Holiness & Justice 3: Holy Ground?

This is the third in a series of 7 paintings I have made for Methodist Conference 2016, an introduction to the series can be found here.

The ideas within many paintings grow and develop over time, the process is so often key to working out where this journey of pigment on paper will lead. But just occasionally an image appears fully formed in my mind. Sometimes in the half awake moments at dawn as the imagination roams free from constraints a picture rises up fully formed from wherever these things come from. This is one such image:

H&J 3 High Res

I was asked to make this piece on the theme ‘Holy Ground’ and from there the image of a burning car came to mind. Then, over that I wanted to put a picture of Moses at the burning bush. I’m still not sure what this means. Oftentimes it’s only in retrospect after a few weeks or months the meaning of an image starts to become clearer to me. Conversations with other people reacting to the painting help that process.

A burning car always stands in the wake of a moment of destruction: a drone strike, a hidden bomb or an act of vandalism. There is nothing positive in this, it is a symbol of the will to death and chaos.

Years ago, one bonfire night, I awoke at 3am to a bang and a strange orange light pulsing through the bedroom curtains. Looking out I saw a car aflame on the road outside. Shocked wide awake I ran out, half naked into the November night. The brakes of the car had burnt through and it had rolled in flames slowly down the road to touch my neighbour’s car. I hammered on his door, urgent and alive, shouting to move his vehicle before the fire spread. The fire brigade were called as neighbours congregated on the street in dressing gowns and pyjamas, drawn by the macabre fascination of gazing upon wanton destruction. Glowing warm on our faces, it was a beautiful anarchy.

And Moses shields his eyes from the bush that is ablaze but not consumed by fire. His sandals cast aside because he is on holy ground, a most sacred moment as he hears the voice of God.

A car on fire: is Holy Ground possible in the midst of destruction? I don’t know, I really don’t.



A limited edition series of A3 size high quality art prints of these are available for purchase signed by the artist. All profits from the sale of prints will go towards funding the creative at 35 Chapel Walk, Sheffield.

Prices: £30 per print or £200 for the full set of 7. This is a strictly limited edition of 25 prints for each painting.

If you are interested in purchasing prints then please email me: rjstott@hotmail.co.uk

In addition the framed original paintings are for sale at £425 each.

All views on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Methodist Church




2 thoughts on “Holiness & Justice 3: Holy Ground?

  1. ” If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light around me become night’,
    even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is as bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.”

    I think that the answer is that God is no less present in the ravages of human suffering and destruction, but shares our pain and grieves with us.

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