RestoArts Advent Display
Advent Week 1
Artist: Carolyn Wright
Such vast, intangible concepts. How can they be conveyed through a physical painting?
My initial expectation was that my painting would be abstract, to convey abstract ideas. Yet as I began to dig into the scriptures we are using this Advent, meditating on them in preparation for beginning the work, the intangible began to take specific shape. The image of a mountain split in two from Zechariah 14 was the basis for the split across the painting, a chasm representing the many painful aspects of our human existence.
Then, in the passage from Luke 21, Jesus reminds his disciples about the truth of His creation: “Look at the fig tree” — look, it will sprout again, look! Pay attention! We can see God’s hand throughout creation, constantly renewing it. To me, that renewal, that growth is the visual representation of hope. And so, across that chasm of despair I painted the golden branch of a fig tree, its leaves unfurling, its fruit beginning to sprout, a manifestation of hope.
My prayer is that this image will remind and reassure each of us of God’s presence in the midst of pain and loss, of His redeeming power, and of the hope we have in Him.
Advent Week 2
Artist: Emily Liberto
Light breaking through the darkness serves as the concept behind this painting.
The gold references the flame of a candle, symbolizing the season of Advent during which we anticipate and reflect on the birth of Jesus as “the salvation of God” (John 3:6).
The intersecting lines reference the cross through which Jesus defeated darkness.
Jesus said in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Advent Week 3
Artist: Kirsten Ashey
When I was picked to paint the “joy” piece I laughed to myself. And not in the happy excited way, in the Sarah hearing that she is going to have a son at 90 years old kind of way. This task was challenging for me. At one point I literally threw my paintbrush across the room and said some words that would definitely not be categorized under joyful. The colors were wrong, I didn’t know where it was going, or what I was doing.
The truth was that it didn’t have anything to do with the task, but my circumstances outside of it resembled heavy rain clouds much more than a bright and sunny morning. So I added some clouds. And I remembered this hymn…
Joyful, Joyful We adore Thee
God of glory, Lord of love
Hearts unfold like flowers before thee
Opening to the sun above
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness
Drive the dark of doubt away
Giver of immortal gladness
Fill us with the light of day
Melt the clouds. Drive the dark. Fill us with the light of day.
Such action-packed words. I tend to think of the Joy of the Lord as a gift I receive. The morning that comes after the night, but I think it’s more than that. I think it’s God breaking through the night. His Power and Provision and Presence DRIVING the dark away. Bringing forth a new day, where there is no night.
I think Zechariah is inviting us to shout with joy for who God is in the midst of darkness. That he … “rejoices over us with gladness, quiets us with His love, and exults over us with loud singing…” And shouts of hopeful joy for the day when there will be no more sadness, or tears, or pain.
Advent Week 4
Artist: Erica Chapman
For this Advent assignment, I took inspiration from local DC artist Alma Thomas, to whom I was introduced through an “Art Break” led by Jan Haugen. Alma Thomas, a mid-century local African American artist is receiving renewed attention (and even has a current exhibition at the Phillips Collection – Everything is Beautiful). Ms. Thomas seemed a poignant connection particularly as Restoration prays and asks how we can serve our community in racial justice issues.
The paint strokes on the canvas are mere dabs and evoke staccato moments of illumination and color. However, the acrylic dabs accumulate vertically filling the circle with steady strobes of yellows and even sparkling gold to echo moments of hope’s arrival. The color changes create a rhythm with some lines constant with the color unbroken, some undulate, and some transition in fractions. Hope sustains us with reminders of truth and the trustworthiness of God’s promises that are being fulfilled. A process that grows faith and soul strength, what scripture calls perseverance.
…to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. (1 Peter 1:5-6)
Advent is a helpful season for me, where the real broken places of the world, my life, and my family are met with the stunning reality that God’s promises were fulfilled in Christ. We wait not in vain.