THIRTY DAYS OF THANKS AND GIVING.
DAY 20: GUESSING WITHOUT GESSO
I stayed in “empty nest denial” for my son’s first three years of college. Over the summer, I finally turned his childhood bedroom into an Art Studio. After a twenty-one year hiatus, I’ve started painting again.
I like to paint scenery and animals but not from memory. I copy a picture that I’ve found or taken. I paint with oils or acrylics on stretched canvas. When I was in high school, the students in shop class would build frames for the Art students. We had rolls of “raw” canvas that the students would stretch over and fasten to the frames. The raw canvas had a rough woven texture and was very absorbent so it needed to be primed. In the art world, we use a primer called “gesso”. It’s part glue, part paint and it makes the canvas smooth and manageable.
I never know how my painting will ultimately compare to the picture I’m using. I start with a vision but it really is an organic process. For each stage of the painting, I face unknowns that have to be worked through. I have to blend colors, choose brushes, and modify the consistency of the paint. The one thing that always yields the same exact result is the gesso. It tames the texture and smooths the surface of my canvas, providing a better chance of achieving the desired effect.
The gesso reminds me of determining God’s will for my life. I can approach the unknown with no preparation, or I can layer the raw textures of my journey with primer. I have always had the answer to “What is your will, Lord?”. It’s in the Bible. The Word of God is the primer for possibilities and problems. It frustrates me how simple that sounds but that IS where I find the answer to “what is your will?”. It may not be the answer I want or expect to hear, but it’s the truth.
The truest picture of God’s will is found when we lay it on the foundation of His Word. I’m thankful for the gesso that primes my painting. I’m thankful for God’s Word that primes my path as I walk in faith. If you’re questioning what’s next in your walk, there’s a beginning point that breaks down God’s will into simply loving God and loving others. Jesus gave this instruction when addressing the scribes who sought the greatest commandment:
“… you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Love God. Love others.