Study for a painting. Not the man but - the indescribable force, Wakan Tanka, the God of Gods, I Am , Jah, Yahweh and a thousand other names. (This is trying to draw the undraw-able but that never stopped me before. It is actually more like some of my older paintings than I would have expected - before I drew it. Like the hole in the head (but healthier, or like the death one, but not dark, though it is quite sad, but then I imagine God may be quite sad, just with all the beauty of it all and the sadness of watching the world struggle with its freedom - our free will, and the consequences of our choices - I am sure he'd like to intervene more, but then we wouldn't be free we'd just be a mechanical toy, and we are not we are alive. We choose. And we can choose to ask him for help. It's a wonder more of us don't. But anyway.) In the end, what got me moving (as I had seized up like my jaw after the dentist) was my thinking about mitochondria - the energy generating, converting, life giving cells in all living organisms… and I was also looking at a picture of the sacrum bone, because one way or another the truth is right here/here, it just might not mean what you think it does. Maybe God is in our very living cells, is what animates us? Or maybe we are the 'cells' that make up what God is; We are the vibrating mass of energy that comes from him. So I tried drawing that.
I have been thinking about what Jesus Christ would look like, if you could draw his living spirit as a man today. A weird train of thought, I know (especiallly if you aren't Christian as I am, but bear with me). Most images we know of Jesus are from 12-16C masters' paintings and tend to make him look like zeus, with a beard, centre parting and straight hair. I was reading about it, and they say that actually, early images (1-3C) were showing him to be clean shaven, with curly hair as you might expect for a 30 year old Nazarean. I was wondering whether he looked like any other man, just 'full of light' to distinguish him. Anyway it is a very interesting and arresting, not to say challenging subject to tackle and I feel humbled by even the attempt. I was thinking about the shroud of Turin, or the Veronica, the various depictions of His face that seem to have real similarities in their characteristics. The first three were drawn using a model who struck me as someone who could 'play' jesus and then the fourth is someone else similarly who I think has a face that could contain such a spirit, though less grissled! The last one, is actually from a 'mark' that appeared on the wall where I was wallpapering. A face - and as I had been thinking and trying for days, it did look very like - and so I drew the face from that, and have stopped there for now. It is tempting to reproduce others' images, or to draw a cartoon, an icon that is representative only, but I was trying to capture a timeless face with a tangible realism about it, a face that shows a soul that people can then see and meet!? Anyway, even if Jesus isn't someone you are interested in, you have to admit that his life changed the course of history and we are still talking about him 2000 years later and that alone is pretty amazing. Also can you imagine a 30 year old preaching and anyone listening today? He wasn't selling vanity or sex, he was just telling the truth, and that older people and rulers took notice of such a young, basically transient, non-wealthy person - is kind of remarkable too. I just think we don't think it through far enough these days, it all seems a lot like a 16C painting and not like something that could be happening down the road today.
This is the messenger Gabriel announcing to Mary that she will become the mother of Jesus. A popular topic throughout western art over the last thousand years or more, so I thought I might give it a go, so to speak. I've been reading about Angels lately and it's extremely fascinating (I recommend it.) For example did you know cherubim and seraphim are beings of clarity, brightness, tireless ardour and cleansing fire, who with that fire enlighten others and furthermore are reported to have six wings? (Two for covering their feet, two for sheltering their head and two to fly with). I also read that seraphim are caretakers who constantly fly around God's throne singing to each other in exclamation 'holy!' 'holy!" 'holy!' (please take a moment to visualise or even enact this charming vision, I guarantee you will laugh). It's pretty nice.
My version of Gabriel is taken from the Annunciazione by Leonardo Da Vinci, with a few obvious differences such as the size of the wings, the angle of his torso and his face. I was reading that they weren't sure for some time if it really was Leonardo's painting, as it is less human, less 'perfect' than his later work. deciding in the end that it was his youthfulness that mades Mary a little less 'warm' in the face than his later Marian renditions, also he painted it over a very long period of time so it doesn't have the impetus and vivacity that comes from a continuous burst of creativity. Regardless it is a beautiful painting, though I couldn't see his wings being large enough to get much lift, hence my adjustment.
This is from a Guardian article the day in 24 pictures on 2 March 2009. The photo is from a meeting room in Mingora, Pakistan, taken by BK Bangash/ AP. The man is/was part of a group officially labelled as terrorists having led people to resist US forces and for following what is described as a Wahhabi style of Islamic thought.
An imperfect (!) study of Rembrant's self portrait from 1660 (below) see also his series of self portraits over a lifetime.
This is Youssouf. Turtle. Tortoise. EChep Peut! if you are Merlin. He likes to dig. Youssouf not Merlin. Merlin likes to pee in Youssouf's box. =( Couldn't express your distain any more clearly if you tried.
I would draw the sticks but I am so distraught with the latest developments that I am not sure I can for a little while. Sticks 2 and 3 went on a nighttime excursion for PINE TREE. The smell was obviously so intoxicating that they made a B line the first chance they could get. Mammal (me) was so gripped watching Ray Donnovan season 3 last three episodes until the wee hours and crawling off to bed bleary eyed, that she forgot to cover them over and LO and BEHOLD. Two sticks gone.
A first day of searching gave no result but day 2 I found a very happy stick just chilling out on the outer skirt of the tree. So that night I (mammal) put some fresh Blackberry leaves under the Pine tree (christmassy in nature) and was hopeful with a prayer that Stick no 3 would also be safely found and returned to the dwindling flock.
But this morning, while merrily inspecting the tree, having noted some mysterious brown dark patches on the sea grass matt, did see what appeared to be a very short green stick.
UGH was my reaction upon picking it up to see it had antannae =(
OH NOO. It was legless and STILL ALIVE. I wailed for a bit and so painful was it to see that I had to go back to bed. Its guts were hanging out and it was in pain, but I couldn't euthenase. I just picked it up in a tissue wandering if they could grow back an abdomen as well as the odd lost leg. And fell into a grief stricken sleep. Merlin and I don't fall out very often but I couldn't congratulate him on this. he has yowled a lot today in between dashing up and down for attention I assume.
No one told me that taking on my brother's sticks would involve so much heart-break and drama. AT LEAST sticks 1 and 2 still have each other. They are social creatures after all.
And we still have 30 or so eggs. Apparently they tend to hatch just as the adults die off at a rate of about 20% success, so here's hoping. I am sure at least one or two of the adults that have died left us due to old age. Anyway. Youssouf is going to out-live us all which is weird. Merlin is lately living a sort of horror show, and sadly the stick paid the price. AT LEAST I CAN KILL SOMETHING I am sure he thought as Youssouf for him is rather hard to fathom. I saw him jump up at the fish today too. It's all gone a bit haywire. Hopefully tomorrow peace will return. We're a sensitive crew in our house.
PS Youssouf is ONE of his names, like Merlin he has two but this one is in honour of his likely Afghan origin. They get picked up as babies and sold as pets =(. He might have been UK reared I don't know as I took him in as he was homeless, Youssouf apparently means "Allah increases in piety, power and influence". I just looked it up in Wikipedia. Its the Arabic version of Joseph. A christmas tale if you will. Just a bit different.
I was an innocent fan of this cartoon back in the day, it was definitely the best animation on TV in 1985 anyway and its still pretty easily available to watch (on Amazon, for a fee). This is one of the three Muskateers, the main guy is pretty much like snoopy with a hat on (so yes, awesome).
Although you might have heard of the Three Muskateers, and the Nutcracker you might not know much about the author, Alexandre Dumas (I didn't) and his life makes an interesting story in itself, one that clearly inspired him to write such widely read novels.
You'll note he was of African origin (who isn't) and although of high standing in society, living between 1802-1870 he still had to deal with prejudicial treatment in France, because of his darker skin. His rather neat response to a man who insulted him was as follows:
"My father was a mulatto, my grandfather was a Negro, and my great-grandfather a monkey. You see, Sir, my family starts where yours ends."