Jesus with Burning Heart (by Joanna Whitney)
It all started back in 1988. I learned how to paint Intuitively. I had been a commercial artist in New York City and I became totally blocked and unable to work at all. I was a seeker – desperately needed a relationship with God but didn’t know it at the time. I learned Intuitive Painting and began painting prolifically. The first Intuitive Painting I did, the Holy Spirit showed up and started talking to me. In order to talk to that bird, I had to paint and then It would show up and talk to me.
This went on and I was led, eventually to a spiritual path and to a spiritual awakening, slowly over the next 18 years. In 2009, I had my 3rd run-in with Jesus, specifically. Up till this point, I had a relationship with God, the Creative Spirit of the Universe and I would beg Jesus for help when things got really bad, but I could not conceive of Jesus being in my life until the 3rd time in 2009, when I realized that I had been living the principles of Jesus rigorously, without even knowing it, so just accepting His name, albeit a surrender, was almost easy.
The problem was that I didn’t “get” the stories. I didn’t understand the Bible and I didn’t comprehend things that seemed 2nd nature to others – miracles and the teachings. I could not comprehend the phrase “Jesus died on the cross for our sins.” It just made no sense to me. A Christian artist friend and I were hanging out and I was trying to help him get started making art again, and we saw these Mexican Retablos. We decided, on a whim, to make our own retablos out of found material – trash. He and I spent the next 18 months illustrating famous icons out of recycleables and mixed media.
As we worked, I had an experience of Jesus. This became especially true with the Crucifixion, when I sculpted one out of wood that was 8’ tall. My heart opened and began to burn. My heart burned the supernatural burn for 3 days beginning August 9, 2009 and then again in May 2010 for about a week.
It all fit – making trash into art is what Jesus had done with our lives. The collaboration ended in the beginning of 2010. It took me about 6 months to begin making art again on my own. The first piece I made is Jesus with Burning Heart (pictured above) – which is my personal icon – Oil with Photographic Collage, and found metal on wood. 20” x 30”.
Joanna Whitney was baptized on July 2, 2010. She continues to make art, talk to Jesus, and teach Intuitive Painting in Denver, CO. She co-teaches Creative Renewal: Writing, Yoga & Intuitive Painting. She is also preparing to teach Non-Traditional Christian Iconography. These classes are designed to help others create prolifically, and also tap into Intuition thereby deepening their relationship with God. To view more of her work, visit www.joannawhitney.com.