Love’s Sacrifice – Completed

This week I completed the bigger project I’ve been working on for a few weeks –  ‘Love’s Sacrifice’.


This painting meant quite a lot to me.  I think that might be why it took me so long to complete.

I know that most people nowadays don’t follow the same faith as me and that makes it difficult to talk about these things because, although it is the truth most central to my life, I have no wish to push it onto folk who don’t want it.  I feel quite strongly that faith is only real when it is freely chosen and not forced.

For me the Christian faith is simply about walking in the way of love everyday as far as I am able.  My experience of love is that when you really love another person you put them before yourself, you want what is best for them and you are willing to give of yourself for their well-being.  That’s what this picture means to me.  It’s about the cost of love and the power of love, when given, to make others whole.

Apologies to those who are not religious or who follow another religion, I’m not so good at talking about these things.  I hope I haven’t offended anyone.



Days 67 and 68 – Finally learning to paint faith and love…

Quite a while ago I tried to paint how I feel about my Christian faith.  Because it means so much to me I found that it was just too difficult to do.

(Here’s a link to those first attempts: Faith and Love Attempt One)

Then a week or so ago I sketched a picture of a shepherd with a lamb on his shoulders which kind of said what I wanted to say.

So I re-sketched this out onto proper cold-pressed watercolour paper…




Then I had a go at painting it with Winsor and Newton Artists Watercolours..



At first it looked really wishywashy and pale and I felt all fed up and annoyed with myself for doing a bad job – again.  But then the next day I decided that I had nothing to lose if I painted more layers over the top.  So I did – lots and lots of layers.  Here’s the final painting…



It’s not perfect at all but it does touch my heart in the way I wanted it to.  It just has, for me, that feeling of being loved and cared for which I get from my faith.


Because of the autism I have a lot of difficulty accurately communicating what I really feel with words which I find very frustrating especially when people start getting upset with me and I’ve done the very best I can do.  My language skills are pretty good generally but I don’t have the usual social context in which most people seem to operate – I’m always misunderstanding the effects which my language has and not getting the whole social aspect of communication.  For me, saying “A, B and C”, just means, “A, B and C”.  There is no social context, no what they call ‘side’ no ‘reading between the lines’ (which means understanding that there is a subtext in some communication)  because I am basically blind to all of this.  I can’t ‘see’ social context or non-straight-forward communication.  But with pictures I feel that I have a genuine way I could potentially communicate well and accurately in a way which isn’t constantly misunderstood.  I have a fighting chance.

I feel really pleased about this picture because it does, for me, finally say what I want to say.    🙂


Day 37 – Autism, illness, love and faith.

Being unwell has some odd effects on me.  I’ve been told that some of this is probably due to the autism, some is just the way my particular body and mind work and some is common to most people.

I’m normally a calm and quite happy person and well able to keep my head in difficult, even threatening, circumstances.  This is why I did well working with children who had emotional and behaviour problems when I first qualified as a teacher.  However when I get sick I become less able to manage as well as I normally do emotionally.  This tends to come out in the evenings when I’m tired.  I find myself getting tearful for reasons I can’t understand.  Because of the autism, I sometimes don’t notice other symptoms for a long while so the first sign on me getting ill is my emotions.  Then when I take my temperature and check myself over I find I’m feverish and unwell.

Once I realise what’s going on and start to take care of the illness I get medical help and proper bed-rest.  Then although I still feel horrible physically, emotionally I begin to feel better.  As soon as the fever begins to break I start to sleep a lot.  After a few days of that, when the illness goes, even though in this case I’m still left with a cough, it’s like waking up on a sunny morning after a night of heavy rain – everything is fresh and clean and quiet in my mind and I feel closer to God than usual.

It was in this state of mind that I drew the following in my sketchbook…



The symbol on the left is from a Catholic group called the Jesus Caritas Fraternity, although it is my own design of their idea.  I’m not Catholic myself (I’m Baptist) but I have a dear friend of many years, another teacher, who is.  She’s a musician too and we’ve played in catholic and protestant churches all over our home town.  Anyway the Caritas people concentrate on bringing the love of God to people who are abandoned and marginalised in a quiet, lowly way.  They don’t push conversion, instead they love people and care for them unconditionally believing that when people feel the love of God for themselves, then conversion becomes natural.  This is how it was for me.  Having read some books related to all of this by a chap called Carlo Caretto I came to see this symbol as meaning the love of God in Jesus and it became really very personal for me.

Many years later I ended up getting a tattoo of this symbol with the Japanese character Dao 道, which means road, path, way.  The design I did for this was…


It’s on my foot as a reminder to always walk in the path of the love of God – like a prayer which is always with me.  🙂

Anyway the picture on the right, of the shepherd and sheep kind of expresses a bit, that feeling I was trying to convey when I previously tried to draw some more religious art a month of so ago and ended up giving up.  It shows, for me I think, the love and safety and wholeness I feel so much from my faith.  (The shepherd is supposed to be Jesus and I’m the sheep.)

Here’s the final image…