A Closer Look: The Cross Series | Pamela Chiasson

pamela chiasson | Artist to Artist, Faith, Reflection & Growth | June 15, 2023

Pamela Chiasson, who created this series of artworks of the cross, has been an exhibiting artist for more than 35 years. With her background in photography, Pamela brings a strong sense of design and composition to her mixed media art. Through vibrant colors, intricate details, and thoughtful symbolism, Pamela's artworks evoke a sense of awe, joy, and contemplation. They serve as reminders of God's promises, His faithfulness, and the transformative power of a personal relationship with Him. In today’s guest post, Pamela shares a closer look at a series she created in 2020: “7 Crosses—7 Weeks.”

Pamela's artworks are not merely visual expressions; they are windows into the artist's soul, her unwavering devotion, and her belief in the transformative power of God's love. They encourage viewers to embrace their faith, find strength amid challenges, and rejoice in the eternal promise that the Cross represents.

"7 Crosses—7 Weeks," series by Pamela Chiasson

I’ve named it the “big pause”—the covid pandemic’s prolonged presence in our world. In 2020, like many others, my business shut down. 

As restrictions were put into place, people were dying, and the future was unclear, I began questioning, “What will I do?” I thought, “This is crazy—I can’t shut down my business!” 

But I did. 

All the “what-ifs” were way too big for me at that moment. The whole world was being shaken and turned around, fear and uncertainty washed over most of us, and the magnitude of the experience was overwhelming. 

At that point, I had to make a choice. I chose—quite consciously—my faith over my fear. And just like that, I knew this series of work would be about the Cross.

I spent seven weeks painting during an intensely creative three months near the pandemic's beginning. I was in isolation but wasn’t alone—I was creating something beautiful with God.

What an inspiring time to fall apart, grow through what was before me, and be built back up. In response to the “big pause,” I created this body of work, a series of seven artworks titled “7 Crosses—7 Weeks.” These mixed-media collages are each on a 30'x48 canvas. Each artwork explores a related, distinct layer of faith. 

#1: The Forever Relationship

“The Forever Relationship,” the first artwork in the series, explores the nature of our relationship with God. God loves everyone on this earth. My artwork explores the truth that our relationship with God is the one (and only!) relationship that endures forever through the sacrifice of his Son, Christ Jesus.

Forever Relationship by Pamela Chiasson
Forever Relationship by Pamela Chiasson

Elements of “The Forever Relationship”

  • Cross: The Cross fills the artwork, yet it is de-emphasized. The fluid white texture represents the river of life flowing through and behind everything. 
  • Feathers: The artwork’s center is the circle of feathers. I was drawn to the imagery of feathers as an emblem of protection, just as feathers protect birds. These feathers are made from Bible pages and paper—the foundation of truth. The bright colors and patterns draw the eye. No two feathers are alike, reflecting our unique individuality. 
  • Circle: I arranged these feathers in a circle, representing the cycles of life and completion.  

#2: The Radiance of Strength

“The Radiance of Strength” expresses the grounding of our identity in Christ Jesus. It conveys the idea that God grants strength to His children and that all things are possible through Him! The radiant light Christ places in us is a source of power and a testimony for others.

"The Radiance of Strength" by Pamela Chiasson
"The Radiance of Strength" by Pamela Chiasson

Elements of “The Radiance of Strength”

  • Circles: Circles again represent cycles of life and completion. In this artwork, I’ve used circles to create the form of the Cross. There are 5 circles horizontally and 5 vertically. The number 5 represents God’s Grace. Each circle is made up of 3 concentric circles. The inner circles form a core, showing the source of our strength—the One who created us to be His children. The outer circles symbolize the promise of divine protection. 
  • Leaves: 8 sets of leaves ring the largest circle at the center of the Cross. These leaves represent new birth, renewal, and abounding strength—all echoing the theme of resurrection. I crafted the leaves as triangles. I often use triangles in my work to symbolize divine order, the Holy Trinity, and the dynamic nature of our relationship with God. They also reflect the balance of our human nature—body, soul, and spirit. 
  • Crowned Woman: The woman at the center of the Cross represents all of humanity. A crown of beauty adorns her head, signifying how God perceives His children. 

The verse of the song inscribed on the base of the woman reads, "Gather with the Saints at the river that flows by the throne of God… Amen," adding an additional layer of spiritual depth and memory to the piece.

#3: The Divine Exchange

The third artwork in my “7 Crosses—7 Weeks” series, “The Divine Exchange,” conveys that Jesus willingly sacrificed His life, taking on our deaths, so that we can receive His eternal life. This concept is profound, and viewers are invited to explore its significance and meaning.

"The Divine Exchange" artwork encapsulates the transformative power of Christ's sacrifice, the beauty of redemption, and the invitation to experience a deep and loving relationship with God. As I created this piece, I held in mind John 17:22 and its idea of divine glory being passed along: "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them."

"The Divine Exchange" by Pamela Chiasson
"The Divine Exchange" by Pamela Chiasson

Elements of “The Divine Exchange” 

  • Feathers: The center of this artwork is a circle of feathers crafted from Bible pages, serving as the foundation of truth. These feathers represent who God says we are and who He reveals Himself to be, evoking a sense of praise and adoration. 
  • The number 3: Represents The Holy Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—a divine union integral to the Christian faith.
  • The number 4: Carries multiple symbolic meanings.
    • 4 Large Feathers symbolize God's perfect creation, resonating with every element of creation.
    • The four Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—offer essential narratives about Jesus's life and teachings.
    • The Hebrew name for God is JHVH—4 letters, 4 consonant sounds.
    • God's creation encompasses four fundamental elements: earth, air, fire, and water.
    • The four cardinal points—North, South, East, and West—depict significant directions on the planet.
    • Four seasons—spring, summer, winter, and fall—display God's majestic handiwork in the natural world.
    • The cross has four points—symbolizing the price of salvation.
  • Each of the four large feathers showcases three circles—representing the Holy Trinity and emphasizing the divine nature of the artwork.
  • 20 small feathers—20 is a symbolic number of redemption
  • 4 sets of 5 feathers—5 is the number for Grace
  • 24 feathers in total reflect the presence of the 24 elders who worship around Heaven's throne.
  • The color Red: Symbolizes the blood of the Lamb, representing Jesus's sacrificial death and the redemption it offers.
  • Movement: The cascading waterfall movement in the background represents that in Christ, we find the river of life in ourselves, which is fluid and moving. We are held by God’s love and grace amid uncertainty and turbulence.
  • Water imagery: Ocean, lake, waterfall, rain, and river—invites us to synchronize with its rhythm, experiencing the peace and renewal it brings our weary souls. God's calming peace, the Spirit of living water, washes over us, offering hope, joy, and a profound relationship based on love.

#4: Promise Keeper

The “Promise Keeper” artwork is a poignant expression of the unshakable truth that God faithfully keeps His promises for everything and everyone.

"Promise Keeper" by Pamela Chiasson
"Promise Keeper" by Pamela Chiasson

Elements of “Promise Keeper”

  • Brokenness: In "Promise Keeper," the artwork speaks to the shattered moments of our lives and reminds us that God never abandons us. He remains by our side, fighting for us. It also celebrates the transformative power of the Cross, which carries our brokenness, pain, and shattered expectations. As we lay them upon the Cross, God works to create beauty from our brokenness. 
  • Circles: The circles within the artwork symbolize individuals, our communities, and the world, all touched by brokenness and needing restoration. By surrendering to our Promise Keeper, we discover a newfound strength that was previously unknown. It is through this surrender that beauty emerges as restoration unfolds.

In His abundant grace, "Promise Keeper" offers a profound message of hope and reassurance, reminding viewers that God's promises endure and His restorative work brings beauty from the ashes of brokenness.

#5: Hope Defined

"Hope Defined" embodies the profound truth that the Cross represents the essence of hope.

"Hope Defined" by Pamela Chiasson
"Hope Defined" by Pamela Chiasson

Drawing inspiration from Colossians 1:27, this artwork reminds us of the glorious riches of the mystery revealed to all, that Christ resides within us, becoming the hope of glory. Through the Cross, this transformative power of hope unfolds, permeating our lives and illuminating our path.

God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Colossians 1:27

In Romans 15:13, we are encouraged by the promise that the God of hope fills us with joy and peace as we place our trust in Him. As we surrender ourselves to His divine guidance, our hearts overflow with hope, empowered by the Holy Spirit working within us.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

Through artistic expression, "Hope Defined" invites viewers to meditate on the significance of the Cross as the ultimate symbol of hope. It serves as a visual reminder of the transformative and life-giving power that emanates from Christ within us, igniting joy, peace, and an abundance of hope. In a world often marred by uncertainties, "Hope Defined" is a testament to the unwavering promise of God's presence and the hope that springs eternal through the Cross.

#6: Expression of Glory

"Expression of Glory" is an artwork bursting with vibrant colors, a joyful celebration that captures what the Cross means to me. Through a kaleidoscope of brilliant hues, the artwork radiates pure joy, uplifting the body, soul, and spirit.

Inspired by Psalm 16:11, the artwork reflects the profound experience of being in God's presence. It is a testament to the path of life that He illuminates, guiding us toward eternal life. As I contemplate the Cross, I’led with an overflowing sense of joy, and this joy finds expression in the vivid palette of colors on this canvas.

You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.

Psalm 16:11
"Expression of Glory" by Pamela Chiasson
"Expression of Glory" by Pamela Chiasson

"Expression of Glory" invites viewers to embrace the power of color and its ability to evoke emotions and stir the soul. Each colorful shape is actually a paint skin that dried on a palette, some left over from previous projects and some created just for this one. I peeled off these skins and glued them down here within the shape of the cross. Each hue is carefully chosen to convey the vitality and delight of knowing God's presence. It is a visual symphony of happiness, evoking smiles and an uplifted spirit in those who engage with the artwork.

As viewers immerse themselves in the radiant colors of "Expression of Glory," they are invited to reflect on their encounters with the divine and the profound joy that springs forth in God's presence. It serves as a vivid reminder that there is abundant joy in His embrace. Through this colorful celebration, the artwork encapsulates my journey of faith, allowing viewers to experience a glimpse of the transformative power and everlasting joy found in the Cross.

#7: Shield of My Faith

"Shield of My Faith" is a vibrant and pure celebration of my deep faith and the profound significance of the Cross. It is an artwork that encompasses multiple elements, each symbolizing essential aspects of the artist's spiritual journey.

The Cross is at the heart of the artwork, representing my belief in Jesus Christ as my Redeemer, Healer, and Shield. It embodies my unwavering faith and serves as a symbol of protection, strength, and hope. The Cross is a powerful expression of God's glory and a testament to His eternal love for humanity.

"Shield of My Faith" by Pamela Chiasson
"Shield of My Faith" by Pamela Chiasson

Elements in “Shield of My Faith”

  • Circle: Signifies the Shield of Faith, encompassing the themes of protection, inclusion, wholeness, and eternity. It represents the cyclical nature of life and the completion found in my faith journey.
  • Cross: Represents a promise and a powerful expression of God's eternal love for humanity.
  • Feathers: Reinforce the theme of protection and divine covering. They represent God's care and watchfulness over His children. I have incorporated feathers from an old Bible, signifying the importance of God's truth in my life. This symbolism is drawn from Psalm 91:4: "He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings, you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart." 

"Shield of My Faith" is a visual representation of my devotion and an invitation to viewers to reflect on their faith and the significance of the Cross in their lives. It is a bold and joyful expression, celebrating my unwavering trust in God and the transformative power of their relationship with Him. 

These seven artworks by Pamela Chiasson are a profound expression of faith, hope, and the transformative power of the Cross. Each piece carries a unique message, symbolizing different aspects of the artist's spiritual journey and inviting viewers to reflect on their beliefs and experiences. The power of this series as an expression of faith and hope—particularly in contrast to the overpowering worry and fear that defined 2020—is undeniable. 

From "The Radiance of Strength," which illuminates the inherent strength found in Christ, to "The Divine Exchange," which explores Jesus's sacrifice and the abundant life we receive through Him, Pamela's artworks resonate with depth and meaning. They convey a sense of divine presence, love, and restoration that transcends the boundaries of art.

In each piece, Pamela's artistic skill and spiritual connection intertwine, creating a tapestry of beauty, grace, and hope. Whether it's the celebration of faith in "Expression of Glory" or the profound symbolism of protection in "Shield of My Faith," these artworks invite viewers to embark on their spiritual journey to an authentic expression of faith that holds solace, inspiration, and healing.

As we contemplate these artworks, may we be inspired to embrace our own artistic and spiritual journeys, seek restoration and wholeness, and recognize the profound beauty and significance that lies within the enduring power of the Cross.

Pamela Chiasson has been honored twice in the Engage Art Contest, and you can see her artwork in the Engage Art Gallery. “My Shield of Faith” was a Semi-Finalist in the 2020 Engage Art Contest, and “The Wings of Joy and Grace” earned an Honorable Mention in the 2022 Engage Art Contest. Find Pamela at www.pamelachiassonart.com or follow her on social media at www.facebook.com/pamelachiassonart and www.instagram.com/pamelachiassonart

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