Behold, the hand of him that betrays me
is with me on the table.
July 23, 1971, I started searching for the desired shape for the cup. My first stop was an antique shop, the kind that is very cluttered and dusty. I explained to the owner what I wanted and illustrated by pointing to a tarnished silver plated fruit basket that had the desired shape at its base. He decided this was as close as I would come and suggested that a welder remove the top. This done, my sister-in-law, Margaret, thought having it dipped in acid, like she had done to old ship’s lanterns bought in Bermuda, may achieve the copper color I wanted. I found the right craftsman that did this work and the base turned out to be a lovely rosy tone and the cup golden, more beautiful than expected!
Meanwhile, I had been looking more closely at the storm clouds that come up so often in the summer, to use on the Judas side of the painting, full of darkness and danger. I observed the sunrises for the Christ side, full of appealing colors, peace and inspiration.
My brother, Harry, age fifty-two, modeled for Judas as I coached, “Act as if you wanted to take the cup while being undecided.” He said, “How about one hand reaching for it and the other drawing back?” “Great,” I replied. “It indicated the double-mindedness of Judas.” My brother also modeled for Christ. As I got well into the painting, reality set in and making fifty-two year old hands look like they were thirty-three years old was beyond me. I had to have another model, younger, with savior-like hands. I couldn’t think of anyone. Then the phone rang and it was my cousin, John C. Calhoun, III. He was exactly thirty-three, but was only in town on business with just enough time to say hello. I asked if he could have a quick lunch with me; my props and lighting would be ready for a simple model job. The plan fit into his schedule nicely. With his strong and sensitive hand on the cup, lovingly ready to give to Judas, I photographed John’s excellent modeling. He saved the painting! What a rare time to come to town!
For Christ on the cross, I corralled my nephew, Bud, at high noon. He was wearing shorts, bare-chested and all sweaty from mowing the grass. I asked, “Will you model for Christ on the cross for me?” “Okay,” he said. I stepped inside the garage door out of sight with my Polaroid camera while he stood in the garden light. “Now hold your arms up like you are on the cross and drop your head as Christ did when He said, “Father into Your Hands I commend my Spirit.” Alone, he looked about to see if anyone was watching, then went into the pose with an imaginary cross, arms held high. I showed him the results and he got in the mood, “Aunt Ann, I can do better than that.” So we tried it again and he was right. It was superb; just what I wanted!
When painting the scene on the cup, I decided to have the shadow of the cross below, like a glide path for a safe landing, the empty cross above turned gold with the brightest, lightest area indicating Christ’s resurrection and ascension into Heaven, the total meaning of the cup and the empty cross---His Love for all humanity. Truly God’s manifested Eternal Life. 1 John 1:2.
December 25, 2001
Early this year I decided to use Saint Luke 22:21 for my Christmas card. It would represent the last of my paintings inspired from the New Testament.
On September 11 th I watched the early morning news while having breakfast then cut the television off to get on with my work. The phone rang. It was cousin Sandra in Tampa. “Are you watching the news?” she asked. “No, I left it early.” I replied. “Turn it on; a plane has crashed into one of the Trade Center buildings in New York, then another one has too; it’s terrorists!” “Oh Sandra! I’ll turn it on! Bye!” I was horrified, shocked and outraged at the insanity I saw as the sensitive broadcasters were so ably reporting through all the stress. I prayed for God to catch each soul in His Hands, taking them into His Loving Eternal Care, while tears flowed from my eyes. Of course He didn’t need me to ask, but it made me feel comforted knowing God’s Grace.
My nephews, Rick and Bud, phoned saying, “It’s Pearl Harbor all over again isn’t it Aunt Ann!” My view was, “We don’t know who our enemy is in this and they have attacked civilians!” “SHOCK! is the similarity!”
I stayed glued to the news all day and into the evening. The Pentagon attack, then the plane intended for the White House, being diverted into the Pennsylvania soil by heroic passengers, awakened America into a unity that can’t be divided. Our President and Commander In Chief, George W. Bush, described so clearly that this is a war of good against evil and that good will overcome.
I didn’t see the evil face in the stormy clouds of this painting until studying the photographic print. To me, this first Christmas card after September 11 th seems quite fitting and timely in how Good of God overcomes evil. The common enemy of civilization is evil. It calls for eradication by its own actions. God’s Gift of the True Christ is the answer to evil.