On April 29, 2020, Isaac posted this painting on Instagram, which he called Awaiting the Joyful Light. He wrote, “I finished this a few weeks ago. I painted it entirely plein air with fingers numb from the cold between 5 and 7 in the morning.”
Elsewhere, he drafted the following description:
Chicken Coop Awaiting the Gladsome Light is a plein air painting I worked on before the sunrise every morning for two weeks. Getting out of bed when the stars were still out to brave the wintry darkness was one of the hardest things I did each day, but the moment after working for an hour and a half in the darkness when finally dawn broke loose over the hills was one of the most rewarding. The title comes from the earliest known Christian hymn, the Phos Hilaron — the joyful, gracious, or gladsome light. Scripture tells us that the people who have walked in darkness have seen a great light. And Christ is that Dayspring from on high which will break upon us. As we wait for the coming of our Savior so too does this little chicken coop.
Isaac finished this about a week before Easter, awaiting the same joyful light that the first disciples encountered. “And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb.” (Mark 16:2) The Phos Hilaron is etched on Isaac’s headstone. We put it there because Isaac loved the Phos Hilaron as an evening hymn that is traditionally chanted as the sun sets. But now I’ve encountered further symbolism in that it also represented for him the light of dawn–even the new light of Him who has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 1 Corinthians 15:20
Awaiting the Joyful Light. 18”x24” [oil on canvas]
A substantial selection of Isaac’s artwork will be on display at the Smith Gallery of Davidson College between April 29th and May 5th, 2021. The exhibition was organized by his professors and fellow students in his memory.
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