Today I want to look at a painting by William Bouguereau (1825-1905) called “Compassion.” It is not merely about the death of Jesus, but our response to His death. In my view, the man is demonstrating his love for Jesus. He longs to know Christ and identify with Him in his sufferings. It reminds me of, Romans 6:3-9:
“Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.”
The man also shows the response to his love for Christ. Jesus said, “Take up your cross and follow me.” This man carries his own cross in obedience and love.
It is painted with very subtle, neutral colors. The palette is tans/browns and dusty grey/blues. The Painting has a background, and a foreground (no middle ground). The Composition moves your eyes from the man’s face, up to Christ’s face, and then oval around the two figures. The use of lights and darks, brightness and contrast is very natural and creates a well balanced contrast. The brightest areas are the sky, Jesus’ shoulder, Jesus’ cloth, the horizon sky, and the feet/ground area.
By studying other paintings and techniques we challenge ourselves to become better artists for the Lord. Use your gifts for God’s glory!
Below is an excerpt from the chapter, “33 CATEGORIES OF VISUAL PROPHETIC ART.” Every Christian artist should understand conceptual art!!! It is the backbone of how God speaks through much of our art!!! (If you want to grow in prophetic art, purchase SHADOW PAINTER by Laurie A. Stasi on Amazon.) The excerpt reads as follows:
“#16 CONCEPTUAL ART
God speaks in concepts and parables and these should be included in prophetic art. In the Bible a pile of rocks became a monument to what the Lord has done. The concept behind the pile made it a tribute to the Lord. Rocks themselves mean nothing. In modern conceptual art, it is the concept or meaning that is important in the art or object. I visited a modern art museum and saw a chair that was placed upside down on the floor. Close by was an artist statement, describing what the chair placement represented. The artist’s ideas were the important artistic contribution; the chair was a prop to represent the idea. Encyclopedia Britannica explains conceptual art this way:
“Conceptual art, also called post-object art or art-as-idea, artwork whose medium is an idea (or a concept), usually manipulated by the tools of language and sometimes documented by photography. Its concerns are idea-based rather than formal.” (Britannica)
And Sol LeWitt, famous conceptual artists once said,
“In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. . .The idea becomes a machine that makes the art.” (Sol LeWitt)
Our God is very symbolic in His language to us. Dreams are presented in symbolic ways to make us ponder and engage us to get us thinking. Conceptual art puts a demand on the viewer to think. Why is that chair upside down? What is the artist trying to say? I would love to see galleries and museums filled with conceptual art that has hidden messages from God. Our Father loves word puns; it actually makes Him laugh! He enjoys making us contemplate. Jesus reminded the disciples that the people were, “ever seeing but never perceiving.” He wanted to challenge the disciples to think about and ponder the parables. Conceptual art is under-used in the church; most people don’t even know what it is. What a great opportunity to make them think about the things of God.”
FREE SAMPLE From Chapter 4: “33 Categories of Prophetic Visual Art” Sample of #1 and #2
#1 CREATING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF HOLY SPIRIT
This type of prophetic art is done while painting and we let Holy Spirit direct all choices of paint, strokes, form and colors in the moments we are painting. There are many artists who paint during church services who are expressing prophetic art in this way. This may be done without a vision or image, just letting the Holy Spirit orchestrate the art. The results are abstract and free. They may express; images, emotion, color from heaven or the very heart of God. It is important to allow yourself to feel Holy Spirit’s lead and His anointing, and surrender yourself and your thoughts to allow Him to flow through you. Sometimes, it can be almost trance-like, where you are not conscious of making mental choices of color etc., but are completely led.
In music, this is done with improvisation under the anointing. Many now “sing in the spirit,” hearing a tune and words from heaven and release it in song. This could also be done with rap for those individuals who have their art so fine tuned that they can just flow with rhyming words to the anointing. They are able to creatively release a message from heaven.
#2 A SACRIFICIAL OFFERING OR AN ACT OF WORSHIP
This type of prophetic art is very similar to painting in the spirit, but the intent of the heart is totally engaged in worship. It is a giving mode, not receiving. The final results shouldn’t matter to people around us. It is an offering of worship to God. You may paint from an image from a vision, or it may be free flow of painting in the Spirit. This is the highest form of prophetic art. It is an act of love. This, of course, can be done in music, or any other medium. I prophetically sing in my kitchen while unloading the dishwasher, purely as an offering of worship. Some things we create are for God alone. They are a fragrant worship offering.
The Greek word in the New Testament for worship is “proskyneo.” It can mean to kiss the hand, as a token of reverence. Another meaning is to fall upon the knees and touch our forehead to the ground. We can let our creativity become kisses of adoration and bowing in surrender to Almighty God. We can put our gifts before Him as an offering of love.
I once saw a vision of a pomegranate, and the Lord showed me that it was about intimacy with Him and His desire for me. Soon after this, I was asked to paint at a small worship meeting and felt I needed to paint the pomegranate. I set up in a back corner, which is uncommon. Usually prophetic artists are near the front. But I was not painting this one for the audience to receive a message; I was painting as a gift to the Lord. It was the most incredible time with Jesus. I could not stand; I kept getting rocked by God. I painted pomegranates as my gift to Him, painting in pure love.
David spontaneously danced when the ark was being brought into Jerusalem. His dance was a pure act of worship. He was filled with celebration as the Spirit overcame him with joy.
We can paint in the spirit without any earthly paint. Just use your spiritual eye and reach for heavenly colors and paint in the heavenly realm. This painting is recorded in heavenly galleries. It feels much like play, and the Holy Spirit loves it. You are painting by faith for the Lord. Sometimes we have to learn how to come like a child. This is a good exercise for prophetic art groups to break off rigid thinking and become kids again.
Some art is to draw others into worship. The act of performing the art is a creative form that allows the process itself to become a performance and corporate worship to the Lord. Art can be executed in many creative ways. My husband and I were given tickets to see Trans Siberian Orchestra. They present music with extravagant presentation of: lights, visual images, smoke and fire. It is a wonderful experience in creativity. The way we present worship can be an extravagant experience to glorify the Lord. He is worthy of splendor and spectacular display.
I painted at a women’s worship meeting yesterday and painted this painting. Several months ago my husband and I were in France. We had particular interest in visiting sites where the Huguenots had been martyred. In one of the cities we saw a clothing shop with a rotating mannequin in the window. It wore a white dress that had sketches of dresses pinned to it. I took a photo. I was drawn to it, believing the Lord wanted there to be sketches of churches on it. He also spoke to me the word “trousseau.” It is a dowry, or an outfit of the bride. It can be a hope chest, glory box or its contents. I believe the Lord wants to give the Bride a trousseau. He wants her adorned as the beautiful Church. The fact that the dress was rotating, means to me that there have been seasons when God has given out these beautiful gifts, and it is coming around again!
On our trip we visited many beautiful churches, basilicas, and cathedrals. They are so stunning as they let in colorful light through their stained glass windows. I love the magnificent architectural elements, the gothic arches, the stone carvings and massive wood doors. God wants to bring beauty back to the Bride of Christ. He wants to give her a “hope chest” of blessings, glory and beauty. He wants the very structure of the Church’s spiritual character to be beautiful.
As a side note: the Huguenots were known as being artists and craftsmen.
SHADOW PAINTER is a book to help prophetic artists understand their calling and grow as artists. Chapter 4 includes 33 types of prophetic art. I would like to briefly highlight one of them today. Painting in the Spirit is “painting and letting Holy Spirit direct all choices of paint, strokes, form and colors. There are many artists who paint during church services who are expressing prophetic art in this way. This may be done without a vision or image, just letting the Holy Spirit orchestrate the art. The results are abstract and free.” As you can see, in this specific category, it is not pre-meditated. The object is being a vehicle for the Holy Spirit and His freedom of expression.
For our first discussion artwork, I chose this piece by Jean Schormans. I saw it on a recent trip to Paris. It was a large painting, hung above another large piece, but it caught my husband and my attention. The emotional response was probably what grabbed us first. You have a group of boys, from another generation, being typical boys. There is a ringleader standing confidently with his feet apart, (body language is important!) and the followers. We related to this on many levels, as we run a drug rehab program, you always have the ringleaders and followers. Jesus also was a leader, and had His followers.
Notice the coloring, it is filled with soft gray blues and tans. It has good contrast, with the blacks strongly grounding the main subject. The alley line on the right leads your eye into the piece. It is softy realistic, loosely painted.
Where does your eye go when you view the piece? The composition is simple, so your eye doesn’t travel based just on the composition, but it follows the action. We notice the hands, the eyes and expressions.
You may want to copy this piece and learn from the painting technique, or even just a small study of one of the heads. Enjoy!
Leave your comments on this artwork, I would love to hear from you!
Have you noticed that a lot of prophetic art is very amateur? The message from the Lord may be clear, but the skills of the artist need to be developed. I will address this issue in upcoming posts by sharing a copy of a master work, and then discussing it and leaving it open for comments. When you study art in a good art school, they will have you copy a master work to learn from their style and technique. It is amazing what we can learn from years of study of Rembrandt, Degas, or the line work of Da Vinci by looking closely at their work.
Look for upcoming posts, MASTER MARKS, and grow in your art!!!