The title is taken from the children’s skip-a-rope rhyme.
The frowning angel is the fallen angel Satan. Here is his domain. Under him are the many souls, lost yet struggling.
There is, however, an upward draft as the souls, through good works on earth, through many lives, begin to leave Hell and rise toward Heaven.
Hell, like Heaven, is a place in flux.
The two other angels are doing time keeping an eye on the proceedings.
Three little angels, all dressed in white,
All took a ride on the end of a kite.
Kite string broke…down they all fell…
Instead of going to Heaven they all went to…
Don’t get excited; don’t lose your head,
Instead of going to Heaven, they all went to bed!
Boyd Barnette, Three Little Angels, ca. 2009. Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36 inches.