Since Palm Sunday is just around the corner, I only thought it appropriate to highlight one of my art pieces that I did a couple of years ago called “Palm Sunday.” Palm Sunday is officially the beginning of Holy Week in Christian religion and marks the time of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The book of Matthew, Chapter 21 says that ” a very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road. Others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those following kept shouting, ‘Hosanna, to the son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest. ” The donkey that he rode upon was symbolic of peace, thus reflecting the nature and intentions of the ruler himself.
This work was created using oil pastels on drawing paper. Typically I am at war with oil pastels because I’m not always sure how to handle them. However, one fine day back in 2010, we decided to make nice and work together.
I took a simple approach when I did this by just focusing on Jesus riding the donkey. The palm overlaps Jesus as if it were a branch hanging down in front of Him or if someone were waving it before Him. Overall it has a warm, beach-like, almost Caribbean feel. I didn’t expect to go that route but that’s how it ended up. You know how that goes, you have one idea when you start to create something, and then by the time you’re finished, it’s different than what you intended it to be.
I am a fan of Lent season. It’s probably not the most glamorous of all of the holidays, but in my opinion, it is my favorite. Lent is more focused. It’s a time of reflection, a time of sacrifice, and a time of repentance.
Then after that forty-day period comes Easter Sunday, the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. I love that Easter happens around spring where everything is fresh and new and alive. To me it just doesn’t get any better.
Last year I woke up early Wednesday morning and using some chalk pastel, drew a cross draped in purple on drawing paper. It’s a pretty big piece, about 4 feet in length and maybe just under 3 feet wide. It hung on my wall for the entire 40 days. A couple of days ago, I put it back up to usher in the season.
Honestly if you were to ask me what my least favorite holiday would be, it would be Christmas. Yes, this is a pretty bizarre declaration considering I have long accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Trust me, I am glad He was born and really it’s not the season that I dislike, but the nonsensical Bozo-fication that tends to come along with it.
I kid you not, I literally cringe upon the first sighting of a Christmas tree because I sense the level of overwhelm that is to come. First, let’s kick-start the holiday with the perceived absence of Thanksgiving altogether and then launch right into Black Friday where long lines and sparring matches take place over a limited number of sale items on display at retail stores. Then there are the flurry of Christmas activities that seem to take place all at the same time forcing you to split yourself up like an atom. Oh, and can someone please pass the Pepto Bismol so I can stomach these nauseating jewelry commercials that come on at least every ten minutes? I stream my TV shows online and I still can’t escape that stuff!!
In spite of all of this, I fight really hard to keep it all in perspective. I do like to participate in charitable activities because that is what Christmas is all about – sharing and giving and doing acts of kindness for someone else. It represents Jesus to the fullest. I am also grateful for the opportunity to spend quality time with friends and family.
Recently I’ve turned to my art as therapy to help me get through the Christmas season. I chose a candy cane inspired by a widely circulated email that told the story of the candy cane’s origin. So the story goes that the candy cane was created by a Christian candy maker from Indiana who wanted to use the candy to witness about Jesus Christ. He used a lot of symbolism such as the hook shape of the candy cane representing The Good Shepherd, or if turned upside down, the “J” for Jesus. Because the candy cane appeared plain to the candy maker, he added the three small red stripes to represent the scourging of Jesus whereby we are healed. Then he added one large stripe for the blood shed by Christ on the Cross, thus giving us eternal life.
I checked the validity of this story through Snopes.com and Snopes stated that this story is not true. I still liked the idea behind all of this and felt no less inspired to create my own candy cane.
So here it is. It’s a fairly simple drawing. The mediums that I used were the Ink-tense water soluble pencils and my beloved Faber-Castell brush pen for the black outlines. I added the text alternating between the white and red to read, “By His stripes we are healed.”
One other thought that came to me as I was creating this was that like the candy cane, Jesus IS sweet. I would invite you to try Him. Psalm 34:8 says, “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” Personally I don’t think you will be disappointed.