I started working on this biblically inspired series of paintings because I wanted to paint something that I felt truly passionate about and share it with others. The wisdom in Proverbs transcends all time and place. What was written thousands of years ago is still completely relevant today. I find that amazing! My hope in painting these is that the viewer is reminded of some basic principles of seeking truth and wisdom, be convicted by it and then live it out with joy. Please contact me if your organization is interested in exhibiting this series of paintings. I would love to share them!
In Chapter 1 of Proverbs, Solomon uses personification to portray the inanimate and abstract idea of wisdom as if it were a woman. He also uses visual imagery to contrast the concept of making wise verses foolish choices and conveys the blessings of gaining wisdom and understanding.
In “Wisdom Personified”, Wisdom is crying aloud in the streets to an absent audience. Her message is being delivered but there is nobody to hear her message. This city could be any modern day, gentrified city. The greyed palette with repetition of the black outlines reinforces the feeling of silence or abandonment of Wisdom’s words. Solomon writes in Proverbs 3:14, she (wisdom) is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. In the painting, her precious wise words are flowing from her mouth in streaks of gold and silver but never find welcoming ears to be heard or heeded.
The Path of Righteousness
In Chapter 4 of Proverbs Solomon tells us to get wisdom at any cost. He says cherish her and she will exalt you, embrace her, and she will honor you. She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown. Solomon also encourages us by telling us that this information is leading us along a straight path. This path of righteousness is like the morning sun shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
The Path of Righteousness represents the outcome of heeding to wisdom, understanding wisdom and applying it in a modern world. The bright sun and the straight path are benefits that will last a lifetime. The man has been symbolically graced with a crown of garland honoring him for his quest of obtaining wisdom. Simply put, he is blessed and very thankful.
The Diligent Son
In Proverbs 10: 4-5 Solomon tells us that lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth. He who gathers crops in the summer is a prudent son but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son. This is one of many examples in Proverbs of praising diligence and hard work while condemning laziness.
In the painting, The Diligent Son is heading off to work as the morning sun casts it glow on a field of vegetables that are ready to pick. He represents those who get knowledge and wisdom in the “harvest” days. He will earn the comfort and prosperity of his diligence. However, the foolish or disgraceful son represented by the young man in the hammock will bear the shame of his laziness when he is old.
Life is Sweet
Verse 17 of Chapter 15 in Proverbs tells us that it is better to have a small serving of vegetables with love than a fattened calf with hatred. The first verse of Chapter 17 says it’s better to have a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.
Life is Sweet reminds us of the value of love. The family members eating around the table in this painting are content with the meager meal of sweet potatoes, salad and bread. The focus is on communication and sharing with each other kind and supportive words. Having the financial means to serve a fatted calf does not guarantee that you will be happy or have love. NOTHING really makes up for a lack of love. When you have love, life is sweet.
The Virtuous Woman
Proverbs 31 gives us a poetic metaphor about a wife with noble (virtuous) character. It says that she brings her husband good all the day of her life She is not afraid of work. She gets up in the morning and gets things done. She is generous with her time and resources and has the grace to help others. She is educated about the world as well as the business world and has confidence in her decisions. She also knows her worth. She takes care of herself spiritually and physically so that she is able to take care of others. Her greatest strength is her wisdom. She is wise to the ways of the world but lives by the wisdom of God and fears the Lord.
In the painting, the virtuous woman is depicted as a fit and active woman happily working at her herb farm while her children are playing in the shade. The driver of the local food bank recognizes her and waves. Another generous donation is ready to be picked up. This painting reminds us that the most important characteristic of a noble wife is honoring the Lord in whatever you do throughout the day. Whether it is supporting your husband, raising your children, running a business, or helping the less fortunate, we should do it all to glorify God.