Wood and acrylic inlay, 20” x 12”

From the series "Full to the Brim" from A Sanctified Art.

Scripture reference: Luke 13:31-35

Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem’s intransigence is powerful because you can hear a righteous indignation and a deep anguish. He foreshadows his own execution, but his pain is for the waywardness of his people. This is one of a handful of times Scripture uses feminine, specifically maternal imagery in connection to God (“How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings…”). That, for me, is significant. As a mother, I know what it feels like to watch from a relative distance as a child makes heartbreaking decisions. I didn’t want to illustrate the details of the scene with my piece; I wanted to depict the emotions in it, to somehow capture the heartache of a parent whose children have chosen a destructive path. 

Engaging with this theme has drawn me to wood and water. Here, I’ve moved away from realism and my usual oil paints to a medium with a more graphic quality: wood inlay. I wanted a simple depiction of this very specific pain. I felt an emotion so germane to the human experience had to be anthropomorphized, and because Jesus uses feminine imagery I decided to depict a figure who could be perceived as feminine, but perhaps could also be perceived as masculine or nonbinary. The Parent’s eyes are closed as if they cannot bear to watch what’s happening. The hair radiates to the left, mimicking a mother hen’s wingspan. The teardrop is a clear acrylic inlay with its underside painted blue, and the subtle way it refracts and reflects light is reminiscent of water. 

As I consider the destruction we continue to visit upon each other and all of creation, I imagine God is still grieved. What emotions arise within you when you consider the human condition?