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Vigil Meus – My Watcher

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“Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants know to God. And God’s peace which transcends all human understanding will garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 4: 6-7 The Amplified Bible]

In February 2002, my beloved wife, Mariaan, was diagnosed with breast cancer. In a few short days both our lives changed for ever. I entered her ward in the hospital one late afternoon after she had gone through life-saving surgery and found her still asleep – her face filled with a tranquility that astounded me. I stood by her bed in prayer holding fast onto her hand and suddenly I knew that God was present in that room and His angels were watching over us both. I will always remember that profound moment – and have attempted to capture it in this image. The scene is set in Victorian times, but the message is universal. A man exhausted by a long vigil, rests at the bedside of his wife who is very ill and close to death, his hands clasped in prayer. Unbeknown and unseen by both an angel watches over them. “Vigil meus” is Latin for “my watcher”.

DAZ 3D’s Michael 2.0, Victoria 2.0 and Stephanie with Angelyna’s poseable wings and DAZ 3D’s Olympian costumes were posed in Poser 4.0. and exported to Bryce 4.0. Darlisa Riggs assisted me with getting the man’s clothing correct. I am grateful to her for her help and support as I am to all who have been with us through this difficult time. The Victorian brass bedstead, period bedside tables, wash bowl and jug, fireplace, mirror and mantlepiece clock were all modelled from scratch in Rhino 3D 2.0 from a collection of Victorian postcards, and numerous research images that I have obtained. The lamp is from DAZ 3D, a consolation award for my entry in the Michael Man of Many Morph’s competition.

All elements were combined in Bryce 4.0 with procedural and bitmap texturing. Extensive volumetric lighting was used – the final render took over 12 hours. The angel was rendered separately in Bryce with “simulated radiosity” lighting techniques in Necati’s tutorial, and then the two images composited in Corel PhotoPaint 10 to get the “ghostly” effect.

This image is dedicated to my wife, Mariaan. Her strength despite her illness has been an inspiration to me! This image is also dedicated to the memory of Debbie Bishop. Even though she lost the battle against cancer, her memory lives on in my heart!