The room was redolent; with smells of paint, thinner, and turpentine. Sunlight shone brightly into the bay windows encased on all four sides of the enclosure, ensuring 'perfect' lighting at all times. This was a wondrous room, befitting an artist of his renown.
Completed portraits sat as sentinels along the walls and hung on every inch of space the room afforded. He smiled as he surveyed his completed works. There, before his eyes, were the miracles of his life's work, his creations, perhaps not perfect to the eye of other beholders, but to him, sublime. Slowly he walked around the room, pausing before each checking for flaws or blemishes overlooked.
After circling the perimeter, satisfied with all, he proceeded to the center of the room. He scrutinized the prepared canvas, searching for anything that might hinder his creative flow. Then, he moved on to the table that held unopened tubes of paint, an empty palette, and all the brushes needed for this project.
He picked up the clean and empty palette, then paused. He began speaking, as though to himself. Yet, he knew he was not alone. It always helped his creativity by speaking aloud that which he envisioned beforehand. Each word helped the 'birthing' process along.
Next, he opened his paints. Carefully, he chose his colors: brown, black, white, blue, green, and yellow, all forming a circle (which to him represented the circle of life). In the center of the circle, he placed a dab of red - dark, bright - like blood.
The next step, he referred to as the gestational stage. Using a charcoal pencil, he sketched in lines, shapes, and forms - shadowy, embryonic illusions - hinting at what was to come. After completing this step, he once again paused. Tilting his head first right, then left, he reached out his finger to smudge a few lines here and there. These smudges would represent the imperfect world into which his creation would be born.
He finally picked up the paint-laden palette. From here, his masterpiece would emerge. With black, he filled in the outline; still speaking, to his unseen audience, the story of his vision for the incomplete portrait he told. He regaled how the brown represented the dirt from which man stems. Hills and valleys, the difficulties we all face, he designed in carefully. Against a blue sky, he added gray clouds for the overcast days ahead. He painted in green grass and trees to remind others, each spring, a renewal takes place. A sun of vibrant yellow reflected the glory of each new day.
At first glance, it appeared to be a background he was painting. But upon closer inspection, the features of a face were taking on a more realistic form. He, then, blended all the colors together and painted in the more distinguishing features.
First, he painted in eyes, soulful and wounded, yet able to sparkle with life and joy. A nose, turned up in disdain or looking down on someone, but also classic when not affronted. The mouth turned up in a winsome smile, but could just as easily frown in despair. Cheekbones; high, low or sunken, they changed mysteriously on their own. A pair of ears that would hear or, perhaps not. Finally hair, again mysteriously, that changed color, texture, and length with each new glance.
Now, the painter's palette lay devoid of all color. As he gazed upon his nearly completed work, he beamed, exuberantly, pleased with his creation.
He put the final touch to the portrait, His palm print that left a bright red spot representing both His name and the blood He shed in order to purchase the canvas. In addition, on the back He gave the portrait a name - YOURS - written in the same red signifying the blood He shed for YOU.
You see, you came forth from "The Painter's Palette" and the artist is none other than Jesus Christ, Himself. He drew you in His mind and heart long, before you actually came into existence, and spoke you into being, along with the Father and Holy Spirit. He considers you a masterpiece. Regardless of past or present circumstances, you are His creation and, in you, He takes delight. What you perceive as blemishes, He believes, only enhances your beauty. Since He is the artist, will you trust and accept yourself as He does? To Him, you are a perfect portrait.
© 2001 by Kathi Toups
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