Encounter Gallery at Northwest Bible Church

Discussing the self-portrait “Man Born Blind” with Robert Virkus.

The Encounter Gallery is showing through December 2019, in the Christian Life Center at Northwest Bible Church in Dallas. We had a Sunday Morning opening a couple of weeks ago and lots of folks stopped by to look and chat between and after the services. I met Robert Virkus and we had an interesting conversation about the art work and some of our favorite artists. Above is the installation on the south wall.

The North Wall installation of the Encounter Gallery

The church is usually open during the day and they often have extended hours. But I recommend calling ahead to make sure the Christian Life Center is unlocked and available for viewing.

Northwest Bible Church
Christian Life Center
8505 Douglas Avenue
Dallas, TX 75225
469-453-7777

Disciples Serve

Disciples Serve the Five Thousand
Oil on canvas
24″ x 18″

This is my latest work in the Encounter Gallery series entitled “Disciples Serve the Five Thousand”.  I was talking with my friend Takiyah about my narrative portraits and that I had started out painting almost exclusively my own family members, mostly because they were willing. I said that as I looked back over my paintings, it occurred to me that my family was awfully white. Takiyah laughed and said “well, my family is awfully black!”  I asked her if there was a gospel story that she most identified with and characterized her and her history.  She said that the one that most often came to mind was the feeding of the 5,000.  She told me about growing up fairly poor in the Los Angeles area, but definitely not realizing that they were poor.  She recounted a few of the numerous times that her family was unexpectedly confronted with the Lord’s abundance.  This idea of abundance is central to Takiyah’s experience of God in her life.  He has supplied her and her family’s needs abundantly and continually.  There were powerful stories from her childhood in which her family was blessed with abundance that could only have come from God.  As I listened to her stories, I thought of my own history.  My father had a good job, and worked steadily throughout my childhood.  I never really questioned or wondered where the groceries came from.  I realized early on that Dad was paid regularly, and the money went into the bank, and that was how we bought the groceries.  I knew then that God provides, even in this way.  But Mom and Dad were very frugal, and I never really got a sense of abundance or unexpectedness.  Our abundance was more a sense of “enough” and “steady” for which I’m very grateful. This very consistency was and is a gift from my Dad.  The groceries always got bought, so that meant that Dad was working, and God was providing both. 

But Takiyah’s experience was different and in its own way glorious.  God has continued to provide for her in an abundant and sometimes an unexpected way. 

While meditating on the story of the 5,000, I began to think about how much labor it would have taken to distribute a dinner of fish and bread to so many men, women and children.  Thousands of meals delivered across a hillside next to the lake would have taken so much effort.  I imagined that as Jesus multiplied the fish and bread, his disciples saw what was happening and quickly realized what it would take to serve this crowd.  They loaded up with plates of the newly created meals and went throughout the crowd, handing out delicious food to everyone who was there.  I set the scene on the northeast shore of White Rock Lake with the skyline of Dallas just barely visible in the distance.  I pictured the disciples as seasoned diner waiters and waitresses with arms full of plates of baked fish and rolls headed up the hill to the people.  This was a day of extraordinary and unexpected abundance, and Jesus’ many followers and disciples were there to serve.  It is the perfect story of Takiyah’s experience with the unexpected abundance from God.

“Disciples Serve the Five Thousand” is currently on display with the Encounter Gallery series at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church in Watson Hall (in Dallas) until August 22, 2019. 

24 Feet Installed at St. Cecelia’s

24 Feet
Oil on Canvas
16″ x 120″

24 Feet is installed in the sanctuary of Saint Cecelia’s Catholic Church through Pentecost (Sunday, June 9). Father Moreno asked that we install it in the sanctuary over the exit door so that the congregation will see it as they leave the service. It took quite a bit of expert maneuvering of the hydraulic lift. My friend Robert and I held and attached the painting, while Alberto ran the lift. It turned out to be a stunning place to hang this painting.

St. Cecelia’s Catholic Church at 1809 W. Davis Street in Oak Cliff is a new church building in an established parish. The older church was hit by lightning in 2007 and burned. This beautiful and spacious new church was then built and dedicated in 2011.