“If even the smallest things are beyond your control, why are you anxious about the rest?”
Rodolfo always says how much he hates the phrase “The Devil is in the details.” I think he has a point. Much of the beauty of Creation can be found in the tiniest of details. And even the most frustrating of details are there for a reason.
This week I am at the Bethlehem Icon School, working on an icon of St. Luke, learning by doing. This is only my second icon (this was the first) and this concept of God being the one in the details has been a recurring theme for me this week. As an iconographer, you must learn to take a backseat to the real artist, who is God himself. You, as the painter, are more like the instrument than the musician. The quality of the instrument matters, of course. The same master violinist will sound wildly different on a student’s violin as opposed to a Stradivarius. But God is always the one holding the bow. It is actually quite freeing, because if there is a scratch in the gold, or a weird color on one part, it is not a mistake per se. It is still the icon that God meant for it to be.
It is really easy to get bogged down in the details. Is there too much egg in my paint? Why is that color going on so thick? Where the heck did that piece of gold leaf go in the three seconds since I turned my head? But I am learning to let go, to bless and accept my failures rather than cursing them, and to try and allow God to work through me.
My work is still very much in progress, but I’ll share God’s finished masterpiece with you soon. In the meantime, I will show you a closer look (a very close look) at some of the amazing details I have found at the Bethlehem Icon School. I hope they will help you find God.