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Oil on Braced Baltic Birch 16” x 14” (Framed)


Painted on a biomorphic shape resembling the whimsy of organic life, this imagined scene spotlights an illuminated manuscript resting on a bed of moss, surrounded by a plethora of flora and fauna. While journeying through the enchanted woods, Sophia discovers an old hymn penned by St. Francis of Assisi, known as the patron saint of ecology. In his famous nature hymn, Canticle of the Creatures (1225), he echoes the Psalms: “Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars. Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths.” [i] In 1910, William H. Draper paraphrased this canticle as a musical hymn for a children’s Pentecost festival in England. Some of the words from this hymn, All Creatures of our God and King, appear in my painting. It is an affirmation that humans sing not to their Creator alone, but actively join with the cosmic choir of creation.


One day I found a Common Green Darner Dragonfly outside my studio door, having succumbed to the first frost of winter. To my mother’s chagrin, I kept it in a clear box in her deep freeze for a year. Finally, I retrieved it to include in my painting as a eulogy. The hovering honeybee represents the sacrifice found among the smallest creatures. They pollinate plants, which is essential for ecosystems and our own survival.


The biblical book of Proverbs even recognizes that we humans can glean wisdom from insects: “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” [ii]


According to the Protestant Belgic Confession, nature is a means of divine revelation: “Like a beautiful book in which all creatures, great and small, are as letters to make us ponder the invisible things of God.” Sophia also sees this in the prismatic hues of crystal gemstones, such as Amethyst and Agate, which adorned the breastplate of the ancient Hebrew high priest as a sign of God’s splendour.


Atheists are quick to question the existence of an Intelligent Designer, pointing to unseemly creatures like beetles that make up 25% of animal species on earth. It is, in fact, estimated that insects make up a whopping 90%. As biologist J.B.S. Haldane declared, God must have “an inordinate fondness for beetles.” [iii] When Sophia gazes upon beetles such as ladybugs, it only strengthens her faith in the Creator of the universe, who took such care with the ‘least of these’.


[i] Psalm 148:3-4

[ii] Proverbs 6:6-8

[iii] Animal: Exploring The Zoological World (Phaidon Press), 7.

All Creatures Praise

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