Jesus Prays in the Garden of Gethsemane

Stations of The Cross

John 7 v 38 "Out of the believer's heart shall flow rivers of living water."

So last year I had devised a 40 day art journalling course, designed to enable us to use art to echo the spiritual experience Jesus had in the wilderness. I have left the course on this blog beginning here: Illumina 40 – Day 1

So if you didn’t get a chance to do it last year, grab a journal/notebook, a pen and give it a go…..

This year, I am working with the creative people at Holy WMM to put together a Stations of the Cross exhibition (an idea I experienced through Stillpoint when we were living in Oxford)  I found the process of contributing to the exhibition and experiencing other people’s creative responses more than inspiring…..so I thought I would try something similar here and hopefully encourage a similar experience!

We’ll be starting next week, but in the meantime I thought I would share my contribution to the 2009 Stillpoint Stations of the Cross exhibition:

Jesus Prays in the Garden of GethsemaneThis is what a wrote in 2009 about this painting:

“Station 2 – Jesus Prays in the Garden of Gethsemane

Title: Anguish

Short description: How does it feel to know your death is inevitable?

The more I thought about this station, the more I felt a sense of helplessness. My mind didn’t seem to allow me to settle on just that helpless image of loneliness and betrayal as the disciples fall asleep for a third time. I wanted to convey the concept that there is hope, but as people who know the outcome of the Easter story, it is a hope that only we know. Those involved in the story don’t have access to the hope that we as the reader do. So I arrived at the idea of painting a symbol of “new life” or resurrection on the canvas first, to lie underneath the final image. Over the top I planned to then paint an image of Jesus. An image that allows us to see him as if we have stayed awake and kept watch.

I chose a butterfly as a resurrection image, the image to paint underneath the final image. The butterfly image was good to paint it – familiar, happy. Then I began to paint the image of a man who is deeply distressed, praying for his life. It was an easy image to paint in some ways, but also unsatisfying. I knew that the image would not be one that I would be pleased with. Yes, I’m happy with the way the image has come out – very dramatic – but it’s not pretty. It has taken me a while to decide to leave it here, sort of raw. It hasn’t got decorative edges, or grass or trees, the usual things you’d see in a garden. Those things seemed to dissolve as I considered what was really important in the station I was painting. I seemed to go through a process of deconstruction. I took out the disciples and put the viewer in their position. But unlike the story in the bible, I put us in a position bowing down in front of Jesus, where we can reach out and touch his hand.

I felt like the image came into my head and I couldn’t replace it with anything else. I had to paint it. It didn’t look exactly as I imagined but I was pleased that the butterfly’s wings, unintentionally, rested on Jesus shoulders, where the cross would lay.

…and I have realised by painting this image, that I can’t let go of hope.”

When lent begins, I’ll be posting the resources we use to prepare the Stations of the Cross exhibition, and also (if I am organised enough!) my pieces as they take shape…..See you next week!

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