A Priest and good friend of mine in Georgia called me on behalf of a friend of his who was Pastor at an neighboring parish. His Church was and built about 15 years age but suffered from an an uninspired design with seven windows across the back wall of the sanctuary that remained only clear glass and blinded the congregation every Sunday. I was invited to come up with a plan for stained glass and, given the seven windows, I suggested a theme of the Days of Creation. So I began designing for the center circular window. This window measured approximately ten feet in diameter. Since the Genesis story of creation has six days of activity and a seventh day of rest, my friend suggested a theme of adoring angels for the center circle window to represent the seventh day.
I was tired of presenting angels in a traditional “look” and wanted to depict them as “spiritual beings”. The consulting Father thought that, unlike all the windows I made for his church, these should feature a more contemporary look and be void of any vitreous painting. I was all for that too. Father loved the design but soon it began circulating amongst parishioners without any formal roll-out to present the entire concept for all seven windows. It didn’t take long for one in the parish to pitch a negative interpretation of the design. I’ll spare you the most of it but my favorite part of the prudish spin where she described my angels as “nubile” which left me in stitches. It was decided within the parish that all the plans to renovate the sanctuary would be put on “hold” and my designs for the windows shelved too. I wanted to respond to the disgruntled woman and ask her if she though the angels would be holier if they were fat and clumsy?
It is amazing just how much more inhibited, repressed and under-educated our culture is then virtually any time in the past, certainly more so than during the Renaissance or even the Victorian era. This design was for a round window about ten feet in diameter, in a size and format that is included in many church buildings. I’m hoping that, by getting the design out in public view, perhaps a more enlightened congregation will take a fancy to it.
Below are several shots of the design in-progress. Yes this is a watercolor done over graphite. I know many people assume that we do this by clicking a mouse-not so.
This pencil drawing above is an alternative drawing for the Angel figures, one which I ultimately decided that I didn’t like as much.