Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of January 28, 2008
Artist feels Jesus' agony as he paints saviour's wounds
Robert Bailey says he has been called by God to do painting of Jesus
By RAMON GONZALEZ
- photo supplied
The artist staged a crucifixion re-enactment to capture images for his painting.
He chose a graphic close-up of Richardson's bloodied upper torso on the cross for his first painting. Right above Jesus' peaceful face, just moments before he died, is a sign that reads Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, borrowed from Gibson's movie.
Forgive Them is the name of the 54x28-inch oil painting.
"The painting is graphic but I'm not afraid to show the violence (of Jesus' death)," he declares.
"I wanted to show the actual suffering; it was a brutal, horrific way of killing someone and I wanted to show it the way it was without any kind of sugar-coating."
Once completed in a few weeks the original will go on sale for around $20,000. Some 300 limited-edition prints will be made and will sell for about $175 each.
Bailey will also produce some 20 giclees - which are prints on canvas - that will sell for $700 a piece.
Painting the crucifixion has drawn Bailey closer to Jesus "because when I'm painting the face I can see and feel the agony and when I'm painting his wounds I'm imagining how painful that must have been," he said.
"Looking at the image tends to put our lives into perspective, that the problems that we have are not as big as we think. I mean, look at what they did to Jesus. He was perfect and look at what they did to him. So what can we expect?"
Bailey, an artist fellow with the American Society of Aviation Artists and a member of the Canadian Society of Aviation Artists, was born and raised in Staffordshire, England, and attended Longton College of Art.
He has been drawing and painting warplanes since he was four but was "sidetracked" into television and newspaper careers before realizing his dream of becoming an aviation artist some 17 years ago. Bailey came to Canada in 1964 and for a few years hosted a children's TV show in Kelowna.
Then he worked as a reporter/photographer for the Calgary Herald for 12 years until the late 1980s, when he was laid off. That's when he decided to return to painting, his God-given vocation.
It was perfect. "I'm a gregarious introvert so I like to work alone," he says. "I like to be in control of my working environment."
He paints in the basement of his humongous house, producing an average of three or four new limited edition print projects every year. His wife Michelle assists him in every project. His studio is full of plastic scale model aircraft, more than 350 tanks and ships.
Future projects include a painting of the crucifixion showing the three crosses - Jesus plus the two common criminals crucified along with him - with Jerusalem in the background. Within the next 12 months he may also do a painting of Jesus surrounded by children.
"I love to paint," Bailey says. "I have to paint to live. It's something I have to do. It's like an addiction."
For more information on Bailey's art contact Robert or Michelle Bailey at 780-963-5480.
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.