In Perfect Peace

In Perfect Peace

I'm always thrilled after getting vision from God for my next Painting, but when he gave this one I stood up from my chair. Always in awe of Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth. Not only because of his undaunted work and success in the Civil Rights Movement, but also because of his dedication and devotion as a Man of God. After much personal research I would be blessed to meet Mrs. Sephira Shuttlesworth who would single handedly ignite a fire of inspiration in me like none other. I had the honor of meeting with her several times and being blessed not only by her storied memories of her great Husband, but she would show me his personal belongings which took me to another dimension of fire in which Christ himself would abide. She would tell me of a specific episode in which Reverend Shuttlesworth would visit the Sixteen Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, right before he would become ill. While there he would meet an out of town photographer who was intrigued with him and wanted to follow him doing a volume of shots.Reverend would then decide to leave there and return to his old Church in Oxmoore, Alabama, where he first started out. A Church which was very old and without all of the luxuries and amenities of the modern day big city mega Churches. A man who had traveled and Preached all over. Meeting kings, Presidents and seeing awesome triumph and tragedy, would return home one more and one last time. Upon entering the old Church he would sit down on one of the old wooden pews. No one present except the presence of the Church's ultimate owner. The same owner who had bought him with the blood of his Son, Called him into the power of Ministry and who had Chosen him for the power of worldwide Social change. Without any incandescent lighting only sunlight would shine through the windows or should I say Son Light. Generated by the very Son of God. With the photographer doing his best to keep his composure he would take a shot that would change my life. Reverend would sit down on an unpadded pew and begin to meditate and enter the heart of the God who had Saved his soul and his life so many times. The man who's favorite Scripture had been "thou will keep him in perfect peace who's mind is stayed on thee" would enter the peace of God back home. I would look at the photo with awe and intrigue. The lighting so powerful yet challenging and forcing me to leave my thoughts of "American Art" to enter the complex style of the Dutch Masters. Lighting which challenges the Artist to leave the advice of his mind and cling tightly to the raw truth of his eyes. I would study the photo and experience Gods additions to the already challenging image. He would instruct me to place the Four Little Girls killed in the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church near the wall and right window. I would carefully choose four beautiful girls to represent the Four heroines and have them join their arms as the Civil Rights Soldiers would. God would also instruct me to place a guardian angel behind Reverend. Indeed after multiple bombings of his home, multiple physical beatings which should have killed him, and a fire hose encounter from Bull Conner which should have killed him for sure, this Angel had to consistently be heavens employee of the month. I would use the same care to hear God in choosing a Deacon from New Bethlehem Baptist Church as the perfect model for heavens security for the Civil Rights General. I would start my actual painting with the old tiled floor. Worn very deeply by the many steps taken over it. A deeper challenge would be to do each individual tile which would serve as it's very own abstract painting. The complicated lighting would challenge me to no end on the floor as well as the old wooden pews. The varnished wood demanded my undivided attention in retaining the woodgrain as well as the strong craftsmanship and intricate detailed carving. The Angel and the Four Girls would require their own separate style of translucent painting which would not only demand the translucent style but the maintaining and consistence of the the odd overall room lighting. I would then start on Reverend. Mrs. Shuttlesworth would always remind me to do a great job and bear in mind that he would be watching as I worked. I can really say that his presence was truly felt in the Studio. For way over 1,600 hours I meticulously worked to capture his likeness as well as his God Anointed spirit. From his black Stacey Adam shoes to his black Fedora hat and black suit I was forced keep my mind on the Dutch Masters style and to keep the room lighting in it's very dominance. The cane between his legs and the yellowing sunlight on his white silk shirt was something that my eyes would continue their truth telling of color to me. He always combed his hair back and his mustache always trimmed very distinguished. What must he be talking to God about ? After all that he had seen. After all that he had experienced. After all that his Faith had been tried to believe. To still sit down after keeping the Faith and Fighting such a world changing good fight. To sit in the presence of the true Mover of the Movement - Satisfied with the work he had done speaking loudly in this blessed quietness. Kept by the power of God. Kept "IN PERFECT PEACE"

All of the Artwork by Steve R. Skipper on this website is copyrighted by Anointed Homes Art LLC.
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