Project 3, post 5: We are the antibodies of the church, the soldiers of Christ
Periodically we are treated to the sight of a rainbow stretching wide across the sky, or vivid sunsets of red and pink, purple and blue. During such times, the colors that we typically spot in the landscape of God’s plentiful earth, we can also find high above, beautifully complimenting the pastel sky.
To mimic these stunning moments of symmetry, testaments to the splendor of the Almighty, I began bringing the colors found in the sky and in the foliage of the tree in my on-going piece down into the grassy meadow below.
Note: Painting involves mixing paints to create various colors. Because of this, it is important to stagger the stages of your painting, keeping in mind the paint you wish to use in multiple areas should be carried out in a fashion that does not lend itself to the premature drying-out of your paints.
- First, I redefined the border between the meadow with a simple, thin brown line. Next, I used a matte black to define the roots of the tree, creating shadows. White was added to define highlights and add the illusion of texture and dimension.
- Using the tip of my pinky finger, I smudged the black paint onto the canvas, drawing it out away from the roots, creating depth. I also smudged black along various areas of the grass away from the roots of the tree.
- Again, using the tip of my pinky finger, I smudged teal paint along the outside of the shadows beneath the tree. The dark, teal-gray paint was the same color I used as the base color for the foliage of the tree. Like the black, I carried this color into the broader body of grass.
I observed the many shades of reds and oranges and flecks of yellow which were so vibrant in the sky of the piece.
Keeping in mind that the tree’s broad branches would, in real life, cast a shadow upon the ground below, I plotted areas toward the edges of the canvas that would remain brightly lit from the vibrant sun.
- Using a half-inch wide, flat-faced brush with stiff bristles, I used left to right dragging stroke to punctuate the grassy field with reds and oranges and hints of creamy yellow. The yellow was used to emphasize the most sunlit areas of the landscape.
When painting landscapes, the infusion of darks and lights and various colors can serve to define elevation changes of the earth.
Sprigs of grass can be added to these elevation indicators to further develop the impression of fluctuations in elevation, such as with small mounds or sloping hills, as seen in the example (below) of a different painting.
- Mixing paints, I created five different shades of green, from very light to very dark.
- Using a small, very thin, round-tipped brush, I applied sprigs of grass with brisk strokes upward; starting at the base of the blade of grass and then sweeping upward.
- I also used the green paint to further define the earthen base for the grass. I applied a few random lines, from left to right, and pulls blades of grass out and upward from each.
- Lighter shades of green were used in areas of direct sunlight; darker shades in the shadows.
- I made sure to sporadically group clumps of grass around the roots of the tree to create depth.
I stood back a few feet from the painting and observed the balance of color. Having carried colors from the sky and the dark grayish-teal down into the meadow, I decided to add one last touch.
- Using the same, round brush I had used to apply the vibrant, deep blue “dots” in the foliage of the tree, I carried that color and the dots down into the grass.
- I applied the dots heavily around the base of the tree; then thinned them outward.
The below image shows the painting as completed after the above steps.
As I stood back to take in the piece, at all that I had done thus far, those bright blue dots popped out at me. Those vibrant dots felt as if they were alive; tiny balls of energy, as if the very life source of the meadow and of the grand ol’ tree itself.
As I gazed up my painting I realized that those splendid bits of blue were symbolic embodiments of the souls of Bible-believing, faithful Christians…
Throughout this project – dealing with the need for the body of Christ to reclaim our churches from the grips of apostacy – I have written at length about the need for each one of us to take responsibility for both reading and studying God’s precious Word, and for safeguarding His Word from misapplication and abuse. We must hold tight to sound doctrine.
In this way, each of us has a special role to play: the role of a righteous antibody.
Scattered amongst the branches of the tree and sprinkled in the meadow below, each vibrant blue dot – each dedicated, Bible-believing Christian – acts as an antibody, serving to prohibit the infection of heresy from progressing. If we each do our job, we prevent the disease from running rampant.
For this reason we have a very important task: In essence, we must be missionaries within our own congregations, apostles within our own churches.
We are the antibodies of the church: righteous fighters, salvation’s soldiers.
And, that’s a pretty cool thing indeed!
So, now I wish to close from a few verses from 2 Timothy:
2 Timothy 2New Living Translation (NLT)
A Good Soldier of Christ Jesus
2 Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus. 2 You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.
3 Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.4 Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. 5 And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. 6 And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. 7 Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand all these things.
8 Always remember that Jesus Christ, a descendant of King David, was raised from the dead. This is the Good News I preach. 9 And because I preach this Good News, I am suffering and have been chained like a criminal. But the word of God cannot be chained. 10 So I am willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen.
11 This is a trustworthy saying:
If we die with him,
we will also live with him.
12 If we endure hardship,
we will reign with him.
If we deny him,
he will deny us.
13 If we are unfaithful,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot deny who he is.