This is an acrylic painting on deep edge gallery wrap canvas.
How do you paint the unseen, intangible, unknown and infinite? As a visual artist, I most enjoy the challenge of depicting the invisible - abstract themes, mysteries of the universe and feelings and subjects that reflect the things that really matter in life.
I paint to process my thoughts like how some people keep journals. My work is a process of meditation and introspection as well as an exploration of how our world works in relation to the human psyche, what is known as the mundane world and the greater spiritual plane. Since childhood, I’ve always been fascinated by all things mysterious such as science, mythology, ancient history and spirituality. This thirst for understanding connections and the origins of things drives my creative process as a visual artist and writer when it comes to learning about what makes the universe and the people in it tick.
In recent years, I have transitioned from working with the calculated precision of portraiture and realism to more intuitive organic abstractions. I hope my work encourages people to regain their childlike wonder and open-mindedness by relentlessly asking questions, seeing things from different perspectives, finding beauty and gratitude in the “little things” and understanding the importance of always looking beneath the surface to find the truth and happiness.
WORD ON FIRE
My painting titled “Word on Fire” is inspired by the story of Jesus calming a fierce storm at sea while He was in a boat with his disciples, which has been interpreted as a failed attempt by demonic forces to sink the boat and everyone in it before they could complete their mission. However, Jesus has authority over the forces of darkness which He has also given to Christians saying that they have the authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and overcome the enemy in His name.
The tiny figures of two children standing on the rock were inspired by the true story of a class full of preschoolers who miraculously survived a tornado in Kentucky last year while singing “Jesus Loves Me” and “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”. Although the tornado devastated their town and tore the roof off their church, they only room that was not touched by the storm was the one where the children and teachers sought refuge.
This painting represents how the Word of God, referring to both Jesus and the Bible, are our greatest protection against the enemy in spiritual warfare. “Word on Fire” refers to believers using verses of spiritual warfare through the power of the tongue as artillery to wage war against unseen forces. (“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinions raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” - 2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
In this painting, “Word on Fire” also refers to Jesus depicted as a protective parent eagle shining with fire from heaven reminiscent of the Holy Spirit as a light to drive away the darkness. (“Whosoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust. Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” Psalm 91: 1-4)
WHERE TWO OR THREE ARE GATHERED IN HIS NAME
Jesus said in Matthew 18:20. “For where two or more are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them” Two children are joining hands praying and their prayers rise up as incense into heaven as they pray in the middle of a stormy sea with the serpent Leviathan lurking in the deep. “Lord, I cry unto thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry to thee. Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.” (Psalm 141: 1-2) As Leviathan emerges from the dark waters and as he is about to lunge at the children, suddenly, the hand of God opens the heavens with a tunnel of fire and a fiery eagle representing Jesus snatches Leviathan away from them before he realizes what just happened. Leviathan’s scales are purple (for pride) and red for lust (money, power, etc).
THE HAND OF GOD THE FATHER
In the top right corner, the hand of God the Father opening the heavens is inspired by the pillar of fire that protected the Israelites from the Egyptians as they were crossing the Red Sea.
STANDING ON SOLID FAITH / GUARDING THE HEART
Although the children are in the middle of a treacherous environment, they are calm because they are standing on the solid ground of their faith. The rock shaped heart juts out from the waters. Its hard exterior represents the guarding of one’s heart wisely as part of spiritual warfare rather than hardening it. The light in the veins represent the adherence to the light of Truth. With their hands raised toward heaven, the children are surrendering their hearts to God and therefore standing on solid ground.
JESUS SYMBOLIZED BY A FIERY EAGLE
I imagine Jesus is symbolized by the eagle because when hunting a snake, an eagle’s heels can be bruised by the snake’s bite. However, the eagle does not fight the snake on earth, reminiscent of the weapons of warfare not being carnal. The eagle kills a serpent by lifting it in the air where it is helpless after which it drops the snake from a height before finishing it off after the snake crashes to the ground. In this painting, Leviathan the serpent has been defanged as a nod to death losing its sting through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Like a protective parent eagle, Jesus came down to save his children from the enemy by dying on the cross and giving us power over the enemy like how an eagle kills a snake to feed its young.
“Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not get tired. They will walk and not become weary.” (Isaiah 40:31)
THE ARTS/CHILDLIKE FAITH
Like what happened in Kentucky when a church or school full of kids survived a natural disaster singing “Jesus Loves Me”. In the midst of the storm and the waves, the children in the painting praise and sing to God. Where God’s praises go up, heavenly support and blessings come down.
In contrast to most adults caught up in focusing on the demons and challenges around them, the children look only towards heaven with childlike faith, keeping their focus on God from where their help comes. When fighting a spiritual enemy, we should not fight by earthly means. Take your fight to the heavens by calling God and like an eagle fighting a serpent, he takes the serpent out of its element and into the heavens where it is helpless to deal with it accordingly.
The role the arts play in bringing people to God and inviting God’s presence down in the form of visual arts, songs of praise etc., changes the atmosphere in a place. In terms of spiritual warfare, David drove away the spirit of heaviness from king Saul. The musicians were the first in line in attacking the walls of Jericho. Voices of the children singing act as the sword of the spirit calling down fire from heaven and the might of God who descends like an eagle defending His children.
The adults often see their “demons” as the different addictions and obstacles in their lives often forgetting that there is a higher spiritual demonic power that sends the lesser demons on their assignments to steal, kill and destroy. However, we must not be afraid because God is the highest power and if we have the childlike faith to call on Him, He is faithful.
Michelle Chermaine Ramos
Original acrylic painting on deep edge gallery wrap canvas.
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