What makes you sit down and start a painting?
Let me say to you firstly, I am an icon artist. A Christian icon is something painted in the presence of God. And my art is certainly that to me. To me sitting with the Holy Spirit, or Jesus, or with the Father is a gift that God has given me. So your question ’ what makes you sit down and start a painting?’ is a good one for me because it is sitting with God that is the essence of the artworks. Sitting in the Presence of God. I spend most of my days in such a place. And sitting with God is a biblical thing – Ephesians 2 v. 6. “and God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms”. It is my prayer life that makes me sit down and start painting. Of course the whole experience is a prayer.
What influences you to make art?
I may sit and sketch a design. Especially then, the influence of the Presence of say the Holy Spirit, or Jesus, is the main ingredient that causes me to make the art. There are different scenes from the Gospel of Christ, namely the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, that run like a golden thread through my work. As I sit around with the Lord God Holy Spirit I may feel drawn to work on different art works I have on the go. So I would say the main influence on my work is the Holy Spirit. The artworks contain illustrative ink work with circles, squares and triangles, symbols, mainly watercolours (used strongly and mixed on the artworks) to create a see-through quality as well as strength. The influence of landscape gives distance and earthiness.
What are your hopes for your art, as individual pieces or as a collection?
As you can see these artworks or icons are a departure from the Orthodox Icons of Russia and Greece. They are a new vision for using art in a modern way. My hope is for Christian centres to have these works of art on their walls. My hope is that God will speak quite clearly through them. When I have collected them for a demonstration or display, an explanation of where they came from is often enlightening for them, although just the title gives people the key to understanding and finding God speaking to them. I would say my hope is for people to find God speaking to them, touching them inside in their spirits.
Do you think you have a particular purpose for your art?
The purpose of my artworks is for people to find God touching them through these windows into the heavenly realms. And for God to speak to people through them.
What processes (mental, emotional, spiritual or technical) do you generally go through to create your art?
The emotional content is the overwhelming feeling and presence coming upon me as I paint. Some colours deeply touch me; purple is Jesus, royal blue is for the Father or as I say “me dad” and yellow is the Holy Spirit. And when I paint I emotionally connect with members of the Trinity. For me this is a spiritual experience. And though my technique is lacking, God makes up for it in colour choice and content and design of works. Before I start painting I pray and then the world disappears and I’m kissed by God and it’s just amazing. This is what people would call a contemplative experience and time and space disappear. I may end up painting deep into the night. The process then is to pray and sit with God and see what comes. At other times, when detail is being done, the process involves concentration, being held by God as I paint. Also ideas are sketched on bits of paper and this will result in the next A1 watercolour.
Would you say your art is an expression, communication, illustration or something else?
The art hopefully communicates the Gospel or truths of God, illustrates heavenly themes, themes from the bible and documents the eye-witness accounts from the four Gospels plus the truths in the New Testament. But I would say my art is an expression of my faith and relationship with God. I do want to communicate what God is saying to me through these works of art. The result of all these art works is a really deep and personal faith with the lovely Holy Spirit and also with “me dad” and of course the Blessed Lord Jesus.
Anything else that is relevant?
For most people the Christian Faith is framed by formal or informal worship. We often find in churches a Liturgy that is man-made or constructed by the church hierarchy. For me I have a freedom, “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty/ freedom” and God is NOT about religion but about relationship. And that is the essence of my Icon work; my relationship with God.
Mick Rose 2013