The Story Behind the Painting
by Betty 'B' Shoopman, Artist
Jesus Crucified, Betty Shoopman, Artist
A month before Joy FM's Unspeakable Joy in Advance, NC, I felt very strongly that I was to paint the face of Jesus. It was a bit daunting.
First of all, I had previously felt strongly that I was NOT to paint His face and secondly, the last time I painted Jesus I streaked black paint right down His face as I stepped in a bucket of black paint!
A bit unnerved, I called our other stage artist, Lisa Albinus, to share the insight. I had completely forgotten that she was being led to paint ‘Him - The Word’. Graciously, Lisa just listened, never stopping me to say, “Hey, that’s what I’m supposed to paint, remember?"
Before our conversation ended, I suddenly recalled Lisa’s idea. Oh my! I was embarrassed, wondering "Would she think I was taking her idea? And how could we both be supposed to paint Jesus’ face?" I tell you, the conversation that transpired was beautiful. We were in awe of God's plan.
As we shared our separate ideas of how we were to paint Jesus, there was nothing similar. Lisa envisioned her painting completely created with scripture! The Word made flesh. Alive. Redeemer. She was even seeing it done on wood. Wow.
Him - The Word, by Lisa Albinus, Artist
My inspiration came from a movie depiction of Christ crucified. I took a snapshot of the movie scene showing the crucified face of Jesus. You see, I was to paint Him Crucified and she was to paint Christ alive!
Well, no good story is without a twist.
When I shared our ideas with Luann, (Mama Lu to some), she suggested I paint the face of Jesus upside-down and flip it to reveal his face. Honestly, I sarcastically thought, “SURE!” but then I thought, "What would the picture be BEFORE I flip it?"
When I turned my snapshot upside-down, the whole plan came together. Suddenly, I could see His chin turned into the hill He climbed to Calvary. It was if He told me, “I walked up that hill, so you wouldn’t have to do it. I paid the price once and for all. You are redeemed by my blood.”
The first three images below were practice paintings as I learned how the painting might evolve. The last three are actual stage results. I sent the practice picture to my son for critique. I wasn’t sure that the crucified Christ with blood running down his face would be encouraging and I questioned removing the blood. My son said, “No Mom, it is extreme, but that’s what makes it powerful.”
Progression of Jesus Crucified, Betty Shoopman, Artist
And then God's final touch:
I awoke the morning of the event, undone with the fact I have no scripture on my painting, as it always does. I began searching. Nothing seemed right. I finally accept, with reservation, the verse... “Oh death where is thy sting?” And as I begin to paint we begin singing, “there is power, power wonder working power in the blood...” and as I write the verse on the side of the hill, the event speaker, Liz Curtis Higgs, steps out onto the stage sharing about her fight with cancer and says, “Oh death, where is thy sting.”
Betty ‘B’ Shoopman