“I began this painting while living as a hermit in Kansas. By the time it was finished it had grown into a wedding gift to my wife. The original premise was the contrast between the outer man in the physical world and the inner man in the spiritual world – and the reconciliation between the two through Christ’s sacrifice. It also embodies my own journey from hermit-hood and isolation to marriage and community.

“The front panel is a self portrait of me and my dog, Doc, walking through ‘The Gate of Hearing and Walking.’ (The branches over the gate spell that title out.) While I lived in the dormant landscape behind me, my daily walks were my prayers to God.

“The inside panel shows the crucifixion, with the cup of Christ’s blood being poured over the earth. That is me worshiping at the foot of the cross, the Bride of Christ praying on the left, and a young King David dancing on the right.

“I have always been deeply influenced by Northern European Renaissance art and the spiritual visions of those painters. You can see the influences of Bruegel, Grünewald, and a little Bosch in this altarpiece.” – Jack Baumgartner