“Ladder to the Moon”, Globe Inspired by O’Keefe

Looking through some art books recently, I was struck by how many paintings had ladders pointing toward the sky.

From the very early depiction of Jacob’s ladder from the 4th century Catacomb of the Via Latina.

catacomb via latina

To this painting from the french school,  c. 1490, interpreting the same story-

Art from the Christian tradition features the story of Jacob’s ladder as it is told in the Old Testament scriptures. It tells of a man’s vision of a supernatural world not visible to the human eye, but real nevertheless; a world where angels ascend and descend a heavenly stairway. Here’s a beautiful drawing, c. 1728, by Gerard Hoet

La escalera de Jacob, Gerard Hoet, Biblia Ilustrada, 1728

As the centuries have gone by, artists have continued to depict sky ladders, though the narrative is less clear. In modern art, ladders are often placed in ambiguous settings with no clear destination, such as in Anselm Keifer’s “Seraphim” from 1945-

seraphim by kiefer

Most recently in 2016, Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang’s “Sky Ladder”, used explosives and a giant balloon to give viewers a fiery visual stairway stretching up hundreds of feet overhead.


Guo-Qiang said :  ““…I want to make a ladder to connect the Earth to the universe.”

Is it a connection to the universe artists are seeking? Or to the unknown?

One of my favorite ladder pictures is by Georgia O’Keefe. In “Ladder to the Moon” (1958) there is no destination and the ladder itself is suspended in mid-air, disconnected from the ground. O’Keefe’s picture seems to be asking, “Is there something more?” and “Can we get there?”


Voices all around us tell us there is nothing beyond this physical world, and yet, most of us live as if there is. We interact with the world in such a way that affirms the existence of things that we cannot see: love, justice, mercy, hope, numbers, logic, etc. These things are evidence for a world beyond.

When I observe sky ladder art that was created out of the Christian tradition, I perceive a strong sense of certainty. The existence of the supernatural is a settled issue. In contrast, there are questions being asked in the modern depictions, and the viewers are given no answers.  Why do artists continue to paint sky ladders? Even the briefest study of art history makes this plain. They reveal the universal longing for immortality.

As a Christian, I believe there is a spiritual realm that is just as real as this one, and I identify with the artworks that depict a ladder firmly planted on the ground, in real space and time, with a sure destination at the top. Unfortunately, we can’t reach the supernatural realm by ladder, but the Bible tells us many things about what it is like and how we can get there when our lives here are complete. The words of the Psalmist still speak to those who are anxious about the future climb: “I sought the LORD, and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4).  Jesus Christ encouraged all who are searching for answers: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)

I wanted to alter this small globe as soon as I saw it on the clearance aisle! The paper was just torn a bit, so I tore it off completely and got out fiber paste medium and paints. I decided to use O’Keefe’s painting as my inspiration. It reminds me of the universal longing humans have for another world.  The desire for this world is so powerful, even the most ardent deniers, such as O’Keefe herself, cannot escape its pull. They hint at it in their compositions.

globe 7



IMG_8487IMG_8601globe 6 IMG_8604 globe 10 Have a blessed day and thanks for stopping by to see my art!

~Scarlettokeefe 6

Inaugural Women in Apologetics Conference at Biola University





This event is the first of its kind and I suspect it will be the first of many more.

The inaugural Women in Apologetics conference, hosted by Biola University, takes place this coming weekend, January 19-20th.

Christian apologetics is a branch of Christian theology that aims to present historical, reasoned, and evidential bases for Christianity, defending it against objections.

The keynote speakers are 4 accomplished apologists:  Mary Jo SharpNatasha Crain, Melissa Cain Travis, and Hillary Morgan Ferrer,.


In addition to the keynotes, there will be 12 breakout sessions, each featuring specialized topics, answering questions such as, “Can we trust the Bible?”, “Does Christianity oppress women?”, and “Who is Jesus in Islam?”



I have the priviledge of participating as a breakout speaker at this historic event! You can see me on the bottom row, third over. Can you guess what I’ll be talking about?

The arts, of course!

The title of my talk is, “A Creative Defense: How the Arts Point to God”.  There will be three main areas of interest: shared aesthetic experience, recognition of beauty, and the uniqueness of human creativity.

My Google slides are ready, my dress is back from the cleaners, and I have a ready supply of chocolate for the trip!

If you have any questions about this upcoming conference, please don’t hesitate to contact them here.  And if you are able to make it to Biola next weekend for the conference, please stop by and say hello!

Have a blessed weekend!


Scarlett Clay WIA 2018


“Muddle Knowledge” ~ A Haiku on Molinism

Molinism Haiku 2


This composition is dedicated to the Christian philosopher, Paul Helm. Of all the authors I’ve read in 2017,  he has had the most profound impact on my doctrinal views.  Paul Helm is a brilliant British philosopher and theologian of the Calvinist persuasion, and on deeper issues of  Christian doctrine, his writings have aided my understanding. On an especially esoteric theory called Molinism (Middle Knowledge), his writings have been extremely helpful.


Muddle Knowledge

liberty of indifference

decadent Jesuit

dealing God a good hand

by Scarlett Clay, 2017



Title and line 1:  Play on the phrase “middle knowledge”, which is often used as a synonym for Molinism, taken from Helm’s article here. First phrase- Paul Helm calls the ‘liberty of indifference” a rationale upon which Molinism depends. You can read it in context at Helm’s Deep.

Line 2: Blaise Pascal, Pensees. Penguin, 1966.  This phrase is used in #964 on page 340.

Line 3: W.L. Craig explains how Molinism views God as being dealt a hand of cards here.





A Peek Into Narnia



One of the things we love about the Narnia series is the magical wardrobe. Throughout the stories, Lewis is asking us to consider that reality includes more than what we see in our daily lives. The conversation the Pevensie children have with the Professor is revealing. Their younger sister, Lucy, insists that she has discovered another world and her siblings find it hard to believe…

How do you know your sister’s story is not true?” the Professor asks them.

“Why don’t they teach logic at these schools? There are only three possibilities. Either your sister is telling lies, or she is mad, or she is telling the truth. You know she doesn’t tell lies, and it is obvious that she is not mad. For the moment then, and unless any further evidence turns up, we must assume that she is telling the truth.”

Of course, Lewis used this same logical reasoning to argue for the truth of Christianity in many of his literary works.  He hadn’t found any evidence to suggest that the person called Jesus of Nazareth was a liar or a lunatic. At the age of 32, he became convinced that Jesus’ claims about this life and the next were true and became “the most reluctant convert it all of England”. If you’re interested, you can read more about his life here.


I found this used jewelry box at Good Will for $3. It reminded me of a wardrobe, so I set out to create a peek into Narnia!

The background was painted with acrylics mixed with gel medium for better blending.IMG_6683



I painted the trees with artificial snow from Hobby Lobby. This scene needs to look wintery!


Next, I flocked miniature pine trees using a spray adhesive (sprayed outside) and then rolling them in artificial snow to coat.



Glued the trees in with the hot glue gun and cut two small hills out of styrofoam so the ground wasn’t so flat.


These tiny .05 mm acrylic stones added frosty sparkle!


A map of Narnia was printed from my computer and trimmed to fit inside the door frames.


And these wood cutouts added a whimsical look to the corners.


Using brad rings and two snowflake charms, I created handles for the doors.

narnia 2

Covered the bottom of the scene with an artificial blanket of snow and then glued more powdered snow over it. On the inside of the doors I adhered photos of fur coats, covered with translucent vellum.

Found a Victorian style lamp post on Amazon!




The lovely music accompanying this post is “The Wardrobe” by Harry Gregson-Williams.

Thanks for stopping by to look inside the wardrobe! Have a blessed week ~Scarlett

narnia 3