The other day, I decided to decorate my New Testament folder. I decided to paint a picture of Christ. This is the second time I have done this. Both times I have been impressed by the feelings I have gotten while doing it. It is by far the hardest thing I have ever tried to paint. I feel so inadequate to the task because in getting ready to paint Him, I have to think about what he is and what he means to me.
He is the Son of God. He is my Savior and Redeemer. He was the only perfect person to live on the Earth. My older brother who loved me enough to suffer and die for me so that I could return to be with my Father in Heaven again. I love him and want to follow him with all my heart.
How can I presume to capture even a fraction of this in my painting? I understand very well the stylization of the Iconographer's style. I feel like I can create a symbol which means Christ much better than I can actually represent him. Much of art history really inspires me because so much of the art of the past was created to honor and worship God. As an artist I feel I can learn a great deal about worship from the examples of these earlier religious artists, whether or not they are Christian. Art in the past was often very very expensive and the money alone does honor. Often I think since the time of the Reformation, Protestant (and therefore LDS) churches have frowned the idea of lavish ornamentation. But I think that it is a definite worshipfulness about it, much like the woman who anointed the Lord. Another thing I like about historical religious art is the symbolism. Images like the good shepherd, Peter with the keys, and even the image of the halo allow us to visualize and therefore better understand abstract ideas.
The picture I decided to paint was a very common Early Christian symbol of Christ, that of Christ as the good shepherd. This image I find to be very true to my image of Christ because I often feel him in my life reaching out to me when I feel lost. It is not quite done yet.