Painting: New Every Morning
This was a quarantine painting. By that, I mean it was completed during the month I spent in my apartment (I think that pretty much sums up April for most of us).
In one sense, this painting should have been easy to finish; it was a commission with a clear idea behind it, and I had nothing but time to work on it. And yet, early in the project, I really struggled to find motivation to paint. Now, this happens sometimes with commissioned works; no matter how interesting the idea is, if I’m not in the same head-space that inspired the project, motivation is something I have to work for (or in spite of.)
At this point, I could wax on about artistic inspiration and the creative process, or I could write a thrilling paragraph or two about how the root issue is quite simply my lack of what one might call “discipline.” But let’s be honest, I don’t want to write about that right now, and you probably don’t want to read it.
“Why then the lead in?” you might ask. All of this rambling will now come to a point: this painting is about a sunrise and a lake and a song of praise to the Lord on a new day, and at the time I was feeling anxious and isolated, wrestling with disappointed hopes, uncertainty over the days ahead, and troubling questions of what God is doing in all of this mess. If I’m honest, I was afraid. Afraid of what this pandemic might take away, who it might take away. Afraid things would never go back to “normal,” and shaken by how quickly the face of the entire world can change.
As I write this three months later, the days ahead are still uncertain, things are far from “normal,” and the possibility of losing someone I love to this virus is looking more plausible each day. Yet today, I still hold onto the same thing that helped me take a deep breath and carry on in that lonely month; the thing that finally helped me to connect with this painting.
I was listening to a David Platt sermon in the bakery, in those early covid days when the whole world seemed to be falling to pieces before our eyes. The sermon was on Matthew 6, called Peace in the Middle of a Pandemic. I found much in that sermon comforting, yet one line resonated so much that it runs through my head almost every day:
“The mercies that God gives today are not designed to carry the burdens that may come tomorrow; tomorrow’s mercies from God will be sufficient for tomorrow’s troubles in the world.“
When my mind has started to run off on a trail of what-ifs and worse case scenarios, this truth has brought it back. You and I don’t have to worry what tomorrow will hold, because when we get there, new mercy will be waiting for us.
And with that, I found the motivation to paint a sunrise.