Project Commentaries: And Martha Served and She Is Come Aforehand by Elspeth Young
By Elspeth C. Young
Elspeth recently finished the first half of a diptych depicting Mary and Martha of Bethany serving, as the two sisters are described in John 12:1-9. The finished painting of Martha shows this devoted disciple of Christ preparing the dinner at which her sister, Mary, anointed the Savior's feet with oil. Like Mary, whose service the Savior commended, Martha's offering of selfless service is also, "spoken of for a memorial of her" (John 12:9).
For more about the story and symbolism within this painting of Martha, please visit the following link:
And Martha Served
The second half of the diptych, showing Martha's sister, Mary, is well underway, pictured left. Elspeth is working on adding layers of glazes and scumbling to the face and hair, and blocking-in the lavender bushes in the mid-ground of the painting, preparatory to blocking in the rest of the figure. Both Al and Elspeth paint on a ground of acrylic gesso, usually four or more layers thick, that has been sanded between the application of each layer. Then an undiluted layer of raw umber is rubbed on the panel and allowed to dry before work on painting the image begins.