“Creation Groans” is my entry in the seventh annual ArtPrize competition, here in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
If you are in Grand Rapids between Sept. 23 and Oct. 11, 2015, I hope you will view my piece and consider casting your vote (by Oct. 3) on my behalf! My vote code # is: 62066. For more on where to see my artwork, and on the ArtPrize competition, go to:http://www.artprize.org/barbara-bjelland/2015/creation-groans
(Prints of this artwork are for sale; please inquire via my email: email@example.com).
This piece of art is close to my heart.
This imagery grew out of a Lenten meditation. My artwork suggests that we are in God’s womb, together with the whole round earth, being nourished by God, and being formed into his image.In all of our affliction, God suffers and groans with us,longing for the full redemption of all creation, which will take place at the end of time.
(My meditation was on Ephesians 2:10, says, “We are his workmanship, created in Christ…”, and on Romans 8:22 which says,“The whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”)
The process of creating this painting helped me experience many aspects of the world God created in a deeper way: the tenderness with which God holds the creatures He loves; the wonder of the night sky and snow like cake-frosting on the mountains; the power and danger of crashing waves; the horror of evil and expulsion from paradise.
Artwork often takes on a life of its own, not deliberately intended by the artist. I intended the hands to represent God the Father/Creator; other things changed their meaning as the painting progressed.
I chose a polar bear to represent the suffering of Creation, because the polar bear’s habitat is diminishing. The polar bear also became a Christ-figure : God the Son who suffers with Creation, yet who is distinct from His Creation, that he may redeem it in love.
I referenced the falling bird from a painting by Marc Chagall, about the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. In my painting, the bird became God the Counselor/Sanctifier/Holy Spirit, who hovered over the waters at Creation, and who rends the heavens and comes down to us.
For a terrific article by Dr. Lynne Baab on “Listening to Creation as Part of Environmental Stewardship,” with links to a United Nations light show on the Environment, and an article on “Spiritual Practices that Nurture Creation Care,” see:
Please comment on “Creation Groans,” and join the conversation!