Size: 8"W x 11"H x 0.25"D
Year Created: 2018
A few years ago I hosted an Advent Calendar where I posted a new painting every day of the 25 days leading up to Christmas Day. This was the release for Christmas Day and below is and adapted text from that post on December 25, 2013.
Here is my Tobacco Barn Manger, made for my Advent Calendar. Some friends have seen similar compositions of mine before as I've made several such images for churches. Sometimes I preached while drawing the barn/manger. This is a nice little drawing that conveys the same idea which is that the Lord arrived among us and no one was paying attention. The baby Jesus was born in a barn! We have told that part of the story so much it has lost meaning for us. It was a barn!
I lived in eastern North Carolina for a few decades. All around us off just about any highway one could see abandoned tobacco barns. These were wooden barns used to cure or dry tobacco leaves. Those that still grow tobacco are now using custom metal sheds as barns fueled by propane or natural gas, but years ago they looked like this above and had wood burning heaters. As the leaves of tobacco were picked they were speared onto long sticks that were then hung and racked by people that climbed up inside the barns. It was tough work, and many people in the south experienced 'barnin tobacco' at some point in their life. They all say it was miserable, sticky, exhausting work but many are almost nostalgic for the simpler times that 'barnin' represents.
Most of these type of barns are now abandoned. Sometimes they have porches or awnings and serve as a covered garage for a tractor or piece of equipment. And it is in a place like that where I imagine our Lord found his first shelter --a place no one cared about. You see, it was just good enough for these late-comers, these out of towners.
We miss the aspect of the lack of hospitality extended to Joseph and Mary. It has become such a quaint picture of a cute stable that we forget the basic offer of hospitality that was a part of the ancient world and how it grossly failed this couple and their son. This narrative points that out quite clearly in the case of Jesus's birth, which we will find to be a repeated theme throughout the life of Christ, and ultimately seen in the rejection of him and his execution. He came to his own and they didn't receive him --starting here. Too bad!
But that seems to be the way of God --to surprise us with totally different ways of operating --doing what is least expected as some struggle against light and life. The barn is a symbol of God overcoming inhospitable human beings but while actually joining and affirming the human race. Jesus, we will see, will run the race in a much better way. From the inside. Working his way up.
My name is Jack Anglin (JackAnglin.com) and I have painted almost all my life, making thousands of paintings and portraits. I am now painting full time in Virginia Beach and Norfolk, as well as traveling and following several visual interests. My artwork is eclectic and I am very capable working in great detail or also with expressive, colorful, deft brush strokes. I enjoy plein air work and studio painting and occasionally work entirely from memory. Subject matter that attracts me ranges from floral pieces to landscapes, marine subjects to religious and spiritual imagery, as well as figurative images and, of course, portraiture. My work is found in galleries but I'll be selling more online and connecting with a larger audience here and on my websites. Thank you for taking an interest in me and my work. It is a great honor to have my paintings bought and hanging in your home --it is the greatest compliment one can give an artist! I hope you will follow me and keep an eye on what I am up to in the art world.