SC State House is the ninth painting in a series I have painted as a visual snapshot of the state of South Carolina.
I took the photo that inspired this painting just a few days before the Confederate Flag was removed from a pole that was flying on the grounds of the South Carolina State Capitol. (The pole was located on the other side of the building from the view shown in the painting.)
Being born and raised in midwestern Wisconsin, the hotly debated topic of flying the Confederate flag on government property was quite shocking to me on so many levels.
We visited the State House on the evening of July 3rd, and there were police all over the grounds and people holding signs under the flag.
Our experience of roaming the grounds that evening was eye-opening to say the least. Both in comments we heard from generational residents coming to have their photograph taken in front of the flag before it was removed, as well as statements engraved on one of the monuments we read.
My goal in this painting was to simply create another piece which documents the physical beauty which abounds in South Carolina. I loved the symmetry found in the well-manicured gardens, so I created a piece which focused mostly on the lush paradise that is sitting in front of the SC State House.
I intentionally left the details of the Capitol Building to be somewhat blurred, as I prefer to just think of South Carolina as a visual paradise, and not so much about the history and politics which run so deeply here. Being a white, middle class person, this is easy for me to do.
I feel for those who are rightfully offended by all that the Confederate flag represents. My outsider eyes and ears find the whole controversy to be quite cut and dry, so I was happy when it finally came down from government property.
There are problems everywhere that are deeper, and bigger, and darker than we like to admit. That is all a result of the curse on this fallen world.
My hope for this painting, is that it would be a reminder to focus on the good that is around you. Focus on the things that you can control. Do the things that you can do. And let the things that are out of your hands fade back into the distance, so that your energy is not wasted.
Focus your mind on the good that YOU can do; focus your efforts on the good that you can BE.
Philippians 4:8-9 says:
"Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies."