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Michael Mize Art Blog

Summer Class

by mize , July 9, 2008—09:42 AM

Topics: Christianity, Drawing, art education, painting, technique

This summer I've been taking a class at the local Univeristy so I can get enough credits to re-certify next January. The class is actually a workshop in drawing, but I know the professor and he was agreeable with allowing me to paint primarily. So in essence I get college credit for doing what I would have been doing in my own studio anyway! The return of deadlines, however, has been a mixed blessing. I obviously work faster, but the stress associated with it is never terribly enjoyable. I'm embarking tonight on another canvas that has to be finished by next Thursday. Yikes!

This painting did mark and change in methodology for me as well. I have always painted opaquely with acrylic, but after reading a book early this summer decided to play around with glazing transparent layers of paint. Suffice to say, I have fallen deeply in love with the rich depth of colors I'm able to achieve working this way. As a result, there has been a slight "loosening" in my rather rigid style that has also been thoroughly enjoyable.

The composition of this painting is inspired by Genesis 22. This has always been a fascinating tale of faith to me, in that, Abraham's obedience to God is enviable.

I struggled with this composition for some time, going through multiple variations of the arrangement of the three figures. There was also a number of elements from the story that I wanted to be sure and include, the hardest of which, was the ram that God ultimately provides for the sacrifice. And to me, that is a key point in the story when Abraham tells Issac in Genesis 22:8 that "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering". Abraham didn't know how, but he trusted that God would provide, and on the basis of that trust, he followed through with his unfortunate instructions.

I wanted this belief that God will always provide a way to be the theme or underling current of the work, and the ram was the obvious symbol of that message. But I just couldn't seem to fit the ram in without the composition getting too crowded. That's when I happened along the idea of letting the beautiful spiral of the ram's horn direct the rhythm of the composition, and lead the eye along the three main figures. The tip of the spiral ends directly in the center of the canvas to allude to the theme of God providing being the central message in the story. The angel's wing help form the spiral as he sweeps in from the left to stop the sacrifice. The angel also gestures to the moon which symbolically suggests God's ominiprescence as he watches these events unfold.



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