Tag Archives | biblical art

The Annunciation

"Annunciation" by Jen Norton. Acrylic on canvas, 48x48"

“Annunciation” © Jen Norton, 2017

There are a million ways to say “no” to God.

Like Eve back in the Garden, we often listen to that little whispering voice telling us that we’ve been short-changed by God. “I’m not perfect enough.” “My Life isn’t going the way I planned.” “I deserve more.” We blindly take matters into our own hands, chasing things that makes us feel good right now. Born from the spirit but clothed in skin, we’re all capable of that fall. Honestly, I sometimes find it hard to be a thinking human and not know where to draw the line. It requires constant discernment.

But it only takes one “yes” for redemption. Mary showed us “Yes.”

I’m certainly not the first artist to paint the Annunciation. It’s a story that has captured the creative imagination and given hope for centuries. In a violent world, it reveals the power in the feminine quiet. It’s a story that challenges who we are and how much we really trust in God. It’s a story of a young girl, with young-girl plans, whose life was drastically altered by unexpected Divine Plans. It’s a story of God rushing in with all the force of Eternal Spring. Greatly Troubling indeed (Luke 29).

Yet Mary said Yes to God, and it seems she didn’t even have to work through the stages of grief! Maybe because her family got on board. Her parents sent her to a cousin who could comfort and support her (and get her away from village gossip!). Joseph listened to God and moved forward with the marriage. When called upon, he even fled everything he’d worked for and took refugee status. Her people stepped up. They didn’t leave her alone. In my humble opinion, that is a vital part of the story. In our politically-divided culture, it is worth remembering that supporting life as a Christian means not only letting it BE, but also not judging or withholding resources for those who face unplanned, life-altering circumstances. When it comes to Life and Love, God is all in. We should be too. We are called to family.

Be Not Afraid. I am trying.

Contact me to purchase this original. Information and other print products are available here.
Small prints made in my studio are available in my Etsy store here.

Hail Mary, Full of Grace

Hail Mary Art Print

“Hail Mary,” 22 x 30″, Acrylic on Canvas

Growing up Catholic, we were taught to honor Mary as the Mother of God through reciting the prayers of the Rosary. Like prayer-bead traditions from other religious practices, the Rosary is designed to slow you down and facilitate meditation. During the prayers, one contemplates the “mysteries” of Jesus’ life while honoring His mother as an intercessor for our needs. The practice strengthens us to avoid sin and open our hearts to the will of God. In troubled times, rote recitation can become a passionate plea, a lifeline to divine Grace.

Nothing can bring a parent to their knees quicker than something difficult going on with their child. This year found my husband and I having to hyper-focus our parenting skills on our teen child. Her transition to high school was difficult and we really had to open our hearts and minds to make the right choices for her future. In the end, we found we needed to change course and go in a completely different direction than we had imagined. Sometimes life is like that and you just have to let go and trust. I personally found great solace and wisdom in praying the Rosary during this time.

There are all kinds of arguments within Christianity about who Mary is and was. I can only say who she is to me. She was a teen girl, living in a Jewish territory on the edge of Roman rule. She was asked by God to “Be Not Afraid” as she became an unwed mother who gave birth in rough conditions in a foreign land. She adored her young Son, and then felt the angst of parenting a teen when she lost Him at the temple. Her wisdom led Jesus to begin His ministry with his first miracle at the Wedding at Cana, and with grace, she stood by his side as a witness to his devastating death by Roman crucifixion. Mary has been there and beyond. She has dealt with more than I hope I ever have to, so I trusted her to help me. She has not let me down.

In the whirlwind that life offers, Mary urges us to be still, wait patiently, and get to know her Son. She leads us to Jesus, and pleads on our behalf. What good son would refuse his mother?

I was inspired during my “year of parental tribulation” to create this painting of the Virgin Mary in the modern folk style I have used in much of my recent work. The words of the Hail Mary prayer weave around and through her as she shows us the way to her Son. I am known to over-think pretty much everything, but I find solidarity in the simplicity of Mary. Maybe you will too.

This painting was included in an online feature of Contemporary Catholic Women Artists by America Magazine. See it here (11th piece down):

Art Prints made in my studio are available in my shop here.

You may also order custom sizes and formats on my Fine Art America site here:

The prayer of HAIL MARY
Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.