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Monday, January 19, 2015

Remembrance Service

There is a verse, in the book of Isaiah, that had never been brought to my attention before until this past year: See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. Isaiah 49:16 ...this became a comfort verse for me when my dad died.

To add to that, this past December was the second year that I had been invited to paint on stage at a yearly remembrance service which is held to honor loved ones who have passed and comfort those left behind. What would I paint? The first image that came to mind was an outstretched hand of Christ. Open. Inviting. Welcoming. A visual reminder of the verse.

At the end of the service those who attended were invited to come forward and write their loved one's name on the palm. Amidst the freshly lit candles and photographs of those being remembered, this painting was the focal point as each person came forward with pen in hand. One name after another became a part of the painting, filling the palm and even spilling into the fingers. A quiet reverence filled the sanctuary. The air was heavy with the memories of those who had left us.

When I take a moment to look back at the variety of work I have had the privilege to create, I stand in awe.  My life as an artist is a rich one.

It was a large canvas, 36 x 48", which was a challenge to cover with paint in approximately 16 minutes.  The logistics required that I paint the palm ahead of time, in my studio so that it would be dry for the signatures. This also gave me more time to paint the fingers, wrist and background during the music portion of the service provided by the gifted Shannon Wexelberg. 

Isaiah 49:16
36 x 48", Acrylic on canvas

Rita Salazar Dickerson

Painting on stage always takes me to a place where I have to creatively let go of my perfectionistic tendencies and let come what may. Along with the preparation it requires a giant step of faith.