"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A preview.

The Dream Secret
T. Nelson 2013

Preview of a painting I've been working on for months... a couple of other shots here

[The flash back obscures the already obscure image of the Blessed Trinity at the top.]


  1. Not too creepy? Did you look closely? Thanks though!

    Look - I can post a comment!

    Anyway - the subject is a dream I had shortly after I returned to the Church years ago - in retrospect it seemed to be somehow kind of prophetic - a personal interpretation of the Third Secret perhaps - hence the title. The saint at the forefront is St. Nicholas - patron saint of children.

  2. so whats up with the nudist Bishop? Guess Im confused on this one

    1. It was part of the dream.

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks Thom. I'm letting it go for now and when I return I will do more glazes and add a couple of details.

  4. I want to comment, but I really don't have any comments, other than to echo what Thom said:

    I like it.

  5. This is shocking, frankly. And so sad.

    But I think I know what you are saying and I just want to hug and protect that sweet pious innocent child.

  6. I honestly just keep gazing at it. It draws my eye all over the surface. Questions arise that don't need specific answering, like, is that incense or the smoke of satan? Are these people on the altar blocking out the light of God that's coming through on the right side? Are those people poor in spirit walking from behind?

    Do you paint generally dark to light?

    Build up with small strokes?

    Build up with transparent glazes?


    Oh, Henry Morgentaler died today.

    You won't believe the captcha: "diabolical Roleson"

  7. Oh yeah, and it's magnificent work, btw.

  8. To quote Charles Montgomery Burns at the public unveiling of his portrait in the Springfield National Gallery, "I'm no art critic, but I know what I hate...and I don't hate this." *smile*

    I keep clicking back on to it to look at it closely. Is it okay to say that some of it seems to make me sad for some reason?

    Thank you for sharing it with us, Mr. Nelson.

  9. Good work..I know its hard to show people a work that is personal to you. I do have to ask, and I am not trying to be snarky..what is up with the pumped up and cut mostly naked bishop and the guy kneeling in front of him(yes, I know that this is a communion rail?) Is this a comment on the church abuse scandals? Are the people in back the real saints of the church while the dominating figure is the one who gets all the attention (media) for his abuse of his vocation?

    Interesting whatever you are saying?

  10. Thanks everyone for your thoughts and kind words.

    Briefly, all I can say is that the dream remains rather vivid in my memory and I never fully understood it until after the scandals. At first I had thought it was diabolic - a nightmare - mocking the Church, as well as a temptation against the Church. Over the years I understood it differently.

    In the painting, I lightened up on how the 'bishops' depicted really appeared in the dream. The bishop holding the child was much more creepy, and he always suggested to me two things, the tolerance of abortion and contraception by churchmen, as well as the sexual exploitation, disregard, and sexual abuse of children. As I said, the bishop is toned down in the painting - in the dream he was wearing garish make-up and his fingernails were painted, and he was especially effeminate. The image was so repulsive, I neutralized those aspects for the painting.

    The naked man partially dressed 'as a bishop' represents homosexuality in the clergy. In effect, he is a bishop's boy toy masquerading as a minister of the Eucharist. He illustrates the corruption in the Church, the lack of faith in the Eucharist and the sacraments, and the emptiness of decorum without a living faith.

    The ordinary people are the faithful and they look to the apparition of the Virgin, making intercession with her to the Trinity. before my conversion I often dreamed of Our Lady, yet I could only see her form from the back.

    The smoke is incense, yet later I wondered if it wasn't the camouflage of the 'smoke of Satan' as PPVI mentioned - masking the filth in the Church.

    There is no Mass being celebrated - just clerics going through the motions at the altar. The statues are covered as for Lent, while it is a call to penance, it also represents the eclipse of solid Catholic teaching and tradition as well as devotion. The Trinity remains present none the less, the Father offering the Son in the Holy Spirit - if you could see closely, the Father's body conforms to that of the Crucified - it is a sign of the Father's love and a pledge of redemption.

    The church interior is an interpretation of a downtown parish church I once attended regularly. Later on, a more or less dissident bishop became the pastor there.

    This is a brief explanation - the meaning is multi-layered and complex. I painted it to work through some things and to put them in perspective. The fact St. Nicholas - an image I borrowed from another artist - the fact he is present as the patron saint of children and orthodoxy speaks for itself.

    I painted in oil technique, so layering colors, washes and glazes was important. I still have things to add in the composition, but I'm taking a break from the panel for now.

    I hope this answers your questions.

    Thanks for commenting.

  11. I think the most shocking thing for me is how familiar it all seems. It wasn't my dream personally, but somehow I know it and know it all too well.

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