Here are a couple of additional new drawings I just finished. Really only one piece, a diptych, over two pages.
Archive for the ‘Visual’ Category
I’ve been looking at a lot of old religious artwork lately, and have been enjoying the work of Jan van Eyck especially. One piece in particular stands out, and that is his Last Judgement, pictured above. This incredible piece is really a part of a diptych, made up of two panels, called Crucifixion and Last Judgement. The truth is, it is the Archangel Michael in the middle of the Last Judgement that I just keep looking at (I just realized that I wrote about another painting of Michael not too long ago. So there ya go). With his peacock wings filled with eyeballs, holding hell at bay with his shield and sword. Pretty sweet!
This last week or two I’ve been doing some drawing, and here is what I’ve come up with. I often just let the drawings kind of reveal themselves to me as I go along, and with these four pieces I started drawing and pretty soon I saw the bull, so I went with it. Then a lion started to appear, so I let that one come on out too. Then I knew what I was drawing, although I wasn’t completely sure why.
The bull, lion, eagle and man often represent the fixed signs of the astrological zodiac… but more than that too. They are also the four different faces of the angelic cherubim, one of whom was the angel who kicked Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden and stands guard over the Tree of Knowledge with his flaming sword. Also, in Christianity, these four animals also represent the Four Evangelists. Thats what came out of my pen this week, although I can’t really say why. I guess I do love symbols, and these are ancient and powerful. Think the three different traditions and their usage of these symbols are connected? I’m pretty sure they are somehow :)
I had the pleasure of seeing some very nice painting this week here in downtown SLC. Specifically the beautiful work of Lee Bennion and Brian Kershisnik on display at the Mormon Church History Museum.
I’ll be honest, I don’t really like church-y stuff. I respect other peoples beliefs completely, but I don’t find any kind of organized religion to be a good fit for me personally so I tend to avoid. Yep, even the Salt Lake religious art museum. I know I live in Utah (and I love it here) so I’m going to come across church-y stuff sort-a regularly, and that’s okie dokie. Whatever floats your boat… plus, there is obviously a long history and so much fantastic religious art. But anyway, I know both Bennion and Kershinik to be very fine painters, and because I love to look at beautiful things I found myself in the official Church Museum®.
I’m very glad I stopped in and saw the pieces I’ve posted here, and many more (again, I apologize that my photos don’t do the work justice).
I’d recommend this show to anyone, so check it out!
I’d been meaning to go and see the artwork of James Christensen, Cassandra Barney and Emily McPhie at the Springville Art Museum for some time, and last weekend I finally made it. It was great to see so much work by this talented family collected in one place!
Rather than write too much more I think I will just post a number of the different pieces I enjoyed. I apologize that my photos don’t do the work justice, but this is a show you should see for yourself anyway :)
I found myself thinking about Russian Surrealist Pavel Tchelitchew‘s large painting called “Hide and Seek” today. I first came across the original painting many many years ago and was completely mesmerized. Back in college, it was also one of the color plates in a text book for one of my art history classes. One of my favorites, and I looked at it a lot.
I kind of forgot about the picture though, over time. But then today, while walking under some trees, it just suddenly came to mind. And here it is on ArtDuh for all to enjoy.
A while back I was in the bookstore flipping through a book called Sacred Symbols and I came across this beautiful image of a blue dragon floating in a field of red. So beautiful! I knew I would draw it.. or something inspired by it anyway. I studied the lines, gestures and posture. Then I put the book down and walked away. I didn’t even want to learn the artists name or to see that picture again until my version was finished. I like to get an idea, walk away, and let it roll around inside my mind and imagination for a while. But those colors and lines… I like a lot of old Chinese painting and prints, and liked this one in particular.
I finished my Dragon, and you can click the image at the top of this post to see a larger version. I also went back to learn who did the picture that inspired my piece. I couldn’t find the specific picture of the dragon online, so I went back and bought the book. It turns out the artist is anonymous and the original piece was painted on silk sometime in the 16th or 17th century. I took a picture of the pages with my phone (not the best quality) and you can see that by clicking here.
I went to the BYU Museum of Art down in Utah County last week. They get some good shows going through there from time to time, and I like to pay a visit when they do. I’ll probably write a bit more about it later, but I enjoyed their current exhibit called Sacred Gifts.
But first I wanted to post a picture of their painting called Saint Michael the Archangel, painted by an anonymous Spanish painter. I really like this picture but it is hard to explain why. Its a little off-kilter, and the face is sorta messed up (eyes especially), but man… I enjoy looking at it. Ha! Part-’o-the-appeal, maybe. I especially like the cloth and folds, colors, clouds, and cosmic breast-plate.
Good fun stuff!
Another cool ancient burial site is Mount Nemrut. This is thought to be where King Antiochus I was buried. He was a Greek King and the statues at the site show the Greek and Persian gods of his ancestors.
I love looking at photos of this site. I want to have them here on ArtDuh so I can look at them whenever I like. I find old and weathered sculptures where you can see the passage of time to be so beautiful. The sculptures from this particular site are amazing. When I look at them that line from T S Eliot’s poem The Hollow Men comes to mind…
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.
I just watched a movie that I think everyone should see. A documentary called Chasing Ice. The film follows photographer James Balog and his team as they travel to and through the Arctic in order to capture on time-lapsed photography the effects of global warming and the glacial retreat. I heard a really good podcast interview with Balog a year or two ago (can’t remember which podcast though, dag-nabbit) and meant to see the film, but since it wasn’t out quite yet I guess I kind of forgot about it. This last week I saw it was on Netflix and I had to watch. I’m glad I did.
This may seem a little off-topic, but I don’t think so and its something I have felt for a long time… In my life I have come across two different mentalities and approaches to Nature pretty regularly that make no sense to me.
The first is an attitude that each of us are all too familiar with. That is, Nature is just a resource to be used, put up for sale, and exploited by man. The idea that Nature was created just to benefit our own materialistic greed actually does damage to me physically, psychically and spiritually. This approach, which has seeped into pretty much every aspect of our personal and civilized life, damages all of us. But not only us, it also damages every plant and animal we share this world with (wasn’t the world created for them too?). The idea that we can pollute the skies, fill the ocean with oil and plastic, tear and stab at the mountainside for coal, gas, and minerals, not to mention torture animals for their milk and meat… Hell, its obvious there are still some people who see other people that way too. As a resource to be exploited. Well, that attitude seems so ignorant I can’t even believe it. Its inevitable that there are consequences. Boggles the brain.
The other side of the coin is just as disturbing though. I’ve met many many people who sincerely believe that the world would be better off without human beings. Like we are not a part of this world, that we are somehow apart. But we belong here. I don’t mean that we have more rights than anything else to the air, land, and water, but just as much right to it at the very least. Its a gift to each and every species that share this world. Sure, I also find it disgusting that we’ve exploited Nature too. This is a huge mistake. Whatever your beliefs, atheist, religious, nudist, we were created by Nature or God or Whatever to live here. We belong here. My feeling is we’re not a mistake. Even if you think it all happened by dumb luck and chance, I’m sure you’re still able to see how incredible it is that you can think that thought. And your ability to think that thought is one of Nature’s gifts to you. Whatever you believe, its plain to see we are Nature’s children and rely on Her for our existence, however our existence came to be.
I love Nature. You could even say that I am in love with Her. Whether its a cloud, a tree, a stream, a bird flying over my house, a mountain, another person’s face, or something that other person has created, I see Nature everywhere and She is beautiful (yeah, gotta capitalize Her beautiful name. Can’t be helped). If I don’t spend at least an hour or two every day with Her just walking up the canyon under some trees, I feel like I am going to go crazy.
I look at the human species as a whole almost in the same way I look at an individual person. That statement probably doesn’t make a whole lot of sense without some long-ass explanation, and this post is already long enough. But yeah, sometimes I see our species in the same way that I see an individual. Humanity wakes up for the first time in this strange world and looks around, learns to walk, learns to talk, tries to find its place and meaning, discovers things along the way, gets a little older, and we will eventually die. I know, as an individual, I certainly have made many mistakes in my life. Collectively, we’ve also made many mistakes along the way too. But Nature still gives us Her gifts, and I do believe we can learn from our mistakes and change.
Anyway, a bit of a tangent. You may ask what all these words have to do with the documentary. Well, I guess a good documentary makes you think.
Sometimes I think I need to be more of an activist, but I know that is not my role or calling. My job is to create, to make and share these sometimes strange pictures and ideas that fill my head. But maybe there can be a blending? Anyway, I truly appreciate that there are people like James Balog trying to open peoples eyes to the damage we’ve been causing this world. His film has helped me love Nature even more.