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Creating "My Lazarus Story"

I was asked to share my process for my last painting called "My Lazarus Story."

This is by no means a tutorial. It's just a story process. But all the steps are there, I think.

Here ya go:

Canvas: 3'x3' gallery wrap. (1.5"deep)

Medium: Acrylics, string gel, old sketch pad paper, vintage button, iridescent powders

•I sketched the bodice lightly with Unbleached White just to be sure of placement.

•I filled in the background and honestly, I'm not sure what colors I used because I was using up the paint on my palette. But it for sure included: Cad Yellow Med, Cad Yellow Light, Alizarin Crimson or Quinacridone Magenta, Yellow Ocre, Titanium White, Cad Red Med, Ultra Marine Blue, Phthalo Blue, Burnt Sienna and maybe (Veridian Green?)

I used a big old soft water color brush and just went for it, praying as I went along and listening to music. My playlists are on spotify under Lydia Davis Crouch. I usually just let it play random on their suggested daily play mix for me. I continually add artists I like so that my algorithm is pretty wonderful for me.

But seriously, I follow the music.

•I left it alone for a few days to figure out what to do to have a shiny bodice that wasn't diamond. I have a button fetish and raided some thrift store finds in my art closet. I laid the canvas flat and poured the buttons out on the bodice area to be sure I had enough.

I picked out the ones that didn't seem to fit. Then I set them aside and wondered what to adhere them with.

•In the meantime, I painted an underlayer that would most likely peek through, depending on how things went.

•I ended up trying string gel and was super happy with the result. I literally drizzled it onto my canvas in loose sections (like continents) and scooped the button up in my hands (wear surgical gloves) and dropped them onto the string gel.

(I considered placing them carefully, but I'm coming out of perfectionism and this dress is the summary of that. I let them land on their sides and at odd angles. The result of letting go is that the light catches it from every angle!)

•I let some of the string gel drizzle over some of the buttons that landed on edge just to be sure it stuck.

•Then it sat for a few more days. I couldn't figure out how to show the grave clothes falling off. In my first imagining, I was going to use sheer fabric. But it wasn't "rotted" enough. Then I thought how cool it would be to use old pattern pieces and shred them. Would have been a cool analogy of not conforming to the pattern of this world. But that was too literal and not the message I was telling.

•And each day, I thought about an illustration/imagining I did a few years ago. There was a young child so afraid of a monster. It was a mummy. But when she stood up to it, she realized it was empty. Just a bunch of old rags that disintegrated at the name of Jesus as it tried to run away. It was like an old weathered hornet nest, no longer inhabited that falls to pieces in shreds.

•Because of the quarantine, there is a pile of donations that I can't take yet. On top was a ratty old sketch book.

It's not mine. It has a name I don't even recognize on the cover. It's of no use. Early on the morning of Good Friday, the Lord whispered, "Take that sketch pad. Grab all your pens. Write down every single lie you have ever spoken over yourself - and every single lie that was spoken over you by others that you believed. Write on both sides of the paper." So I did that.

There were four pages (covered front and back) that were covered in scribbled lines. The Lord then said to shred them. So I did.

My family woke up so they stayed in a pile till the next morning.

•On Saturday morning, the day before Easter, I took Modpodge and covered both sides as I worked. I also wet the canvas with Modpodge.

I only worked one piece at a time and it was messy. The canvas was on the easel for this part so it would drape and fall.

I mixed in messy paint here and there. It was meant to be dirty.

•On Easter, we worshipped and I stared. I knew the grave was empty, but who was this girl now?

She had to be strong and solid and beautiful. What would the dress she was wearing look like, now that she was free? Originally I had thought feathers. Too much mixed message there. Too shallow. But what?

•On Monday after Easter, I looked up the day one challenge in my mentoring group. It was to take Isaiah 61:3 to heart and create from it. (This whole story is on the video that will follow this post.). So I read IS 60 and 61. These were chapters I had loved in my 20's but had forgotten to put on in recent years.

I took mixed string gel, paint and pearlescent powder. I then used a ziplock bag like a piping bag and snipped off the tiniest snip I could for the tip.

I wrote key phrases from those two chapters in 3 layers: dusty green, unbleached white, zinc white. The words adhered to each other and the Lord said, "This is solid. Let my Word is to become the fabric of your very being."

And then Laina, my daughter, asked me to make a video for an Instagram series of testimonial videos she's working on. I knew what to say. I would tell the story behind this painting.

You can watch it here.

I hope you are living in your Easter Story.


Lydia C

©2020Lydia D Crouch

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