This is an older post, from instagram September of 2016 that I wanted to share here as not everyone is on insta and this painting meant a lot to me.
We all have our ways of dealing with things. I’ve been working on a series of more spiritual encaustic paintings to try and deal with the shenanigans medical issues the family has been dealt, (cue Oprah: “hereditary angiomas for everyone! “)
While working on the series I decided to explore the layering method of oil painting whereby you build up layer upon transparent layer. It takes time. Each layer has to cure before you can put more paint on. I started this angel in pencil and sanguine studies at the beginning of the year. I did not know where I was going with it visually, but I had the idea in my head.
The painting itself is 4′ x 5′ and is of Saint Michael the Archangel. As I painted over the summer, fresh wounds in our collective humanity were cut. In June, the Pulse nightclub attack happened and Ataturk Airport was bombed. In July, the Nice murder by truck of pedestrians out celebrating Bastille day, the Munich shopping center massacre, and a priest and nun attacked on the altar in Rouen, France. Also in July, the Bataclan attack report came out and if you are patient enough with your high school French, you can read that the attackers castrated their victims and gouged their eyes out. At the same time as all of this, the constant death, bombing, torture, and displacement of people in the Middle East droned on like the undertones of a bagpipe. Each fresh horror changed my painting some. Each new thing over which I had no control, such as my son’s having random seizures at various places around town, or my husband’s multiple and varied medical events, was painted into my picture. Neurosurgeon visits. EEGs. MRIs. ER visits with sometimes good, sometimes terrible doctors.
I messed with it and argued with it. I built him up from bones to muscle to skin. He looked super-naked. Maybe I should have left him alone right here. He needed cover but those abs were WORK.
Saint Michael is in all of the “big gun” religions. They don’t argue that he exists- he just is. He protects, he avenges, he slays Satan. I created this image to represent a moment in his early time, just as Satan is cast out of hell. As Satan is cast away from the Holy One, he grabs Michael by the wing and tries to drag him along. God alone saves Saint Michael. Even the archangel of Heaven had to look to God for help. Even the demon-slaying protector, the badass of the universe gets his power and strength from above and reflects the blazing light of the Lord down to us. I gave my guy a sword.
I hope you like my Saint Michael. He’s a little melodramatic, but he’s been through a lot.