Figurines or Stick-mans?

Abigail Ibinabo Iyowuna
4 min readSep 8, 2023

The guide called it a prophetic painting. It was the first time I had heard something of that sort.

The guide had carefully placed the painting materials before our arrival, the presentation was beautiful. I would really like to stop referring to her as, “the guide”, but you see, this was a while ago, and I can’t seem to remember her name. Black aprons with her logo were neatly folded and placed on throw pillows. Tiny easels were arranged around a table at every painting station just above the throw pillow, and a 4x4 canvas was placed on each easel.

By the left side of each easel were three paint brushes of different sizes; one for large strokes, one for smaller strokes and the last for detailing. On the other side was a red cup filled halfway with water for cleaning the brushes, alongside pieces of serviette for wiping off the water and traces of paint left on the brushes. Just in front of each easel were colour guides and palettes, where the guide would later pour out different colours of choice.

I picked up my apron, wore it over my neck and secured it with a bow. I sat on the throw pillow where I had picked up the apron, just in front of what would become my painting station for the day. I picked up the colour guide and saw that different colours were arranged in a column right in the middle of the guide, and on either side of the colour was a “good and bad” connotation of the colour. I prayed just as our lovely guide had recommended, asked the Lord for what he wanted me to paint, and then asked the guide to pour the colours blue, white, green, red and yellow onto the palette I held. Did I have a clear picture of what it was I wanted to paint? I don’t think that I did, but I was enthusiastic nonetheless and trusted the Lord’s leading.

I let out a deep breath, picked up the largest of my paint brushes, dipped it into the colour blue and started making vertical strokes across the entire canvas till every surface was covered in a shade of blue that I believe is commonly described as royal. When I was done, I dipped the brush into the red cup, swooshed it around a bit to wash off the paint, lifted it out and wiped it dry with a piece of serviette before placing it aside. I picked up the smallest brush, dipped it into the colour green and painted a small figurine at the bottom left of the canvas. This figurine was nothing remarkable, I’m intentionally calling it a figurine to add a bit of “pizazz”, a more appropriate description would be a stick-man. I painted a stick-man. I painted the stick-man by making a circle forming the head and then extending several vertical lines from the head forming the body. I later found out that the figurine was meant to depict me.

In a small section of the colour palette, I poured out a bit of yellow paint I had scooped up and a bit of red and mixed them using small circular motions to create a tangy orange. I picked up my medium-sized brush, dipped it in this beautiful tangy orange and painted a medium-sized circle using small circular motions in the top left corner of the canvas depicting the sun. And then I painted tangy orange streaks using lines that tilted sideways, extending them from the sun to the figurine.

These streaks extended beyond the figurine and even went as far as the left end of the canvas. I dipped that brush into the red cup, swooshed it around a bit, wiped it dry and then dipped the brush into the colour green and painted an even larger figurine with an even larger circle for a head that was completed in one motion, and longer and thicker vertical lines for the body, at the left end of the canvas. I placed my brush aside after that because I knew that I was done.

It was the least visually appealing painting I had made in my entire life, it had the expertise level of a kindergartener. But I knew that, at that moment, that was what the Lord would have me do.

When I started painting, I leaned into the negative connotations of the colours that I used. I leaned into blue symbolizing the depressive season that I was currently in, hence blue as the background; a big ray of frustrating orange shinning down on me causing me to exist in and grow in isolation, but when I asked the Lord why he had asked that I paint stick-mans (aka figurines 🌚) and the sun on a particularly blue background, his words left me in a seemingly endless stream of salty tears. He painted a picture of being enveloped in serenity, a picture of his love constantly shining down on me and causing me to grow.

The prophetic painting.

Tell me friends, is it remotely close to anything you imagined?

--

--

Abigail Ibinabo Iyowuna

Improving my writing skills by writing consistently(ish) on medium.