Faith Study


It is the whole sea, a living cell,
or heaven I am passing over, loose as a fish.
I feel beautiful among the grasses,
the filefish and wrasses, drawing upper air
into my watery body,
air that lets me live
and look at the moon’s floor, eye coins,
and mossy conch castles.

From above I am quite ridiculous,
trucking around in shallows,
large, unwanted, overly white,
rigged with a child’s plastic gear.
If I think about my real weight
and the world’s weight,
it is deadly as breathing water.

12" x 12" study for poem

12″ x 12″ study for poem

Several years ago poet, Suzanne Underwood Rhodes and I began to compile a book of her poetry and my paintings. This is one of my small studies from that collaboration. Our book is still in process.
My work continues to deal with issues of faith and the perception we have of our earthly existence. Learning to Breathe is a series of my perception of the immensity of the universe and our place in it. We are vessels, “jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Cor. 4:7).

The One Who Comes To Us On the Waters of Time 
oil and coldwax on panel  12″ x 12″

Adam Belt’s work was featured at  BioLogos Forum.  Mark Sprinkle writes about Mark’s work: ” The cosmic ‘first light’ appears as static on a small television screen set behind the gallery wall and viewed through a cut out in the pattern of a rose window from the Cathedral of St. Denis outside Paris—one of two windows in the sacred space that represent the narratives of Christian beginnings: the Creation and the Genealogy of Christ.”
Echo, 2009    11×11 inches
plywood rose window after South Rose Window
from St. Denis Cathedral, France, depicting the story
of Genesis, television and television static caused by
cosmic background radiation left over from the Big Bang.

It can be seen in this installation called Sites and Sounds, at Here Not There,
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
, 2010

Adam Belt himself talks about this work on this blog.explanation

Adam Belt’s galaxy painting also references the immensity of God’s “spoken” creation. I have been working on similar themes with my vessels in time and space. (see below)

Hubble Ultra Deep Field, 2011
oil on canvas, 47.5 x 47.5 inches
(Sally Yard, Writing for the San Diego Art Prize: “Belt’s most recent work ponders perception within the frame of scientific revelation.  In Hubble Ultra Deep Field of 2011, the artist painstakingly renders in oil glazes the 2004 Hubble image, which is the deepest view of the universe made thus far, reaching back nearly to the Big Bang.  Within the field of the image, both time and space recede, distance measured in billions of light years. Belt’s painting, like the Hubble view, provokes a meditation on the nature of representation. If the Condensation images pit muscular manmade architecture in counterpoise to geological flow, then Echo and Ultra Deep Field reverentially confront primordial energies made visible as light. Insistently material and meticulously crafted, Belt’s works conjure wonder in the face of the ineffable.”

Through the Looking Glass (after the James Webb Space Telescope Light Gathering Mirror), 2011 two-way mirror, mirror, wood, LED lights, 8 x 3.5 x 48 inches

To see this in a museum, look at Adam Belt’s website,

My 40″ x 40″ oil and cold wax painting was finished before I discovered Adam’s work, but the themes are similar. Its title is taken from Michael O’Brien’s novel Island of the World. (My first post also quotes one of his poems in this novel.)
The moon, “God’s sky vessel,” photo was taken a few weeks later from my front window. A metaphor of God’s grace and faithfulness! My vessel is broken.

Vessel Sacrifice web     Moon Vessel setting over Asheville's western sky
“Seek the eternal in the present,
seek the past and the future,
link them with the trajectory of your course,
for you are
you are
you are
you are the vessel.”

(These words are inscribed into the painting below the vessel.)

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