Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: STAND UP FOR JESUS (don't write about the song) (04/09/15)
- TITLE: My Monster Moment
By Francy Judge
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Final project: illustrate your monster side; something you hate in your life as a monster
Couldn’t he have us illustrate a funny article? Did it have to be this? I never like drawing monsters, and now as a new Christian, I struggled with what dark side to paint. Sometimes art college felt like an underground world, where spiritual battles were almost visible; I didn’t need to see any more darkness.
I scribbled in thumbnail boxes until a shape inspired me, until an idea insisted on coming to life. It would have to be symbolic, an allegory in bright color. My monster formed a crooked body, almost broken, and confused. I dipped the brush in the mix of cadmium red and a touch of yellow and dabbed bright orange poppies across my canvas. The poppies lined the forked path of the monster. The eye of God shined rays onto one road as the monster decided which one to travel.
Project due / Critique day
Eighteen students lined up their paintings along the wall and waited. The air smelled of an odd mix of turpentine, oil paints, Ivory soap, perfume, and sweat. Like each of my classmates, I sat across from my own and compared it to the others. “Would Mr. Hoffman like it or shoot it down?” Each student had a turn to explain their painting.
Michael went first. “This is me angry at my brother. I didn’t want to paint my brother in the painting, so I painted what he likes—baseball stuff, the color blue.” His slime-dripping monster wore a Mets hat. Each artist had a similar story: I’m angry at …the president… myself …the world. The styles varied from the photo realistic to loose brush strokes in water colors. Some tried to shock us with gore and blood; others were subtle.
Carla shocked me with her subtle depiction of evil. Unlike the other students, she didn’t paint a dinosaur-like goblin, or an alien with razor sharp teeth. She stood next to her version of the traditional Mary and baby Jesus. Carla’s jet black hair looked even darker and spikier next to Mary’s flowing golden waves. Her eyes gazed at something in the distance. Carla painted Jesus with red eyes and a distorted face that screamed.
“I painted what I hate.”
My heart twisted as if Jesus were being crucified a second time … so I prayed: “Lord, you know how I hate to speak in front of people; please give me the words.”
Mr. Hoffman slid my painting next to Carla’s, as if he knew. “Okay, next one here.” He wanted the artist to come to the front. Could I run out of the room, pretend I was sick? At that moment, I understood Peter. I wished I could disappear, but my painting was there, calling me to speak. I had to say something.
“My monster is me, confused. I always had trouble making decisions, wanting to be perfect, afraid of making mistakes … but after I asked Jesus to save me, He became my guide, directing me toward the best path. I painted the flowers because He helps me see the beauty around me. I borrowed the ancient symbol of God’s eye to shine down on the right road.”
Did I really just say all that in front of everyone—even Carla? One brave person shouted, “Awesome!”
Carla raised her hand. “I just want to say I’m sorry—that I didn’t mean to offend anyone with my painting. I don’t like religion. That’s all.” No one said a word.
Her sincere apology opened my eyes. Even in Carla’s cruel depiction of Jesus, He still loved her. He wanted to heal her angry heart. I thought I needed to speak up and defend Christ, but He gave me the words to be a light. It was her moment.
Based on a true story.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood…” Ephesians 6:10-12
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