Several months ago I posted a watercolor calligraphy of Philippians 4:12-13. Since this is one of my favorite verses, I kept my design sketches, planning to try the same design again in a different color scheme. Below are the two versions. You can see how simple changes can really impact meaning. In version 1, the line “I have learned the secret of being content…” was painted in a pale yellow. Version 2, I left the letters white, painting the negative space around them pale blue to make them show up. The word “Christ” takes on a more dynamic role in version 2, using value to create depth and a splash of yellow-orange for color contrast. Also, in version 2, I wanted to emphasize the all-encompassing “every” within the word “everything.” This ties in with the wording of verse 12: “any & every circumstance”. Remember, Paul was writing from prison…at a time when prison did not mean orange jump-suits and three square meals a day. So, when he says he’s learned to be content in every circumstance through the strength Christ gives him, he means it! “Strength” was a focal point in version 1. Version 2 is tweaked to place more emphasis on the source of that strength, namely the cross of Christ. His perseverance, triumphing over Hell and the grave, is what gives us hope in the first place. Without that hope; without that victory; the difficulties of this life would continually crush us.
Design-wise, I decided to create a triangular balance with the red-orange color. The cross in “STRENGTH” and the reference of Philippians form the other two corners of that triangle. All other words in the design were kept in the blue family, varying values to create contrast as needed. I’ll admit, I was struggling to get the aqua colors the way I wanted them. I kept dabbing and pulling green off the paper, trying to lighten letters that were too dark. In the end, I cheated, using a thin wash of acrylic over top to lighten and brighten the aqua. So, while it’s basically a watercolor painting, technically it’s mixed media.