"Woman sketch" by Tim Timmerman (This woman like all of us in Oregon, needed some sun. Why does this piece remind me a bit of the work of Red Grooms?)
In the late fall I got an I-Pad. A common companion of mine is my sketchbook, particularly in meetings. But as of late, in meetings or on a plane, I’ve found my I-pad, and particularly a program called Sketchbook Pro, to be a lot of fun to use.
The digital drawings in this post were created while in a very long day of meetings in January. I’m finding the digital world a fun place to experiment, and yes, I swear I’m paying attention in the meetings.
"Man sketch" Tim Timmerman (Not anyone in particular, but he looked a little bummed so I thought I'd give him some flowers to hang out with.)
I’ll take ownership that I always feel a special feeling after purchasing a piece of artwork. It is a celebration of beauty and tipping ones hat to the goodness of life. Several months back I dropped by Guardino Gallery in Portland (http://www.guardinogallery.com/) where I show my work to say hello. That day, I discovered the work of Maryanna Hoggart. Maybe it was because she is a transplant from Arizona, but there was a resonance I felt with her work.
Maryanna Hoggart: Stones I, Ink, Watercolor, Charcoal & Pastel on Paper., 10 x 14"
So I purchased the above piece because it some how spoke to me. But have you ever gotten something and then suddenly had a realization about it? Here was mine about this work:
You may know the example in the New Testament that a father, when asked by his son for bread, will give him bread not a stone. Or if his son asks him for a fish, he will not give him a snake, he’ll give him a fish! (Matt 7:9-12) But what if you did receive stones and snakes when you asked for food? Perhaps you even kept asking because you hoped maybe once in a while you would get bread and fish. There was a chance maybe things would change? What I came to terms with was that over time maybe God can even redeem stones and snakes, and make them beautiful. One can hope don’t you think? All things can be made new can’t they?
Maryanna’s piece has become a nice reminder of that, at least for me. Here is her website where you can see more of her work: http://www.maryannahoggatt.com/
Thomas Doyle, Armistice, Mixed media, 25 x 21 x 18 inches, 2011 (detail)
Thomas Doyle, Acceptable losses, Mixed media, 16 x 13.5 inches diameter, 2008
My intermediate mixed media students are launching into their last art project for the semester which involves creating a small scene or environment. Remember as a kid making those little dioramas for history class or the like? “Here is a scene of life in ancient Greece, complete with sheep and naked statuary.” “Here is a sculpture of the hanging gardens of Babylon, one of the wonders of the ancient world! Notice the cast resin water that looks so real.” (I actually did that one.) Nothing like cutting up styrofoam and going to town with plaster, glue, paint, and dried moss! Man, I’m sure I won something with that one in fifth grade. It was heavy.
Regardless, there are a number of artist today that are creating quite intriguing small environments that we’re looking at. I’d highly recommend that you check out Alan Wolfson’s interpretations of urban life: http://www.alanwolfson.net/ as well as the narrative puzzles of Thomas Doyle: http://www.thomasdoyle.net/ Their work makes me conclude that we are people in a complex world that is darn interesting to look at. Enjoy.
Alan Wolfson, "TOWER OF PIZZA" (1985), 14 x 17 3/8 x 17 1/4 inches
We were shuffled in and out of the interview with efficiency, receiving duplicate mugs for our troubles as we were shown the door. In a cathartic moment my manufactured mug went through a transformation the following day.
To be honest it is with some reluctance that I say anything to you about this. At least on my part, this was not tweeted or posted on facebook when it happened. Somethings are done out of necessity, not because you want to do them.
Several weeks ago I was on a local program here in Oregon on NPR’s radio station, called OPB. The program airs at nine in the morning and is called “Think Out Loud.” It covers local issues and is hosted by a gentleman by the name of Dave Miller. There has been a driven conversation this Spring at George Fox about sexuality that caught they eye of one of the producers of the show. So a “conversation” happened on the air between an alumni from Fox, the campus pastor Sarah Baldwin, and myself.
I entered this conversation because I care about the students here, and I believe people think too small when approaching sexuality. Well, and voices like mine are rarely heard if ever on things like NPR, and it seemed a chance to speak for many men I know. I had my doubts about the objectivity of the “conversation” when the first question the producer of the show asked to our campus pastor the day before was “Are you a Lesbian?” Interesting territory. At first the producer didn’t want me to be a part of the program because I was “too interesting.” After some dialogue the program agreed to my inclusion. I didn’t mention my book on air because I wanted it to be about the students, not the book. And maybe that would make me too interesting? Perhaps it would of lent more authority to the listener’s ears as to what I did say, it was what it was….
Not a good experience, but I learned from it, and I have appreciated very much the kind comments from many people who heard it. One lesson I’ve gleaned is just as there are “fundamentalist” Christians, their are also “fundamentalist” liberals etc… where a conversation and “dialogue” are far from their objective. Another lesson was that one can share part of a story to make their point, but if the whole story is shared in its entirety, an all together different picture would be painted. It all depends whether truth is your objective.
For what it’s worth, here it is. I’ll listen to this after 6 months or so:
Now you may ask why I disposed of such a perfectly good mug? Well, let me present my four favorite coffee mugs that are used regularly in the morning. Notice they are each hand made, carefully crafted by an artistic creator. They are individuals. Notice they each are distinct and expressive, and although each a mug, they each are individual and unique and cannot be crammed into one manufactured identity, why they are intended to be different... (all right enough here I know, you get my point).
The Thirty-Ninth Day, Good Friday
Honore Daumier's We Want Barabbas (or Ecce Homo), ca 1853-59
Mark 15:46 And Joseph bought a linen shroud and, taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb which had been hewn out of rock; and he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.
Today all times collide. Today all stories are the same. It was a Friday then. It is a Friday now. We call them both by the same preposterous name: Good.
What once was, now–by the mystery of the holy story faithfully and fearfully remembered–is:
Joseph has unrolled a linen cloth and laid it on the ground. It is close-woven and white. It is longer than the human frame and twice as wide. It is a shroud.
He has leaned a ladder to the back side of the cross. He has climbed the ladder.
Now he draws ropes around the chest, beneath the shoulders of our Lord and over the beam of wood. He throws the loose ends down to the centurion facing him. With a sudden force–and with anguish that there must be force–he wrenches the spikes from the crossbar. The left one: the body of Jesus swings wide away and hangs from one arm. The right: the body slumps. The ropes go taut. The centurion has one in each hand. Joseph whispers, “Wait,” descends, then stands below the slouching corpse, below the rain of the dead man’s hair. He applies himself to the spike through the heels. The legs drop.
“Now,” he whispers. With his left arm he is hugging Jesus at the knees. “Lower him.”
Rembrandt; Descent from the Cross, 1634, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
By sad degrees as the Roman pays out rope, the body sinks, shoulders hunched to the ears, Jesus resistless. Joseph receives the torso on his right arm. The head falls back. The mouth opens. The eyes are lidded, blind. The hair rains at Joseph’s elbow. Jesus is gaunt. As light as an empty scrip. The body without the sounding breath is light and so pitifully little. Joseph keels and lays him on the shroud and begins to wind the linen around him for burial.
Somewhere a woman delivers a long, soft, terrible sight to the world. Who is that?
The door of the tomb is a hole in stone no higher than a human waist. Joseph enters backward, bent down, bearing the shoulders of Jesus. The centurion, on his knees, keeps the legs from dragging dirt.
“Thank you,” says Joseph. His voice echoes in the hollow rock. “Thank you. This is enough.” He disposes the body alone, then, and emerges into the darker part of evening. The sun has set. The sky is empty. the air is absolutely still.
There is a descending groove in the stone ledge below the sepulcher’s door. Joseph rolls a flat stone down this groove. A single, slow revolution will bring it flush to the hole. No animals will desecrate this body.
There are two sounds in the dusk: the grinding of stone in stone–and once more the soft sigh, a low, compulsive, wordless sigh. Who is that?
Then the door is closed. The deed is done. It is finished.
+ + +
That sigh was me, Lord.
That weeper is me, the twentieth century me, attending your burial. Your dying is never far away nor long ago, but always as close as my own. I cry for the sorrow of being at your death.
But I cry also in gratitude that you will be at my death, O my Savior–and that, though I can only cry for yours, you rescue me from mine.
From Reliving the Passion, by Walter Wangerin Jr., Zondervan 1992, pages 148-150