The fluidity of this painting entitled “Baptism” is beautiful! I can’t find much information about the artist, Julie Howard, but I did find her artist’s statement about this work from an exhibition at the Linus Galleries in California. She says: “If the meaning of baptism could be boiled down to one word, that word would be identification. Baptism speaks primarily of a personal, public identification that is, to many individuals, representational of a new beginning. The color variations of the water depict the calmness and peace in knowing and experiencing faith and believing in real hope.”
Growing up in Montana, my Dad was the stock inspector for the county and—believe it or not—this has helped shape my understanding of baptism. Any time cattle or horses were moved across the county line, my Dad was called to go out and inspect them to make sure the person doing the moving was the owner and not some thief. He could tell who owned the livestock by their brand. My dad’s name was Forrest “Frosty” Lattin (pictured below). Our cattle and horses had his brand—FL. That’s how his livestock were identified as his.
Being Human connection: Each of you has a brand as well, it’s just not as visible. When you were baptized, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever. Julie Howard used “identification” as a key word in baptism and I agree. We have been identified as God’s child. And for our sake, Jesus identified with our suffering to the point of death. The world is full of thieves trying to steal our identity, but God has put his seal on us and it is forever. If you’ve forgotten who and whose you are—remember your brand. It identifies you as a named and claimed child of God. And nothing can take that away from you.
My Dad, Frosty, in his tack house:
Featured art: Julie Howard, “Baptism” (https://linusgallery.com/art-gallery/juried-art-exhibition-artist-howard/)