I Have the Perfect Lamb Lord by Mary Jane Q Cross

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Mary Jane Q Cross

I Have the Perfect Lamb Lord


71.12 x 55.88 cm | 28 x 22 in

Oil on panel

This work is on loan from a private collection.

"Purity is a singular perfection, as in a Passover lamb. My eight-year-old model had just learned that although newborn lambs are not named (since they might come to the dinner table) they are prayed over and blessed. With resolve and a bit of secrecy she said, under her breath, "But I am going to name this one Heidi." With this tender moment we began the photo shoot-words of life and death hanging in the air around us.

Days of painting progressed well. Both the lamb and girl were wrapped in loving tight arms as the rich blue apron encircling her dark garment was taking shape, holding the two together before God. There was a reverent seriousness in her, as she brought something to the composition I had not expected but recognized as uniquely her.

As this work unfolded another theme was added as I painted through nights of tears and prayers for Bill Corey, a dear friend and art collector who was in his final illness. His wife, Christine (the owner of this painting) and I often spoke, praying together for the trials ahead which would need comfort that could only come from God. The day Christine came to the studio and saw the painting on the easel, wet with my own fingerprints and tears, I faded into the background. Alone and stilled by her grief which filled the room, Christine could see that Bill was her perfect loved lamb to be let go of, to be given back to God. Their years of fulfilled times together had ended, but Bill's eternity had just begun.

Portrait painter John Singer Sargent's quote on his tombstone is written, 'To Paint is to Pray.' In our family of painters, it is the not so silent Spirit of God that weaves the fabric of our paintings and poems and that will outlive us in our art." - MARY JANE Q. CROSS