I know I’ve posted all of these photos individually before, but here they are together to show the transformation of “Hour of Judgement” through the three different stages I photographed.
Prior to the first stage illustrated above, I had another painting on this canvas that I felt wasn’t working. I decided to recycle the canvas by painting over what I had. The result was something abstract that I thought looked quite good. But in trying to add more I spoiled the effect I had liked.
The only solution I saw was to start all over again by obscuring the “abstract” with a layer of paint. I used a combination of thick textured red and yellow paint to cover everything and with a palette knife made a rough “Y” across the middle of the canvas – one of the recurring symbols used in many of my paintings.
I then rubbed sections of the paint away to let a little of the texture of the previous painting show through.
The fieryness of the result turned my mind to the judgment of Babylon recorded in the book of Revelation:
She will be consumed by fire,
for mighty is the Lord God who judges her
When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her.
I created the face of Babylon through adding and rubbing back more paint until I got the effect I wanted. That left the bottom right corner where I wanted to portray the fiery destruction described.
To show the city I wanted tall iconic buildings to symbolise Babylon as a place of significant trade and also symbolising the pride of man. The buildings would also refer back to the origins of Babylon and the tower of Babel. The buildings I chose as representations were the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and the former World Trade Centre in New York. Parts of both can be seen in the final stage of the painting above. I also tried to incorporate an image of my own town’s clock tower – to bring the idea of Babylon closer to home. It’s always easy to point the finger elsewhere and see “Babylon” as something out there and not where we are.
The clock tower didn’t work out very well. The perspective was totally wrong, so I obscured most of it and left only the clock face – showing a time representing the hour of Jesus’ death.
The painting expresses God’s judgement on a city and a people who have continued to reject Him. They come under judgment and suffer destruction because they rejected the sacrifice Jesus made to enable them to avoid their deserved punishment. The clock is a reminder that Jesus paid the price of the judgement we all deserve and it is only pride and a sense of self-sufficiency (the belief that we ourselves ar good enough for God, or that we don’t even need God) that will ensure we face a terrible judgment that could have been avoided.