“Silver Light No. 2”
The COVID-19 global pandemic has brought a sense of pause into our daily lives. People are either trying to stay healthy or battling the illness. In this enforced period of isolation and sheltering-in-place, artists are turning inward into their studio spaces with new perspectives. For Delro Rosco, in his home in Hawai‘i , the landscape is a powerful connection to his spiritual and art-making practices. Rosco’s work titled Golden Light No. 11 from his series New Mornings, was scheduled to show in a group exhibition at The Breath and the Clay Conference in March, but the event has been pushed back to June. These works capture the experience of acknowledging God’s hand in the environment and how he uses these symbols to communicate with us. Rosco came to the Lord with questions, sorrow, and a desire to know God on a deeper level. He came away with a series of work that is as beautiful as it is painful and glorifies God’s design for our experience of beauty on earth.
New Mornings began with the artist walking to the beach in his hometown of Ewa Beach on the island O‘ahu, Hawai‘i every morning before dawn, symbolic of his desire to experience God’s new mercies. There, he would pray and “focus in on one or two things that caught my attention or moved me like the color of the ocean or washes across the sky.” He says, “I will find beauty in the simplest things to look at.” At first, the artist didn’t paint. This morning ritual became a meditation, spiritual inspiration that he would carry for the rest of the day as he read the Bible and continued to work as an illustrator. It took some time for the desire to paint to develop, and once it did, there was no intention to share the artwork. Rosco had lost his mother to cancer, and it was a close friend that was in need of some encouragement because of his own health issues who quoted these verses from Lamentations 3:22-23, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Rosco would work diligently on New Mornings, each layer of paint capturing a moment in time and the experience of finding hope that was awakened with each new sunrise. He started to collect soil and sand and create textures on a variety of surfaces. This became a healing, spiritually fulfilling process, one filled with struggle, triumph and comfort. Now, when Rosco reflects on missing loved ones, he can recall precious moments spent with each one. He regards the power of these conversations, those shared times with kindred spirits, as gifts.
“Golden Light No. 11”
Rosco never imagined that he would share this series. Encouraged by his wife, and later by a colleague in the art world, Rosco participated in the Late Late Show at the 2019 CIVA Conference. This opportunity allowed him to showcase his work and philosophy. The response was immediate and positive. New Mornings is a body of work about the journey from darkness to light, from the absence to joy to the revelation of hope. The resulting beauty is a testimony to God’s love and the deeper meaning behind the experiences of our human lives. Rosco recognizes this process as a divine experience, one that he now shares. “The purpose of it all and how God continues to take me on these journeys – is that it is for others,” he says. “When these works start to evolve and their own language starts to form, I have very little do with it. It will keep speaking in different ways to different people.”
Teaching a workshop at the College of the Ozarks, Rosco inspired the students to create pigments from local soil and incorporate this and pulverized stones into their artwork, just as he had done. This beauty-from-ashes moment enriched the workshop, and the resulting work from students left a profound impact on Rosco.
This summer, The Breath and the Clay Conference is scheduled to be held virtually from June 19-20, 2020. A variety of keynote speakers, workshops, and performances will bring together artists and creative thinkers to discuss and celebrate art and faith. In addition to creating his new series of work called Open Spaces, Rosco and other artists from Hawai‘i are working together on the Aloha Art Ambassadors YouTube Channel. In this world-wide time of pause and reflection, they offer their talents through various art forms to offer encouragement.
Rosco working in Miloli‘i, Hawai‘i
All images courtesy of Delro Rosco.