Praise of the Heavenly Host [Painting]

I have a deep love for the angels because they have played such a huge part of my life ever since I was a child. Any of the guest we have had in our home would have a hard time avoiding it because I have very large series of angel paintings that run throughout the house. It’s a helpful and constant reminder for my prayer life.

Last Christmas during Midnight Mass, I was really struck by the verse in the Gospel reading that spoke of a sudden appearance of the heavenly host with the angel. I couldn’t even imagine how awe-inspiring of an experience it would have been to see that.

The Lord didn’t reveal that to the rich or powerful, but instead shared it with the poor and powerless. The humility of God expressed even in the audience of the proclamation.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Luke 2:8-14

I am painfully cognizant that I am unable to do this scene justice, but I felt inspired to share an artistic interpretation of this moment. It is a verse that shows a great example of the role of angels in our lives. This is something I hope to continue to promote through my teaching and ministry. The Lord is generous, and the angels are good. Our guardian angels serve to protect us and never stop trying to point us to Jesus.

To date, this is also my largest oil painting, and it hangs prominently in our home. I intentionally avoided anything referencing cultural interpretations of Christmas because I believe the proclamation of the coming Lord can be reflected on throughout the year.

This week in the liturgical calendar, we celebrate two separate days for angles, the feast of the Archangels September 29th and the feast of the Guardian Angels on October 2nd. Even though this painting was finished a few months ago, I wanted to wait until I was sure it was ready, and a more important time for the angels.

Praise of the Heavenly Host

Fun Facts:

  • Working on and off, this painting took me over 5 months to complete, but only 1 week of research, sketching, and preparation.
  • There is no definition of the classification of angel that delivers the message or the participants in the praise from the Heavenly host.
  • The shepherds were so caught off guard that they were filled with fear at the sight of the angel, which is completely understandable.
  • Angels often appear with perfect appearance. I often depict angels as very cut as their way of showing their superior strength and might compared to us, but really angels don’t have bodies. They only appear to us with them on occasion.

Here is a low quality preview of different parts of the progression of the painting.

HeavenlyHostPaintingProgress

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