July 09, 2010

Behind the Easel: A Step of Faith

July's Durham Dreamer: Reverend Ernie Mills

July’s featured Durham Dreams subject is Reverend Ernie Mills of the Durham Rescue Mission. Rev. His dream that I am “translating” into paint is to serve the city of Durham by “reaching the discarded relics of society, mining the diamonds in the rough, and training them to be fully functioning members of society.”
I am so excited about the way this “Dream Portrait” is shaping up! In this post I’m sharing some “sneak peeks” for you. As the fifth piece in this series of twelve renderings of  the dreams of honored visionaries in durham, this particular one holds a very special place. (I know, I think I’ve said that for each one!) Having the privilege of sitting with Rev. Mills during my interview with him was a treasured moment. While we talked, many images filled my head that I pondered for his portrait. However, upon reading Ernie’s complete story in the book, Durham Rescue Mission History (“A Step of Faith”), the “portrait” idea of this unique dream crystalized. So much good has been done by this humble servant. So many stories of transformed lives filled the pages of this simply written account of a story of faith. Boiling these down to extract the essence  to render this dream, I decided to use imagery from the story of the “good Samaritan” Not only did Rev. Mills reflect his deep love of this parable, but it also encapsulates the core value of the Mission. Here is an article highlighting their desire to model the parable in developing the Good Samaritan Inn.
The imagery I’m using to depict the “good Samaritan” is a limp, slumped figure being pulled upwards. The hand is symbolic of the Mission and therefore has been placed at the focal point of the painting. Where the hand touches the arm, there is a contoured depiction of muscle. Strength is infused into individuals through the impact of the Mission. There’s much more I’ll share about the imagery in tomorrow’s post, so stay tuned! 


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