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Psalm 128

Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in His ways.

You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table.

Thus is the man blessed who fears the LORD.

May the LORD bless you from Zion all the days of your life; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem, and may you live to see your children’s children.

Peace be upon Israel.

Today’s Sunday Scripture is a bit of a hybrid post. It’s both a Scripture post and a Gallery Feature post.

The above painting is one that I completed in 2015… and have been meaning to post about it ever since. Oops. I’ve always loved the aesthetic of illuminated manuscripts and have been fascinated by the intricate, painstaking detail that goes into their design. And I really wanted to replicate the style in a piece of my own. I was very pleased with the result!

Even sitting here, four years later, with many, many more paintings under my belt since I completed this one, I can honestly say that this is probably the most tedious piece I’ve ever done. The designing alone was incredibly time consuming, those intricate borders are insane, but then painting them… when you’re working in acrylic washes, it means layering your work, which means painting everything at least two, three, maybe even four times to build up the opacity. Yeah, it was a LOT of work.

There are design details that I would change if I were replicating this piece now. I don’t think all of my colour choices were spot on, and that in certain areas the piece is lacking the proper contrast. That “B”…. should have reversed the colours, something that I debated endlessly at the time. But overall, I think this piece is lovely!

Here’s a few photos of the painting process, nothing too in depth this time, but hopefully interesting to look at.

December 14, 2014

This is my final design transferred to the canvas paper — you can see that this is before I committed to the little lamb in the lower right-hand corner. After writing out the verse, there was too much free space in that corner and I couldn’t decide what to do with it. Here I’ve digitally mocked up how it would look with a repeat of the upper corner’s filigree detail. But I didn’t like it as it’s still not filling enough of the space. As we continue on, you’ll see that my idea for the lamb doesn’t come until the very end.

Here’s an illuminated manuscript border sample that I found in my research. I liked it so much that I modified it for use in my own piece!

March 5, 2015

I really wanted to try and shade most of my lines with this piece, as opposed to painting hard, defining lines on everything. This made it so much more tedious.

March 5, 2015 ~ I prefer to work on smooth surfaces, which this is, but you can still see that there’s a lot of texture showing through the paint. Not a fan of texture under my paint, and this is quite minimal, but it made for a cool photo…

March 7, 2015

April 4, 2015

I was really happy with it at this point. But, this was meant to be an homage to the classic illuminated manuscript art of old, and so I felt that this didn’t look old enough. I wanted to add some shadowing to the background to give it a more antique feel, and just to hopefully change the dimension a bit.

August 15, 2015

August 25, 2015

August 26, 2015

At this point, the piece is pretty much “done” — except for that bottom corner, which I still couldn’t decide what to do with, despite the fact that it had now been 8+ months since I started…

August 26, 2015 ~ Details

August 26, 2015 ~ Details

August 26, 2015 ~ Details

September 2, 2015

Finally, inspiration struck, and I drew this little lamb, who filled the space perfectly. I had also been looking for a way to cite what scripture was featured in the piece, and adding a sash to the lamb that says “Psalm 128” seemed like a lovely solution.

Since I was keeping this piece, I wanted to frame it. Some artwork benefits from a matte, while others do not. I’m always telling clients to be open to trying their paintings both ways. I design a good majority of my pieces so that they don’t need a matte, but there are times when one can really enhance the piece. Like this one. I painted the matte with a faux tanned leather finish, which I think really sets off the antiquing of my background beautifully.

September 7, 2015

I also like to tell people not to waste money on custom framing. You can find decent frames at pretty much any big box store, and in fact, I picked up this black frame for $4 at the local Dollarama. This is a very plain frame, but if you hunt around, you can find really nice frames for decent money. Framing is NOT difficult to do, you really don’t need to pay a “professional” to do it for you, I promise!

One final thought on the scripture portion of today’s post: Many people, including fellow Christians, will tell you that you don’t need to fear God. And that is quite possibly the worst, most detrimental advice that you could give another person. Everyone should fear God. And respect God. Is God not Truth? And does the Bible not say that the Truth shows no favouritism? The Truth made things to function a certain way, “truths”, small ‘t’, and whether you’re a Christian, an atheist, an adult or a child, those truths are unchanging and applicable to you. Fire will burn you. That’s a “truth”. And it doesn’t matter who you are, or what you do/don’t believe, if you put your hand in the fire, the fire will burn you. Is that God being “mean”? Absolutely not. The Truth shows no favouritism whatsoever. And we aren’t God. We don’t get to change the rules or the laws of life.

And to those who get too hung up on the idea of God being love, who preach this message of no fear, never forget Matthew 10:28: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” The spirit of Truth is Love, but love for what? Love for the Truth. And love preaches that Jesus is Lord.

We don’t have to fear God? Believe and spread that corrupt message at your own peril.

The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.

~ Proverbs 19:23