I found out in January that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (of which I am a member) was holding an international art competition. Submissions had been open since late Summer sometime, and the final deadline was February 27th. With the holidays and some other things I was working on, I didn’t get started ’til February. By which, I mean I didn’t even start sketching ideas until February.
The theme for the contest is “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus”. With a theme like that, your mind automatically goes to the New Testament. I didn’t want to rehash a scene that has already been done often and probably better. So, I was first thinking about doing the storm on Galilee before Jesus is awakened and title it something about faith before the miracle.
I liked the idea, but wasn’t really feeling it at the time, so after a bit I moved on to something more figurative. I knew I didn’t have time to do something super detailed or extensive. I thought perhaps I could do a simple version of Christ with the Samaritan Woman at the well. The sketch below was for that concept, I just hadn’t drawn the woman.
After some discussion with my mother and sister, I abandoned that idea too. We discussed depicting scenes from other scripture or modern missionary work, but I finally settled in on a scene showing a woman inviting an acquaintance to come listen to Jesus who is disembarking from a boat in the background. It would embrace the theme without having to rehash any of the most popular bible stories.
This is the preliminary sketch:
With the composition decided, two of my sisters posed for reference photos. By that time, I was within a week and a half of the deadline. I went ahead and drew right on my gessoed panel, sealed that with matte medium and got painting.
I didn’t really have time for much more than a first pass at most of the painting. However, there were some areas where I had to come back and tweak—this girl’s face for one. I shared the in progress image on the left on Instagram and quickly realized I wanted to fix some things. Her eye was one of the main things bugging me—I’m glad I adjusted it.
The sequence below also shows how I pretty much had to paint one area and move on. This time constraint made it hard for me to build up the texture that I wanted since I didn’t have time for regular oils to dry before glazing. So, in the lower third I had to paint a blobby liquin mixture that mostly dried by the next day so that I could paint thinly over that and have enough time to glaze over that. Neither my usual nor my favorite way to work.
In the end, I got it done for the deadline. I’m still kind of undecided on how I feel, though. Sometimes I look at it and think “you’re a failure” and other times I think “hey, not bad”. I hope some of you will enjoy it, and we will let the jurors of the competition be the ones to pass final judgment.