My aim in creating this piece was to integrate realistic portraiture into a slightly more conceptual, story-telling composition. I began by photographing my younger sister, who graciously served as my model, to collect reference images for the portraits. I completed the three colored pencil portraits in slightly different color schemes on top of a watercolor background. I then tore the paper, shaped as if the shield protects the figure from the arrows, which I layered over the initial portraits. I used a variety of watercolor techniques to achieve interesting patterns and colors in the outer blue watercolor and added flaming arrows with colored pencil.
When faced with challenging situations or intrusive thoughts brought on by a spiritual attack, we must run to our Defender, Jesus Christ, through whom we have the victory over evil. The girl in this piece is my younger sister, fighting her battle under the shield of faith in Jesus Christ. While she does not walk through life with a medieval helmet, breastplate, or sword in her hand, she faces a tangible battle all the same. The weapons of her warfare guard her spirit and mind rather than her physical body as she diligently arms herself with righteousness, peace, salvation, and faith through prayer. As we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, these battles often come as attacks on our mind, hidden from even our closest family and friends. We must rely on the power of God, who promises repeatedly to be our Refuge and Defender, rather than our own willpower or righteousness to win our battle; therefore, prayer is our avenue to victory! In Ephesians 6:16, Paul instructs us to pray at all times, and amidst an invisible battle, prayer is a choice, a concrete action we can engage in. Yet my sister experiences victory as a process, beginning in a posture of distress and heartfelt, honest cries to God. As she rises to a posture of battle, and finally to victory, the color saturation of her figure increases, symbolizing the Spirit of God coursing through her spiritual veins. In keeping with the invisible nature of spiritual warfare, the only visible piece of armor in my work is the shield of faith, shimmering with the power of God that extinguishes the flaming arrows of the devil. Just as her outward appearance in the piece fails to suggest engagement in war, we often cannot know the battles people around us confront. Yet, with the Lord on our side, we live bathed in the light of His Power and Love, untouchable to the powers of darkness.
Maggie Gregory: modeled as I, the artist, took original photographs of her to use as reference images
Curious? Interested in submitting artwork to our contest? Know someone who might be? Through April 14th, 2022, the Engage Art Contest is open to the whole world! Get your foot in the door by claiming your Artist Page now!