“I AM”: names of Jesus

Most of the time my initial idea for a painting will turn into something completely different by the time I finish it. Here is a clear example.

This is the first version.


For the next stage I stencilled various names given to Jesus onto the canvas, making the letters contrast with the background, using black where the background was white and vice versa. I also stencilled the word “Truth” over the red “Jesus”.

While I could imagine the result I wanted, my technique wasn’t up to the challenge. I’m far too messy with paint and a lot of the stencilled lettering smudged, or the paint bled under the stencils and tape.

I could either perservere and try to neaten up the rough edges, or I could try something different. I took the second option and this is the result. I took the photo yesterday evening.


I covered most of the painting with “blue/black” diluted with acrylic paint medium. The “blue/black” came out more green than blue. Any blue in the painting comes from a weak wash of Cobalt Blue.
I reinstated the large white “I AM” by wiping some of the surface paint away with a damp cloth, then I used touches of Titanium White to give a few desired highlights.

The result has much more subtlety than the stark black and white image I’d originally intended, and I think the final painting is much better. Completing it has been encouraging. There is a local exhibition early in April and I’ve wanted to enter some new paintings. My progress has been very slow in recent weeks and I didn’t think I’d have anything ready in time, but now I’m feeling much more confident.

Here is a second photo of the same painting that I took this morning with a different camera. The only change I made to the painting was a slight adjustment to the bottom of the “I” in “I AM” but the difference in colour makes it seem like a totally different painting; proving the difficulties I have photographing my art. Neither photo captures the painting as seen in person.


6 thoughts on ““I AM”: names of Jesus

  1. I like hearing about the process, technical and intentional. Thank you for that, Onesimus. And I like the painting.

  2. Thanks Ruth,
    The coming exhibition doesn’t have prizes, but its a good place to get my work publicly seen. It is being held in the town hall and last year was very well attended.

  3. Have to say, the effect of looking at each, and ALL, was lifting my face right then to praise the One you portray ! Knowing that’s your intent…what better can I say of your work ?

    Thank you, brother !

    In Jesus, Steve

  4. I’ve now realised why photos of my paintings look so different to the paintings. Apart from the clear colour differences in the photos I posted – the photo’s smaller size allows all of the image to be seen at the same time. With the painting one can only see part of the image at one time and variations across the canvas can be seen that the eye can’t see in the photo.

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