God Gives The Growth

This piece was inspired by the All Saints icons picturing a cloud of witnesses surrounding Christ. The greens, reds, and golds can all be found in the color palette used by traditional iconographers, and the composition divided into a heavenly space and an earthly space references the arrangement of images found in the All Saints icons. The green "cloud" also evokes the feeling of a tree, tying in the I Corinthians 3 passage ("I planted, Apollos watered, but God  gave the growth") written out at the bottom of the piece. 

In the tree/cloud are roosting a flock of Goldfinch birds. These birds are traditionally rich in symbolism. The Goldfinch, who lives on a diet of thorns and thistles, was used in religious Medieval art to represent beauty from suffering, endurance, fruitfulness, and persistence. Birds in general were symbolic of souls drawn to Christ. Having the Goldfinches gathering around the central cross seemed a good way to translate the image of the saints surrounding Christ in the icon. 

Underneath the wax are pages from an old Bible. Passages from both the psalms about God's faithfulness and the Beatitudes are included on the pages. Metallic Gold is drawn into the top layer of the piece around the cross, and highlights the bottom of the Scripture passage referencing the holiness, preciousness, and royalty of God.
This artwork, finally was created in the tradition of Encaustic Painting. Over 80 layers of wax were painted on and then melted into the panel. The translucency lends an ethereal and aged quality to the work that nicely echoes the traditional aesthetic of the icon while maintaining a fresh contemporary feel from the clean texture of the wax. Encaustic pieces have the potential to last hundreds of years if cared for properly, so hopefully this archival painting will be around for years to come. 


  1. How exciting to visit you here! I love being able to hear the story behind the pieces you are creating. Good work, Phaedra.

  2. Thanks T! Excited about this venture and it's potential. Here's hoping for success!