This blog is a stream of thoughts on current evidences. Each gives hint toward what I think is much bigger reality. My tag line above says I am “illustrating”, which may be strange because as an artist, I am not a skilled illustrator. I know at this late age what I can and what I cannot do. My own artwork is usually abstract, and certainly much less focused on human form. All this is intro. to some pondering today.

I am working on a mural for a non-profit in my community. I got to design the entire project and knew that the best idea for this refuge place for kids would be to highlight the very ones the organization serves. We took photos of 10 selected kids, then posterized them, and sketched the value divisions from each face onto the wall. Painting will start this coming week. What I hope to express here is how poignant it was to just draw their young faces, the unique smile curves, the spark in some eyes, the little crooked tooth, the sweetness on each entirely different form. These are just semblaces on a wall. But I know the real kids a little bit. I interviewed each to gain some buy-in for the ideas behind this whole project.

Each child represents one key value that guides this organization. To hear from the children was entirely motivating. So unique is each little person, with a complex mix of bents and desires and issues. So now, when I semblance their lines with pencil on the wall, I am thinking of each child with a love that I sense originates from their Maker. No wonder Jesus rebuked the disciples for attempting to dismiss the children. Little wonder had those guys! Like all of us, they had their own working agendas in front of their own faces and could not see what He was looking into. I am getting a glimpse.

While sketching onto this wall, I was living through the news reports; faces all lined up (each completely unique) who were mowed down by a murderer’s gun in Orlando. You probably saw those images too. I did not know those folks, and so I cannot share the same sense of relationship. But the loss is incalculable for those who loved them. Such searing pain is grief! We are all robbed when even one precious soul is ripped away. Robbed and ripped and many, many left sorrowing.

In a time when human life is so diminished, as anger and division takes center stage, as political agendas get staged while the blood is still warm on the floor, is anyone listening for how Jesus feels? Sketching faces of kids who hold dreams in their hearts, I was being pierced through. Anger, sadness, sighs and reverence are all mingled through these pencil lines.

I can hardly illustrate. I am tracing after a projection, my pencil follows the light. In the same way, I can hardly be coherent about what I sense are the working unseen values. But I feel Jesus’ heart, as if tracing after Him. And what I am talking about is both an engaging and a fearful thing. As an artist I am weighted with this significance.

And then I remember: this is what all art is, whether realistic illustration or abstraction, no matter the form. Whether seen and understood or not. It is all just a catch, a representation of something else. It is at best a quick and searing glimpse, a sign-post, a semblance of much truer things. What we do see right in front of us can point toward what we desperately need to see.

3 thoughts on “semblance

  1. Lynn Severance

    “But I feel Jesus’ heart, as if tracing after Him.”

    This seems a good focus for any of us to follow as we tend to our calling.
    What an amazing (and emotionally charged) project.
    I hope you can share some of the completion with us.

    1. Mary B. Nees Post author

      thanks, it’s kind of ambitious too, have never done something like this, it’s step by step. I’ll send u a photo, doesn’t look like I can embed one here. appreciate your interest!


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