I am beginning the collage process for the story of Jairus’ twelve year old daughter and the woman with the hemorrhage of blood for twelve years. First, I draw out a sketch, in my head or on paper, to get started. It never quite ends up the way I draw it.
Next, I lay down the background for the main characters. I’ve got some marble paper from Italy for the water. I’ve got my newly painted papers for mountainous textures, sky and land. In the story, Jesus has just crossed the sea having just spent time removing a legion of demons from a man in the country of the Gerasenes.
I decide to make Jairus and Jesus bigger than I originally thought I would, so I switched their positions from the way I had my original drawing. Jesus is heading on His way, but He stops for Jairus. I want Jairus in a humble position, bravely asking, begging Jesus to heal his daughter, just as in the original account from the Bible.
“And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” And he went with him.” – Mark 5:21-24
In order to collage Bible stories, I study. I study the Bible, and I listen to the spoken Bible reciting the passage I will collage. I read history of the time period. I listen to sermons on the passage. I read other people’s thoughts on the passage I will collage. I read the passage again, and listen for God to speak with me about the passage. I wait on making the art. I begin to internalize the passage; the Word works on my heart – even before I begin the art.
You can’t just rush into collaging the Bible.
Then, I paint papers, with acrylic paints on watercolor paper, to use in my new book. I have the whole book in my mind’s eye, the colors, the scenes, and the rise and fall of the action. I know it may change as I actually start making the book, but I’ll have a “palette” of colors on paper to work with that the story prompted me to paint.
To be continued as my next story unfolds! I’ll be storying a woman’s tale of being brave. I’m trying to be brave in tackling the whole project!
One of the “tools” in my art suitcase is usually an art book or two, that I have made, to use to tell children, in oral learning cultures, different Bible stories. After sharing God’s heart, His character or one of His amazing attributes, my team and I ask the children to make art in response to the Bible story.
Making the art helps the children to internalize the story, and it may be the only art they will have in their home. I often also give the children a copy of one page from my collaged art book because when I was serving in Ethiopia and teaching Bible stories, one child shared with me, “I will never forget this story because you shared this card with me.”
It is always a joy to spend time with children all over the world, and to teach them the Bible truths using art!