11"x14" Oil on Panel by Christy Michalak, October 2017
I call this piece "Stained Glass", because what really captured me in the moment was the sun filtering through the trees, and the knowledge that the interior of the church would be mimicking what nature is providing for us, outside.
Recently in Cambodia I had the opportunity to crawl through the temples for about ten hours, and saw all of the opportunities for quiet reflection in the incredible architecture of Angkor Wat (of Tomb Raider, and Wonder of the World fame).
It was as if those ancient architects had been looking to create a place of quiet, individual peace and reflection. Outside village life must have been chaotic, but in the temples they (and I) could hear our inner voices, or the voice of the gods if you choose. 900 years later, are our churches meant to do the same thing?
Do the stained glasses on the windows mimic the effect of the light filtering through the trees, while the walls provide quiet?
In any case, these were the reflections working through my mind as I painted this piece. At the same time I was demoing what I was doing technically to delegates from Wenjiang, China (you can read more about that here!), and was afraid the piece would lose it's meaning. But no - I think I caught it.
It's already headed to a new home - and much like a kid going off to university in the fall - it warms my heart to think of it out in the world and in a wonderful new place.
PS - What were the gods saying to me in the temples? They were saying, "wow, that moss is beautiful! And so is that giant millipede! You have to capture all of this in paint!". So the inner and outer voices are aligned - I need to paint more! :)