Saturday, March 23, 2013

Lion of Judah

Lion of Judah
12" x 12"
Acrylic on Aquaboard

I was thrilled when I was asked to paint a portrait of a lion: a nice break from farm animals and pets.  I adore painting all types of animals, but this one offered a special challenge: how to paint a lion strong yet welcoming?  In history, literature and life, a lion has been a symbol of strength, leadership, loyalty, royalty and honor.  In the Bible, The Lion Of Judah is a symbol of Jesus Christ:   "Jesus is commonly referred to as the 'overcoming one' and 'the one qualified to open the scrolls and seven seals.'  According to the Book of Revelation 5:5,  Jesus was the 'sacrificial Lamb' and the 'Lion of Judah.'  The prophecy of the coming of the Lord to 'judge the world' as the Lion of Judah is clear all through Revelation 5: 1-5." (   The only time I remember a lion referred to as "cowardly" was in The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.  Even then, in the end, the Cowardly Lion discovers he has had courage the whole time--he just wasn't giving himself credit for it.  In yoga, the lion pose (Simhasana) is one in which, if done properly, shows no shame.  In essence, you take a strong kneeling pose, widen your eyes,  open your jaw as far as possible, stretch your tongue out and down, and, finally, roar as loud as possible.  In nature, a lion is able to spot danger and head it straight on full force.  A lion teaches us that when we are faced with insurmountable struggles,  we need to find our inner lion, roar and face our challenges despite our fears.  Now that takes courage!

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