Christ and the Fishermen (Lovest Thou Me More Than These?)
The title of this post is also the title of the painting pictured below. The painting depicts this scene from the New Testament, particularly verses 15-17.
The painting depicts the fishermen tending to their nets. The resurrected Christ urges them to leave their focus on worldly pursuits in favor of a spiritual ministry.
The sunrise in the background reflects off the water and is reminiscent of a sunset. As the sun sets on Christ’s mortal ministry, it rises on the ministry of his apostles, who will take on the challenge of growing His fledgling church. Their future service will reflect Christ’s past service.
The painting will be on display at the Church Museum of History and Art through October. Every three years, the museum hosts a competition, inviting artists all over the world to submit spiritually-themed artwork. This painting is my submission. There will be an opening reception this Friday, March 16th, from 6pm to 9pm at the museum. If you’re extra-interested, the event begins at 6pm with an awards ceremony in the Assembly Hall. It usually lasts about 45 minutes, after which the crowd in the hall moves over to the museum to view the artwork. The event makes a great date night if you like to people-watch and see some really great spiritually-themed art pieces.
I’ve included images of my painting in various stages of progress for those who are interested. The photography and lighting differs for each of these images, so a direct comparison is not easily made.
You can see in the working sketch how many different figures were drawn and re-drawn–looking for ideal gestures and positioning within the compositional rectangle.
Here’s the color sketch. I wanted to base the composition on a gradient of color–a smooth horizontal bands of color.
An early version of the painting shows the addition of bright red fire coals and a man on the right hand side. If I remember correctly, those were added to bring the viewer’s eye into the lower part of the composition and up around the right side, as well as to tell more of the scriptural story.
The bold red of the fire in the previous version was too strong–particularly when the painting is seen in person. This version punches up the contrast and saturation in the sun and sky while playing down the intensity of the fire. Unfortunately, I felt like those changes went to far. I also missed the nice flatness of color from the previous version.
In the final version I tried to bring back some of the flatness and boldness of the coals, emphasize a few things, and make other things more subtle.
In the end, none of these images are quite representative of the original. Hopefully you’ll get a chance to visit the museum and see the painting in person.