Let them illuminate the lands
By Molly Paulick
Let Them Illuminate the Lands is a translation of the Latin phrase “terras irradient.” This Latin phrase is taken from the verse in the Hebrew Bible, Isaiah 9:2,
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness, a light has dawned.”
When I’m flying and experience the earth from 40,000 feet above, I feel small and insignificant compared to the grand patterns, mountains, cities, and rivers that are below me. My anxiety, fear and grief feel less threatening when replaced with wonder at creation from this viewpoint.
With feet firmly planted on the ground, I pay attention to the everyday beauty in each each intricate, forgotten, and whimsical plant that immediately surrounds me. From trees that sprout like weeds to hundred-year-old cactuses to majestic palms – each plant has a story of existence, a purpose of being exactly what they are by being planted where they are. Their job is to flourish and thrive by straining toward and absorbing the light.
I seek to merge both these views of a landscape in my artwork. My large-scale paintings begin with a photograph that I snap from the window seat of an airplane. Once I’ve scaled the photograph to size, I plaster it on a wood panel. This becomes my “map.” Using acrylic paint, saturated satellite imagery and old maps, I’ll begin to add bright and vibrant, yet earthy and naturalistic colors to bring the aerial landscape to life. This scene, however dynamic, serves in part as a backdrop for the leaves, trees, and plants native to that particular region, that I lay over the forefront of the panel, alternatingly pushing and pulling focus for the viewer.
The combination of perspectives allows me to see the ways healing has takes place in my own seasons of suffering. When I surrender the control of my life to a God who is bigger than me and pay attention to how I am deeply loved and tended to by my creator, I am able to absorb the healing light in times of darkness and in turn illuminate that same light to others.