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When I arrived at the church, the praise service had already started. It wasn't as crowded as I expected, so I found a seat next to someone I knew. She greeted me with a smile and a hug. It's nice to visit churches where people are friendly, like the song said, where everyone knows your name. I asked if it were ok to me to sit there, as I watched she moved a tamborine on to the floor at her feet and I moved in. When I looked up there were women running through the isles with banners. At first I thought I was dizzy, a sudden rush of blood to the head, or something. There was so much movement, so much energy, It was if I just noticed it. The colors were vibrant, red, yellow, blue and white all in a flurry of energy. I don't remember the song that was being sung, but I asked my friend could I use her tamborine. She nodded and gave it to me while saying that it wasn't hers, that it was just left on the pew. I hadn't played, or banged on a tamborine in a while, but like riding a bike or swimming, it's something your body doesn't forget. I played, and sang as long as I could, then I was compelled to dance. Without much room to move about, I just raised my hands and waved them around to the music, bent my body back and forward and paused as I looked up and forward toward the front of the church. In the spirit, I saw a dove above the alter, just lingering, like the dove in the story of Jesus being baptisted by John. That was the conception of "When praises go up" The image stayed with me, I made a quick sketch in my notebook and then another later that night. I labored with the paper, rubbing, blending erasing and etching into it. Finally giving birth to the idea of Praise.

When Praises Go Up
Graphite and colored pencil