This blog represents the work and thoughts of Howard Lyon, Artist and Illustrator

From Fear to Faith

Prints are available of this piece.  For information on pricing and sizes, email

This painting is a little different than most of the work on my site.  I was commissioned to paint the passage in the New Testament describing Christ calming the tempest.  I wanted to use the painting to show the range of emotions, from fear on the far left, to faith on the right.  The closer the disciples are to the Savior, the more they turn to him, the more their faith increases and fear is pushed away.

The man on the far left is trying to save himself, he cannot see Christ and is in darkness, afraid, looking out at the storm.  The next two disciples, struggling with the rigging of the boat, are just starting to turn to Christ, though they are still engaged with trying to save themselves.  They are looking towards Christ and their faith is growing.  The man behind the mast was just a moment before grasping the sail, trying to right it.  At this point he has let go, and is turning towards the Savior.

The next three disciples have nearly pushed their fears away.  They are focused on Christ and the storms and turbulence of life have been tempered with a feeling of peace.  Finally comes Peter, kneeling at the Savior's feet.  Just a moment before, when the storm was raging, he had the faith to put himself completely in the hands of Christ, trusting Him, knowing that He would save him.

As I worked on the composition of the painting, I started to relate to some of the disciples, more often to those at the back of the boat than at the feet of Christ.  That is life though, learning, growing and better coming to understand your own spirituality.  I can say that at the times when it seems my life gets hectic and the winds and storms blow (which isn't all that often, I have had a wonderful life), I know when I exert the faith to include God in my day, there is a little less fear, a little more peace.

That is my thinking behind the construction for the painting.  I hope it gives the pieces a little more depth.  If you are interested in prints, email for more information.

A little side note.  In doing research for the painting, I decided that I needed some significant reference for the boat.  My wife and I did some research and feel that we had a pretty good idea of what the boat would look like.  In fact, there is a full scale model of what they believe is a boat that would have been on the Sea of Galilee around the first century.  It was, unfortunately in Israel, and that seemed a bit far to travel, not knowing if I would be able to even photograph it, let alone, light it the way I would need.

So, I built my own.  Smaller of course, but following the advice given by James Gurney in his book Imaginative Realism, I took the time to build a realistic model of the boat.  I designed the basic structure in Maya, printed it out and glued the paper to a sheet of poplar.  Cut out the ribbing and keel, assembled them and then glued on strips of balsa wood.  a day and half later, a boat that I could get wet, light, scratch up and play around with.  Some of the best reference I have ever had for a painting.  Here is a shot of it:

Thanks for letting me share.  Don't worry, the dragons and trolls and elves aren't going away, but you will probably see a wider range of subjects this coming year. :)