This was the fifth commission, and sixth Munro painting for the same family. One would think that by now, I would know exactly what they would want, but not so. The paintings they bought were all prayed through, seeking God’s guidance- always relying on Him.
This time the family requested an enormous painting for the foyer of their business’ head offices in Johannesburg. An excited e-mail outlined the commission:
“Ek het gedink aan iets prags van die natuur. Maar wat sê Jesus moet dit wees? Die woorde in my hart is warm, pragtig, asemrowend, gelukkig, vreugde, opwindend, opbouend…”.
I started out with a realistic approach. At this stage I thought it was onto something nice, but not an artwork that would “work” for my clients.
To give an idea of the scale, here is my wife with the work in progress.
At this point, I felt uneasy about the work. An artist friend popped by the studio to check on the progress. His opinion was that the painting lacked the wow factor he associates with my work.
That night I wrestled with God: I am His child; my clients are His children; why the boring painting? I pleaded for a breakthrough, and the next day, salvation came! I finished the work, and had it photographed and e-mailed to Estie for consideration. She loved it…but what does it mean, she wanted to know?
By casting the lot, the painting received the name “we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit”. The elephants represent family, strength and natural order. The golden circles were inspired by dust particles dancing in the rays of the sun, reminding us that our bodies are dust (earth), and will return to dust. The white birds are his Spirit, given to those who dwell in him. The yellow outlines symbolise the sun glory of God- his children bringing light to the world.