9″x12″ Colored Pencil Original Artowork on tan toned paper

I love parables. I love how they give you a vivid illustration of a point. Some of my favorite  writing is the parables of Jesus. Many of the parables deal with farming, which people of Jesus’ day could relate to, but I find that even in the era of modern agriculture, they still ring true. However, I think there are many Biblical concepts that lend themselves to allegory or could be illustrated in a way that make them more relatable than just the parables. Much of my artwork is based on this idea and “Captive” is no different. “Captive” is the first work in a series called “Faith in Action”. “Faith in Action” is an art series that illustrates Biblical ideas or scriptures through the sport of rodeo.

Throughout 2023, our pastor was working on a sermon series about transforming your mind. One of the ways we learned about transforming your mind was to “take your thoughts captive” and examine them to see if they aligned with the truth of scripture. Second Corinthians 10:5 is the verse that lesson was based on. “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” When I heard this verse, I immediately thought of what it takes to stop incorrect thinking in its tracks, and the idea of a calf roper came to mind.

The sport of rodeo began as a test of much needed ranch skills, with calf roping being a skill necessary to catch calves for various reasons. Usually, a calf roper chases down a calf on horseback, catches it with their rope, stops it, dismounts from their horse and pulls the calf off it’s feet and ties its legs together so it can be doctored, castrated, marked for identification, or whatever else needs to be done. In rodeo, this skill has evolved into a timed event, with everything happening in just a matter of seconds. The speed that rodeo calf ropers work made me thing of how quickly that we need to bring our thoughts and mindsets to a screeching halt and examine them, which is probably an even more difficult skill to master than calf roping.

Then I went on the hunt for reference photos, as I unfortunately I do not have any of calf ropers, although I know many people who rope and have been to several rodeos. I found several that would work but found one of a young lady roping that I really liked. Women do not compete in the same roping events as men in rodeos, although I am sure there are many ladies out there that are just as good with a rope as any of the guys.  So I decided to use that photo for reference. However her shirt in the photo was dark, and I thought I would make it a bit more eye catching by changing it to a bright pink.

As far as the surface and medium goes, I have been working on toned paper a lot lately and thought the tan toned paper would be perfect to give the feel of rodeo arena dirt and colored pencil would really pop on that surface color and allow me to capture all the tiny details of the ropes and tack really well.

I hope you enjoy “Captive” and see how it illustrates 2 Corinthians 10:5 in a new and different way.