Tuesday, December 25, 2012

News of Great Joy

This illustration and the one in the header above first appeared in a series of children's stories published in Moody Monthly magazine, (I blogged about it here). I like the expression of the face of Mary, she looks like she is truly pondering on wonderful news.
Here at my own home today we received some joyous news from our daughter and son-in-law, in about six months we will become proud grandparents of our first grandchild!

Friday, December 21, 2012

the world

Woke up this morning to fresh snow, bitter cold blustery wind, and ice. This poem by Robert Frost was the first thing that came to mind.

Fire and Ice
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice. 

Robert Frost 1923

This poetry combined with the unspeakable act of violence that happened a week ago in Connecticut, (I am still grieving) and the prediction of the end of the world today sums it. Lord have Mercy. Have Mercy upon us.

Monday, December 17, 2012

third Sunday of Advent

Advent is a time of quiet, of waiting for the Christ, for the Saviour of the World to come.

Yesterday was Rose Sunday. The third candle on the Advent wreath, the pink one.

The others are purple, for penitence. In Advent, we wait in darkness for the Light of Christ to come on Christmas. But the rose candle is a promise of hopes fulfilled, of joy that comes when prophecies are fulfilled.

I love the season of Advent, the four Sundays before Christmas. I love this time more than I love Christmas because... The Whole Big Christmas Day Deal is...just Too Much (for an introverted artist).

Thursday, December 13, 2012

water in paradise

This post really should be titled "See A New Heart and a New Spirit". Because that is the title of the painting and the context of the Scripture passage.
The water in paradise is from my own interpretation and inspiration.
Here at the left is the lettering treatment that we are using consistently in the ten paintings. We are layering a deep red type design over a spattered and textured greenish background. Each of the texts is also layered with a bit of line art from the context of the artwork. This one has a thistle design to represent the desert where God is saving His people.

I am writing this post to explain some of the wonderful moments that have occurred in the creation process. Sometimes you don't know where all the ideas and bits and images flow from. Especially when so much research has gone into the work, and then it starts to come together.

Here is the text;  Ezekiel 36:24-28

24 “‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. 28 Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God. 
(My notes) Water flowing from Temple/Ezekial, thistles, thorns, Dead sea becomes the living sea, Christ is the rock, Right side of Christ is heart, pierced, water flowing from right side of temple, Lot’s wife, water flowing out of right side of church to dead sea
giving life, fish, Church on Hilltop, redemption, Baptism.

I am showing this as a work in progress. It is Very Much not finished yet it is on display in the church narthex right now.
 Our process is to draw our design on the canvas with black wash, building up the light and dark tones on the canvas. We next add texture, using sand or a ceramic medium. When that dries we begin to apply a series of glazes of earth tones, building up, adding lights and darks, more texture and more glazes until a rich variety of tones and surface results.

Here at the right I have a partial view of the canvas as I was building up my drawing of a rocky landscape on one side, pouring waters in the center and a garden of Life on the far side. All of these images are the product of much research as I have said. I think it took us longer to come up with sketches in the first design phase than it has to get the canvas covered to this stage. 

This is a part of a fresco on the walls of an ancient  Roman villa. I used that fig tree as reference, and also added the bird.

I went to a personal experience deep within my memory as I drew the waterfalls and pools of Living Water. A few years ago my family and I made a trek to Guatemala. We saw some amazing sights from Mayan ruins to high mountain tropical rainforest. One of the loveliest memories is of Semuc Champey, a river and waterfall National monument way back in the mountains. It was not easily reached, certainly not in a one day trip, few tourists can make it.  The beauty of the clear turquoise limestone pools and the stepped cascades of rushing waterfalls is too much to describe, it can only be 


As I was drawing, I realized that this vision of paradise and the peace of the flowing waters with lush foliage all about was the image active in my mind. When bits of the past and present flow together in the act of creativity there is a soul satisfying delight in the work.

The waters are also symbolic of the sacrament of baptism.  I had already been thinking of using ideas from famous Baptism of Christ works by Giotto or Verrocchio. This Eastern Orthodox icon image was influential. 

A constant in our overall design plan has been to use imagery from Romanesque sculptures, structures, and illuminated manuscripts whenever possible. The Church on the hill from which waters are flowing is a compilation of romanesque buildings, most like these photos of Glastonbury Abbey in England.
I leave with this  sketchy wash image of the canvas and promise to update when it is finished!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

golden birthday

Today is my son's birthday. And it is 12/12/12 so we tease him that it is his "golden birthday". If there is such a thing, but then, all birth days are golden to remember.

Monday, December 10, 2012

intensity in worship and art

I have been intensely involved with art projects for my church. The Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton Illinois has moved to a new building, a re-habbed factory. The warehouse space has been transformed into a beautiful light-filled sanctuary. A wall of well-proportioned vertical spires of windows provides the best of natural light.

These past weeks I have poured myself into producing five more large paintings to portray the Easter Vigil readings from the Old Testament. I blogged about this before but just briefly. We have been working on a series of ten canvases to hang in the narthex of the new building. Above are the first five that were almost but not quite finished in time to display last Easter for the big Vigil service.
Here is the new narthex with paintings being installed.
And this past weekend we had our big Consecration services and the very first Sunday service in the new building. The staff wanted to hang all 10 of the paintings in the narthex for the big week. I wasn't comfortable with that because...they still aren't finished. Oh well, finished enough to share, but I must work on them a lot more in months to come.
I will write some more blog posts about the process in the next days.