I began looking at artist videos of "live" paintings. Some common elements were limiting the subject matter to Christ's portrait and to do a value study, painting with blacks, whites, and grays. Finally, many of the styles were more abstract, loosely painted. I took these cues, then for weeks practiced at home. I would start the "timer" and see how far I could get. As I practiced over the weeks, I began to fall more comfortably and reliably back to Drawing 101. I would quickly define the intense blacks and whites, then "work out" or emerge the grays. I learned that I do this when photographing black and white too. I seek out "hot" or overexposed subject matter to really grab the contrast. To complete the painting, I loosely painted the crown of thorns and added texture. It just felt like it was "tight" and needed some looseness tied in. At this point, I would reach the end of the painting time frame but most often, I would feel like, "Hey, I just got started." But paradoxically, I just wanted to paint over the whole thing and start anew again.
For my first "go" at live painting, I felt remarkably comfortable about it. I simply set my easel and supplies up, then went to painting. It kind of feels like living into Christ. It's a daily dying of sorts. You lift up the brush, put something to the canvas. Sometimes its good, sometimes not so good. You just pray to keep going in His grace. Each day builds like a rolling stone. Not easier or harder, just knowing each day is putting myself aside so that God can reveal His path for me. All of this hasn't made sense for me but I'm so happy to accept it. I've heard it called an "unmerited favor."
Don't we often reflect back on our journey to see that we wouldn't have ever guessed those choices or steps, but wouldn't have it any other way? His grace has opened up so many possibilities in my life. If He can do this for a confused, analytical, yet artistic self like me, what could He do for you? God has already accept you and me. My prayer is to accept this free grace because I can never earn God's favor, it is his gift, Batman. I'll close with Robin saying, "The way we get into these scrapes and get out of them, it's almost as though someone was dreaming up these situations; guiding our destiny."