Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Lessons From Moses at the Sea: Dealing with Crisis

     I've continued with the second and some third layer fill. Detail is missing at this point and will be painted over the sealed surface as will the glazing.

     At this point, because the technical information will mostly be repetition, I want to address some of the theology and faith for living message from this piece. Part of the beauty of the Bible is how it can shed light into and relate so personally with our world. It deals with the raw issues of life and reveals a pattern of God's dealing with His people (all believers in the Messiah/Christ).
     This particular story comes from chapter 14 of Exodus and is set up by the dramatic deliverance of the Hebrews from their captivity at the hands of Pharaoh. The plagues have already taken place, the first Passover has been observed, and the Hebrews have begun their exodus out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. However, at this juncture there was a most disturbing crisis of faith for Moses and his people.

More 2nd and 3rd layer fill with texture and
cross structural combing. At this point you can
see how the original squirt line is being buried.
     God lead them with a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night. But He lead them to the edge of the Red Sea (no, not the Sea of Reeds!) and turned the pillar of cloud/fire behind them to act as a barrier to the pursuing army of the Egyptians. Add to that the mountains that blocked the people off from any escape and you've got a picture of the dilemma.
     I took the liberty to show Joshua and some of the levite guards protecting Moses from the angry mob while Moses is franticly considering his options.
     Freeze it right there! Can you relate at all to such a situation? Have you ever felt trapped; hemmed in on all sides with no way out? You've questioned the promises of God and even His character. Yes, God lead you into this crisis situation! But how could He do that to me? I thought that God loved me! Why would He deliver me from a horrible life of bondage and then throw me into something even worse?
     Wow, doesn't sound like your best life now! Beyond corrupted TV preachers, running to 1 Corinthians 10:13 doesn't do any good either. What I think is "too much" is never the same as what God thinks is just right to produce in me mature faith and Christ-likeness. In fact, we should expect to struggle through such times of trial (1 Peter 4:12) and discipline (Hebrews 12:4-11); it's the only way that lasting fruit will be produced through us (John 15:2f).
     (to be continued...)

A Closing Word on the Process
     After the final layers are added and dry, the surface must be carefully sanded down to reveal that original squirt line. Of course, there's a danger of sanding too much and going down to the prime coat or worse yet, the wood support. I did the former in a small section of the sky above the mountains and had to attempt a patch job (won't matter too much there due to the darker tones).
     I also wanted to show a side by side contrast between that sanded surface to the left and the sealed surface to the right. The polycrylic not only protects the finished piece from UV rays, but it intensifies the colors in the plaster. Most importantly, that poly seal will allow for application of either acrylic or oil paint if any detail or glazing is desired on such a piece. Without sealing in some way, the paint will just flake off in the years to come...as artists in the Middle Ages discovered (the traditional compound for sealing the plaster surface in preparation for oil paint was made up of 1/3 linseed oil, 1/3 turpentine, and 1/3 Damar varnish).