40" x 30" Giclee on Canvas, gallery wrapped with black sides, a black covered back side with wire hanger. Original signature from the artist on the back.
About this Painting:
Written by Michael F. Combs
This painting became an intriguing adventure that ended up bringing about a stirring of emotions I had not expected. Originally, I wanted to create a painting that depicted heaven when viewed by a human who was gifted with a "spiritual eye", and to somehow impart that gift to the viewer of this piece. The thought of standing on this measurable plane of earth, yet being able to look into the sky and actually view upon our heavenly home became an intriguing subject to me.
Admittedly, this was a painting that brought about the fear of the unknown...not in the subject itself, but in my own ability to paint it. When I began to paint "A Glimpse," my ability to create a cumulus cloud was far below my own standards and caused me to try many different techniques, which each ended up turning the canvas into a muddy mess before I eventually scraped the paint off and began once again. Over time and through trial and error, I developed the proper skill and technique, but it literally took over a year to gain the skills to master the effect that I was seeking.
Likewise, the view of heaven itself transitioned from a large view of what originally looked more like a street scene in Ancient Rome than that of the heaven I had in mind, so I scraped off of a large portion of the top right of the canvas to begin again. The scene as well as the perspective haunted my thoughts both as I was working on the painting and also as I was trying to envision where the subject of this painting would eventually go. I took the subject with seriously, and I refused to compromise with a final painting that didn't move me to the depths of my soul whenever I gazed upon it. As a result, the canvas became thick and smooth with layer upon layer of scraped paint not only among the clouds but also with the view of heaven.
Finally, one day as I was looking at the half completed painting hanging on the wall across the studio from my desk I recall a distinct moment when it finally all came together both in thought and in purpose. This painting began as a full view of the streets of heaven and ended up to be a much more subtle and subdued vision that only, at best, captured a glimpse of our heavenly home.
I sketched a quick rendering on a small piece of paper as I saw the entire vision of this finished painting in my mind. The concept was simple: This subject would become a scene in which the viewer would be passing along a green meadow and when casually glancing over to their side they would see, well...just a glimpse of heaven, leaving them later to ask the question: "or was it heaven?"
The symbolism was clear throughout the painting. A dirt road was the avenue of travel, a road touched very little by men thereby grounding the viewer with the earth. Seeing the scene of several buildings not generally found in earthly architecture, and instead suspended in the clouds, was thought provoking. Their mystery was further promoted by their illumination which came from above, yet this heavenly light cast contrasting shadows on the world below. Streams of a faint beam of light shining on the top of a distant hill beckons the viewer to come closer and partake in this wonder appearing in the sky.
A broken barbed wire fence and a worn narrow path offers little doubt that others have passed this way before. There stands three trees each symbolic of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. First is "The Father Tree" which stands tall and proud with its limbs looking more like arms that are open wide as if ready for an embrace of indulgent love. Next along the path is "The Son Tree" which points the way to the top of the illuminated hill which is the earthly link between the measurable world and the spiritual realm that awaits those drawn to walk into the meadow. Lastly you will see "The Spiritual Tree of Fruits" that stands in the distance filled with ripe fruit waiting for the visitor to partake.
The majestic clouds capture the viewer's attention seemingly as a bold and billowing image that is filled with power and strength, but upon further review the face of God Himself takes shape as He is seen keeping watch over heaven. The painting shows a large and distinct profile of the defender and protector of all, ever gazing in love, power, and strength. Others people say they see a variety of faces, which only adds to its mystique and has become a common theme in my paintings, although admittedly, not always entirely intentional.
While painting this profound piece, I often felt the presence of others who guided my strokes and prompted me to mix certain colors on my pallet in order to capture the proper mood and techniques. What once started as a struggle of subjects and styles that lasted for months, ultimately became a peaceful labor of love that endures in my own heart and entices me to think of it even when I am away.
"A Glimpse" wasn't only a creation, it was an experience that has provided depth and wonderment far beyond its completion. It is sure to become a conversation piece in any collection.
(Written by Michael Combs August 8,2016.)