> Weekly Torah Portion > Beginner > Art of Revelation

Crossing the Sea

Beshalach (Exodus 13:17-17:16 )

by Yoram and Meira Raanan

“Crossing the Sea,” 2006, acrylic on canvas, 90 x 120 cm.

The Children of Israel entered the midst of the sea on dry land and the waters were like a wall on their right and on their left. (Exodus 14:22)

In the painting, we see and feel this tumultuous drama unfolding. The waters swirl and rise high, as a gentle light seeps in to illuminate the pathway of the people who are about to walk through the sea.

This painting came into being through a process that mirrors its subject. First, a visit to an underground sea aquarium inspired a misty, colorful abstract painting with hints of clouds. Through Raanan’s desire to reach deeper and break through the barrier of mere beauty, a deeper image arose. As he threw water and swashed the canvas with paint, he saw a depth of blue emerging that looked like a huge wave, like a massive wall of water. “It had tremendous presence. I had not intended to paint it – it just appeared there. I was thrilled with this image, but I did not know what to do with it immediately. When I began to think of it as the biblical crossing of the sea, it came together. Only then could I allow it to be what it was. In the final stage, I added dashes of color, suggesting people. I could accept this figuration because the painting now had much more integrity and power and depth, perhaps even awe.”

Even though the Israelites crossed the sea thousands of years ago, the parting of the sea remains a timeless metaphor for taking a leap of faith and forging forward to discover hidden treasures. The crossing of the sea represents trusting the process of breaking through to find and reveal what is concealed within.

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