Sweeter Than Honey
by Phyllis Thomas
Acrylic and gold thread on masa paper.
9" x 9" - 2020
"The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair.
They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold.
They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb.
They are a warning to your servant; a great reward for those who obey them."
Psalm 19:9b-11 NLT
Pieces of Psalms; a meditation series
I love words and their definitions. Psalm 19 is like a thesaurus. When reading, you discover alternative words for God’s Word; instructions, decrees, commandments, statutes and laws. In fact, the Psalmist goes on to remind us God’s Word restores our soul, renews our mind, brings joy to our heart, enlightens our eyes, lasts forever, is true, sweeter than honey and more valuable than gold. Who wouldn’t want to experience these benefits?
There are so many ways this piece could have emerged and it did take different paths, but I finally settled on translating verses 9-11 because I began to see an image in my mind of something I have personal experience with every day; honey. Most of you probably know it has been documented that honey has medicinal properties; antibacterial, wound and burn healer, anti-inflammatory and allergy reliever. In fact one reference said it is one of nature’s best all-around remedies.1 Though all claims are not scientifically proven, I can agree with some of them as I personally consume a teaspoon of honey a day and our son ate propolis (a resin-like product bees make to build hives) as a child to relieve symptoms of respiratory illnesses.
Taking all these things to heart, I’ll invite you on my journey of making this piece. I began with color. If you’ve ever held a jar of honey to the light, you will see the dark and light rich yellow/orange tones shine through the transparent jar and it is eye-catching. Next I thought of the pattern of the honeycomb; perfect hexagons. That is a research project of its own, but briefly the shape best fills a plane with equal size units and leaves no wasted space, is the strongest shape known and the shape is everywhere in nature.1
Then I found a stencil of hexagons and as I began to work on the composition, I thought of the shapes as a stained glass unit so I decided to add color inside the shapes to reference stained glass. Historically, stained glass was used in and funded by the church and served to tell Biblical stories to lay people that could not read. They often included symbols and beautified churches and some say the windows had a more profound impact on the people than the sermons.1
To finalize my piece of Psalm 19, I painted a layer of liquidized gold leaf powder over everything and incorporated gold thread to add texture and reference the truth that God’s Word is precious and more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. When I look at this piece I am reminded that on top of all the other words I hear every day, God’s instructions are precious, pleasant, nourishing to the soul and more valuable than anything else. I must be diligent to read, observe, enjoy, and eat them every day of my life that I may receive all the healing benefits the Lord intended.
1 Internet searches
© 2020 Phyllis Thomas