The last painting to be completed in the “Seven Words” series was the scene when Jesus was being placed on the cross, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” This was actually the first of the seven utterances recorded in the gospel accounts of the crucifixion. For various reasons I did not paint the seven paintings in the order of the spoken phrases. My first painting, which was completed in April 2010, depicted the final recorded words of Christ as He was dying, “Into Thy Hands I Commit My Spirit.”
I started working on the finished drawings of “Father, forgive them” (let us refer to it as painting #1) and “Woman, behold your son” (painting #3) by late October 2013. By October 2014, I was just about finished with painting #3 and was continuing my drawing on the final composition for painting #1. In mid-November I finished painting #3 and by mid December the drawing was complete for painting #1. My self imposed deadline for finishing the project and having it ready to hang in Smithfield, VA (the first venue) was Good Friday of 2015 … four months away. Little did I know the final painting would require over 240 hours at the easel.
With a full family life including our daughter and her family having just moved into the area from Colorado, it was near impossible to meet the Good Friday deadline. The Smithfield gallery owner was very flexible and allowed for a schedule shift.
As I progressed with painting #1 I found there were additional composition issues I needed to resolve. This required several breaks from painting and a return to the drawing pad to figure out the best solution. Finally, on May 11, 2015, after many hours of drawing and painting (including two weeks of painting nothing but rocks), the final painting was finished. After eight exhilarating, frustrating and exciting years of work the entire project was completed … it was finished.