This painting depicts the moment when Mary is taken to Heaven. As a little background, I am Catholic–and not very Marian. Catholics do believe that Mary was BROUGHT up to Heaven, and we call it the Assumption. It’s different from Jesus’ Ascension, in which we believe that He returned to Heaven–but Mary was BROUGHT up. It’s usually depicted as though she were floating.
I wanted to focus on a moment which I imagine must have been a joyful experience in Heaven (as Heaven rejoices over anyone who comes there), a special mother-son moment. I wanted to depict the Assumption in a way that showed Jesus TAKING Mary to Heaven. I wanted to bring out that loving bond between them. Let the picture speak the rest.
A note on the gates of Heaven–I didn’t want to put them in there at all. I knew I could never come close to bringing out their splendor–though that is true of anything else of Heaven as well! But with these I didn’t even know where to start. But as I was wondering if I should include them, I opened a book I was reading about Heaven and there it was describing the Gates! I didn’t know, but I thought it COULD be God speaking, so I decided to put them in. The description in the book wasn’t much help. So I just started and let it happen. There’s something closely resembling the Fleur de Lis in the middle. I didn’t plan that, but after it happened I googled it just to make sure there wasn’t anything wrong with the symbol. In fact, it’s very closely associated with Jesus, Mary, and the Holy Trinity, any one of which would have been fitting alone–for the Gates of Heaven, or for this painting specifically. And when embellishing it, a six-point shape appeared (I promise I didn’t do any of this on purpose!) which reminded me of the Star of David. I thought that was fitting too so I left it. Was God working through me? I don’t know. But it did just come together and contain symbolism I didn’t even know it had. So I don’t want to be presumptuous, but sometimes God does blow my mind so I wouldn’t be at all surprised.
After I’d completed the piece, I felt that, though valuable in its own way, the background was a distraction from what I intended to be the major moment of the scene. I ended up cropping the image closer to Jesus and Mary. I wanted to keep this original as well because there were some elements I didn’t want to lose, but I did go ahead and create a cropped duplicate as well. To see it, click here.