Doubting Thomas

I had no interest in religion, to speak of, until about 1991. Coming to terms with a death in the family. Since then I have felt compelled to turn my attention to religious considerations. Religion is, after all, the arbiter of death. It defines what happens to us afterwards, to say nothing of providing for the ritual of transition. It was the former issue that proved problematic. That issue, as I discovered over time, was ultimately one of faith: What evidence is there that what religion says happens after death is true? In this particular case, what evidence is there that Christianity, the Christian cosmology -what the world is made up of, how it works- is true? “Why, the Bible, of course.”

Of course. But, to put it mildly, I had trouble believing.

click on the image

I did this painting as a sort of meditation. On religion? Not exactly. Or at least, not entirely. On spirituality. Faith and, as suggested in the title, doubt. The painting was the form that the meditation took. A reflection upon a nexus of ideas. Communicating the issues of contemplation, through familiar symbols.
You might notice that the surface looks encrusted. It’s acrylic on canvas, but there is such a build up it weighs a ton. That’s because it is actually 20 or so variations of this image painted on top of each other. Adjustments in colors, placement. 20 to 30 layers of paint and glazes. Perhaps more. Over a period of about 5 years. There are many paintings beneath the surface of the one you see. It was a meditation. Hence, the journey was at least as important as the end product.

I have always admired this painting. I was thinking that if there were any painting in the history of art that I would like to own, it would be this one. So I was pleased when it occurred to me that this painting provided  the perfect theme by which to represent my meditation. “Doubting Thomas”. Of course my major deviation from the original (apart from a certain modernistic flattening of volume) is my use of light, exchanging the highly naturalistic representation of Caravaggio for something a bit more mystical; a second source of light emitting from the wound in Christ’s side.

17 comments

  1. Anna Erikson · · Reply

    Did you paint the Doubting Thomas picture? And if you did could I use the image for a non-commercial purpose?

    1. yes i did. for what purpose would you like to use it?

      1. Anna Erikson · ·

        I am a lay preacher with the United Reformed Church in London. I would like to use it as an illustration for my sermon on Doubting Thomas. It would go out on email (if you allow it) to the congregations of 8 churches in north London.

      2. ok. thats fine.

      3. Anna Erikson · ·

        Thank you very much!

      4. youre weicome. like most artists i like sharing my work.

      5. Anna Eriksom · ·

        I’m very grateful. Maybe one day I will see your painting for real. I found it while searching for suitable images On the internet and it immediately drew me in.

      6. thanks. thats a real complement because that was exactly my intention. maybe i succeeded.

  2. Thank you for this painting. I like the diversity of the disciples. I just found it this morning and with your permission I’d like to capture it on screen for our virtual worship tomorrow. I’m Pastor of the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, Cedar Springs, Michigan. I will of course credit you.
    Thank you,
    Rev. Bill Johnson
    April 18, 2020

    1. thanks Bill. sure.

  3. Karen Thompson · · Reply

    In addition to the things you’ve mentioned here as changes, I appreciate the diversity represented in the disciples. I would like to use your painting, with credit, for our virtual worship. I’m pastor of upRising – a church without walls in Austin, TX, USA.

    1. yes. permission granted. thanks. good observation.

  4. Dave Landis · · Reply

    Enjoyed this painting and the thick story behind it. I’d like your permission to use the image possily on one of our Sunday virtual worship services; Whaley United Methodist Church

    1. sure. thats fine

  5. […] April 4, 2021 · by nomad · in Art, Religion · Leave a comment https://aislec.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/doubting-thomas/ […]

  6. Bishops Lydeard Benefice · · Reply

    What a wonderful picture. Thank you. I wonder if I may use a small, attributed copy of this, please, on our Sunday ‘InTouch’ sheet which is for the congregations of our 5 churches?

    Thanks for considering this. Adrian.

    1. yes. my pleasure.

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