heART struck-when the artist's work and your heart connect

Affirmation of Faith

My good friend Mike wanted to buy this painting from my Dad but never followed through with the transaction. This huge painting was done in the late 1960’s and has sat on the wall in my mom and dad’s home in Wheaton for a long time. Here’s what my dad wrote about this piece.

This is an acrylic painting, sized 36″ by 48″ and it’s painted on gessoed hardboard.

It was painted in the studio, and based on a previous drawing Barry had done from sketches made while on vacation along the rocky coast of Maine.

While sitting in the sand just below these rocks, Barry suddenly had a moment of “wonder”, wondering how long those rocks had been piled there, AND how long they would stay there. It caused him to realize what a leap of faith we often unconsciously make, that what we see in nature will remain there, the same, unchanged for another age or two.

While painting this picture, Barry added two elements to add to this mystery, maybe even adding a bit of a spiritual overtone to the title.

1. The first addition to the scene was the use of “pure” white to symbolically suggest a visual and spiritual contrast to the darks used in the next step. This was achieved by “washing out” most of the details in the front of the rocks to emphasize their “pure” almost abstracted shapes. What was left was the pure white used to suggest the glare of the sun on the rocks and to “explain” the almost abstracted shadow shapes beneath the rocks.

In the original scene, the area of the lowest and largest rocks was a place where the rocks were partially covered with sand. In the painting, these too lost detail and became pure white, implying, rather than fully defining their shapes.

2. The second addition was the heavy, dense black area above the rocks. This is not just evocative of a stormy, frightening sky, but also is symbolic of how evil seems so often to ‘hold the upper hand’ in our current world.

Artistically, the black and the white areas are both empty, yet suggestive of other things. The painting is an “affirmation of faith” that the positions of good and evil will someday be reversed. Good will ultimatly triumph over evil and the apparent and short term “supremacy” of evil will be replaced by the permanant purity and victory of God.

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