angel of Death came to take the first born from their Egyptian captors the night of the Passover. And until The Lamb of God came, millions of lambs were slaughtered as sin offerings

lamb detail with redI began adding white to the lamb and adding a hint of red to suggest the coming sacrifice and death. I integrated and subdued the golden background to greys so the lamb and the baby would be focal point in the painting. It was then that I saw the
large golden shape around the lamb emerge. It was the  glorious figure of The Father or a Shepherd standing behind his lamb. He was presenting “The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”

Unanticipated, on January 18th, we began the journey of leaning heavily upon this sacrificial loving Father, who did not withhold his only Son, but sacrificed his “little lamb” to rescue us dying ones. Death is the enemy we all face and fear.

Our son and wife’s baby daughter, Piper Jane, our first beautiful granddaughter, was PRESENTED into her heavenly Father’s presence. Her death completely unexpected and her “home-coming” a terrible departure before she opened her eyes to this world. It has been particularly hard.  We weep with our children in hope that the God who is  “the man of sorrows, acquainted with grief” knows and understands sacrifice and sadness, our God who PRESENTED his ONLY SON.

Dallas and Stefanie, thank you. Only after you committed to purchasing The Presentation did I discover that you are fellow believers and are now praying for our son and daughter in their grieving for Piper Jane. And in God’s providence, we are praying for your friends, David and Christina, who are suffering the same tragedy this very week. God’s ways are so above our ways. We rest in Him. Thank you for praying.

The Presentation  (photo: January 18, 2015) of Piper Jane Bomer

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Daddy (my son) presents his daughter                        The Father presents His Son

The Presentation of Piper Jane              BOMER The  Presentation 36 x 36 The One Who Comes to Us on the Waters of Time

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The Unveiling (Gk: Apocalypse)

The presentation 1 Last year, my ninety-nine-year-old Aunt Lucy gave me sl morris bookher 1928 copy of The Drama of Christianity / An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation by S. L. Morris. She had received it when she joined the church at age twenty. Why in God’s sovereignty was I the recipient of this treasure instead of one of her children?

Unbeknownst to Aunt Lucy, I had just completed a Bible study on Revelation and had been commissioned by my church to paint a summary of redemption — “creation / fall /redemption” — to commemorate thirty years of our pastor Robert Drake’s preaching. Revelation was the subject of my painting called Scrolls Unfurled. (blog post

The Weight of Glory 12 x12 oil and wax on panel BOMERMorris’s book unveiled this Revelation (literally translated The Unveiling from the Greek word for Apocalypse), which necessarily should not be an enigma or confusing if it is a revealing. God lifts the curtain to his dramatic picture book summarizing who Jesus Christ is, –God “who is, who was, and who is to come!”  It is his letter of encouragement to his bride, the church, called to suffer like Christ, “the faithful witness (Gk: martyr) and first born of the dead.”

Morris writes that “the reason for the confusion of thought is that many regard it as a prophetic revelation of the future. Instead, this dramatic prophecy is an “unveiling” of the purposes of God in the Christian Dispensation; the prophetic events that would take place from Christ’s first Advent until his second coming.” (It has been reprinted and I located twelve copies for a study I am now teaching.)

c. Global City Series He Tabernacled Among Us
He Pitched His Tent Among Us (Global City Babel Series) 24 x 32 inches

Morris’s main point is the dramatic structure of the book, styled after the Greek dramas of John’s day. This divine book contains completely perfect symbolism and seven (perfect) visions in the form of seven panoramas (heptads), which cover the entire Christian Dispensation, from Jesus’ birth to His Return.  The panoramas do not occur in historical succession but are a repetition of the same events in new settings from different angles, each augmenting the next. Like a Greek drama, each of the seven panoramas ends with an interlude and choruses about the coming of Christ or the Judgment scene. Common to dramatic structure it contains a prologue (Revelation 1),  parts, acts, scenes, interludes, choruses, plot and counter-plot, temporary defeat and ultimate triumph.

Stoning of Stephen studyThe Apocalypse is the “big picture,” a comprehensive epitome of the whole Bible, God’s story of salvation. This final Word of God was written for the consolation of the saints, the church militant which should expect fierce conflict but anticipate victory.

(right: study for Stoning of Stephen; below: Outside the Camp Series.)

outside the camp I WEBA drama is to be read aloud! The book begins with this command: “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are they who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near” (Rev. 1:3).

3. Bomer, G. Carol - The Last SupperAnd important for not only artists who  attempt to visualize unseen reality but for all who long to see what “eye has not seen,” it is a visual drama! God uses symbols, symbolic images and symbolic numbers. Symbols use familiar things of the natural world to point to the heavenly realm. All of God’s creation is a living revelation of God. To mention a few: animals — Jesus is The Lamb of God and the Lion of Judah; weather — rainbows, earthquakes, wind, and a voice like thunder; colors — white, a symbol of purity; red, a symbol of life, blood and war; and measurements of time and order — twelve, twenty-four, 144,000, forty, and seven, the number of perfect completeness. The seven churches, seven golden lamp stands, seven stars, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven thunders, seven bowls with the seven last plagues, seven eyes of the Lamb, and seven Spirits before the throne, and even seven diadems on the Dragon’s seven (completely evil) heads, reveal that this prophetic Word of God is perfect and complete!

The VineSymbolism was the method of Christ himself for conveying to the minds of His disciples the most impressive spiritual truth as to His person, His mission, and His relation to the individual believer and the church. He said, “I am the true vine,”  “I am the Door,” and “The Alpha and the Omega.”

Explaining the parable of the weeds, he says, “. . . the field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age and the reapers are angels (Matthew 13:36).

The Harvest is the End of the Age and the Reapers are Angels 12 x 12 oil and wax

Mvc-Shachah002f copyAbove:
The Reapers
12 x 12 inches oil and wax

The Seed 36″ x 36″ oil and 23K gold leaf on panel           

The great prophecy of the Old Testament was the first coming of Christ. The great prophecy of the New Testament is the Second Coming. The Apocalypse is the unique interweaving of all the symbols, types, shadows, figures, and fundamental ideas of both Testaments into one comprehensive and final UNVEILING.

Be Lifted Up O Ancient Doors 2

Painting Ancient Doors center panel Door Way to Glory! Ancient DoorsMy installation Be Lifted Up O Ancient Doors references Passover, a lamb’s blood on the  doors, Jesus as The Door, and the triumphal return of the King of Kings who leads his people out of slavery.

All Scripture interprets Scripture. It is God-breathed and reveals Jesus Christ. It is the UNVEILING of His Story from beginning to end.

Another example from the Old Testament is from Ezekiel 9. A scribe is commanded to mark the foreheads of those people belonging to God before he destroys Jerusalem. In Revelation 7 an angel seals the 144,000 “servants of our God on their foreheads” before the other angels are allowed “to harm the earth or the sea or the trees.” Both prophets Ezekiel and Daniel also had visions describing the four living creatures that are repeated in the visions of God’s glory in Revelation.

Ezekiels Vision 1                        Ezekiel’s Vision  12 x 12 inches oil , wax, and text on panel

The second panorama of Revelation is the Opening of the Seven Seals (Revelation 5-6). This vision again reveals how God fulfills his divine plan in the Christian Dispensation — conquering kings (the white horse), war (the red horse), famine (the black horse) and death (the pale horse). Unfortunately in this vision the four horsemen are often separated into an apocalyptic end-times drama (even by Christians). The fifth seal, the prayers of the saints, is equally important in God’s plan and fulfillment of His purposes.

I painted the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse after 9/11 upon the request of a DC gentleman who sought me out and asked me to help him paint this “apocalyptic” scene.  We worked together and as a result I produced two paintings as demonstrations.

Four Horsemen 1    Four Horsemen2with frame
               The Four Horsemen oil on canvas each 24 x 26 with handmade frames

Albrecht Durer‘s Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

I especially like Russian artist  Victor Vasnetsov‘s painting because he shows the white horseman leading the way with his victor’s crown. He also shows the Lamb of God in the heavens above in charge of history overseeing his sovereign plan. Jesus is the victorious King of Psalm 45 and the Rider on the White Horse of Revelation 19 .

1200px-Apocalypse_vasnetsov

I made the assemblage (below) The Great Assize / Day of Judgment long before I read Morris’s book. A copy of a playbill from Richmond, VA 1774 is attached to the back of a discarded medicine cabinet. It begins, “By Command of The King of Kings, and all who love his appearing….The Lord Jesus will be revealed along with his mighty angels.”

The sun-bleached horse vertebrae seemed perfect props for this drama! Inside the Veil  The Unveiling or Apocalyse

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