what’s below the surface?

by: lisa evola

Have you ever been to an art museum and stood in front of a painting appreciating its beauty? The longer you stare, the more you seem to see as slowly the layers begin to fall away revealing what resides beneath.

Those layers at first would seem insignificant to the over-all picture, for it is the subject that we see on the surface that is what drew us to the picture to begin with.  It is all that matters in the end, right?

But nothing could be farther from the truth

Those layers give depth and fullness to what the average viewer sees when they look at a glance. I’ve experienced this firsthand when creating artwork. Laying down foundation layers always seems pointless to my students as we often cover them with a new layer, which then sometimes gets covered as well.

I’ve created and covered as many as 6 layers in some of the mixed media projects I have done. But as pointless as this may seem, it is those very layers that shine through in some unexpected and thought provoking ways, making them necessary to the overall composition and sense that the art can invoke.

Our lives are often like this.

We would love to get rid of some of the things from our past believing them useless. In fact some people will do everything in their power to cover them up, hiding all from the observing world around them.

But it is those experiences that build upon each other forming the beautiful layers that are our life. The layers that reveal the unexpected beauty of God. Yes, even the ugly layers.

The transformation that takes place when the Lord redeems and forgives us creates a multi-faceted canvas of beauty. Those ugly layers may not sit on the surface for all to see, but they are a part of the foundation that took us from where we were, to where we are now.  Those layers reveal the beauty of our struggles and the hope that ensued.

The key to revealing this layered life, is transparency.

As an artist builds up layers in their work, not everything that lies beneath is completely covered. Some parts are allowed to peek through, and others are covered by a medium that is transparent, allowing the depth of the experience to shine.

Our lives both past and present, are like that.

All of our experiences are used to create a canvas of beauty by the Lord. He is the Master Artist taking the layers of our lives, revealing some portions and recessing others to form an incredible foundation full of color and depth.

You may not see the beauty of the transformation if you are standing too close.

Step back

Look closely

And see how the layers reveal the beauty of your redemption.  


When we allow these layers to shine through instead of completely covering them up, the effect is amazing – sometimes even miraculous, and it serves to draw in the casual observer. We are meant to reflect the God colors of this world, to show who He is. How are you letting your layers shine?  Are you covering them completely? Or are you allowing some of what He has done for you to shine through?

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