As far as my pieces go, “Timbrel and Dance” is my sentimental favorite and is largely responsible for my creative approach to making art. In 2002, this work was created for the cover of our choir concert program and my inspiration was the featured concert piece called “Anthem of Praise,” written by Richard Smallwood.
If you listen to “Anthem of Praise,” the introduction begins with the horns that call your immediate attention to the change in the atmosphere. Enter the violins with their series of runs with brass pulsing with dissonant harmonies creating this “old world” feel. The instrumentals sound almost tempestuous. Then the tenors lead with the vocals and are followed by the altos and sopranos singing, “Praise Him with the timbrel and dance! Praise him with the sound of the trumpet! Praise Him with the psaltery and harp! Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord!” It’s as if the Spirit is moving at a rapid pace from the intense worship of God’s people. Really, it’s an awesome work.
“Timbrel and Dance” had to be alive with color and movement in order to reflect the energy of the anthem. I made the dancers fly high above as they were holding colored fabric, while musicians and singers were uttering songs of praise down below. Penciling the images wasn’t hard but developing the color scheme was another story.
For that, I decided to take the issue to God in prayer. I went upstairs, laid down and closed my eyes and sure enough the Lord gave me what I needed. Immediately I got up and added color to everything except for the background. It made sense to color the background blue since it was referencing the sky, but I thought that I should go against the grain and try something else. By that time, it was getting late, around 11:00 pm. When I couldn’t think of any other background color that would work, I decided to sleep on it.
The next morning, I went with the obvious choice and used blue. I was kind of bent out of shape at first, but after I finished it, I realized that it was the right move.
It wasn’t until three or four years later that I realized that these colors had certain meanings. I was on the internet looking at church banners and happened to find a website that talked about the biblical meaning behind colors. Pink represents the color of right relationships. Orange represents praise. Yellow represents God’s glory. Green represents spiritual life everlasting. And the color blue? It represents the presence of the Holy Spirit!
So, isn’t God SMART? Let’s face it. God is the most creative being of all. His resume includes making the earth from scratch AND making the scratch to make the earth, something that still continues to blow me away. Making “Timbrel and Dance” made me realize that tapping into Him makes creating so much easier and enjoyable.