A blank canvas is inspirational. And so is a blank wall. These two walls that flank the baptismal pool at our church just call out for artwork. We have used these walls to hang silk flowers and now use this space for seasonal banners. I imagined what would look good there, not distract from the pulpit but draw attention to the messenger and the message, and tie in the existing elements.
The sanctuary is decorated with stained glass windows on the side walls and the woodwork near the pulpit features a grapevine motif. Perfect: One of my favorite sermons of Jesus is John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches.”
Painting a parable is unnecessary. The illustration has already been described by the greatest Teacher. But I wanted to show the beauty of the vine, the variety of fruit, the stub of pruning, and overshadow it with the cross.
Here is our stage in 2012.
The stained glass windows along the side walls.
Carved grapevines in the frame of the baptistry.
Grapes also trim the communion table.
After several drafts, here is the final sketch.
These lines resemble the “Two cane Kniffin” system of training grapes. I hope the vines lead your eye to the cross.
Two twin canvases stretched over wood panels. 40″ wide by 60″ high, a pleasant rectangle.
I’ve never rolled on flat black but this will make a nice background.
The primed canvas accepted the paint perfectly.
I used acrylic paints with “heavy body” for texture.
Test painting: put the colors on the black or surround with black?
Chalk sketch before painting.
When this tape is removed it will leave behind a clean, straight line.
The first grapes were too purple.
Vine with fruit first, then adding squares.
Working the squares around the vine.
At this point I think the squares are way too noisy and will distract from the vine.
Paint over and eliminate the first squares.
Focus on the vine and add more foliage.. This angled lighting reveals the “ghosts” of squares painted over with flat black.
The grapes went through many color phases.
Our curious cat visited this painting when it was on the floor.
Now to use the colored rectangles as a visual frame.
1×3’s will serve as a mount for the frame.
For the frame I started with a rough-sawn oak board.
I ripped the board into strips, then planed them smooth.
Other frame parts I routed.
First rough layout.
Then rout more parts to accept the oak strips.
Glued, stained, mounted.
These will have a flat bottom to resemble a window sill.
The existing woodwork is on top. I had to stain the wood gray first, then apply amber lacquer over it to get close.
Mistake: I put one coat of Danish oil over the lacquer but it would not dry. I had to remove it with mineral spirits.
Hand-rubbed urethane gives it a semi-gloss finish.
Now some finishing touches.
Cutting the “French cleats”. One half attaches to the wall, the other to the painting.
After locating a couple of studs, driving in 3 1/2″ screws.
Level and square.
Done. I will attach another trim piece beneath the window sill to complete the trim.