Friday, 26 February 2010

Lent 2: Jerusalem

At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, "Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you."
He replied, "Go tell that fox, 'I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.' In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!

"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.' " (Luke 13:31-end TNIV)

In this painting I've picked up the image of the protective mother hen protecting her nest from circling foxes. I wanted to avoid the gentle and more pastoral image that I suspect this metaphor usually suggests. The hen is upright with wings outstretched, hopefully suggesting anger, desperation, hopelessness or outrage. The nest is empty - desolate or fragmented. There is nothing there to protect. The foxes represent Herod - or any circling threat.
I didn't intend it initially, but I did become conscious as I worked that the hen was forming a cruciform posture - perhaps helping link the stance of the mother hen to the sacrifice of the Cross.
I have given the picture the title, 'Jerusalem', but it could take other slightly tongue-in-cheek possibilities - 'The Passion of the Hen' for example...
This was a relatively rapid work given limited time this week but it should fit into the sequence started by 'Temptation' last week.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Lent 1: Temptation

This picture is based on the story of the Temptation in Luke 4:1-13. My starting point was hunger, which is why the focus of the painting is a black hole which is distorting the world around it. The experience of physical hunger is used by the devil as a lure to draw Jesus from his path. Jesus has a hunger for order or wholeness and the devil offers him a 'quick fix' through political, military or economic domination. Satisfying these hungers would produce chaos and then oblivion. The ultimate risk is that love itself, symbolised by the blood-red colour on the left could be sucked into the chaos and disappear. Meanwhile, evil, represented at the top right, is hoping to manipulate all this from the edges, while heaven, on the top left, is standing at a distance, waiting but not interfering...

This was a quick and fun painting to produce and I'm relatively pleased with the end result. My intention is to produce a series of paintings during Lent 2010 based on the lectionary readings for each week. I would like the pictures to work together as a single piece so I may continue to use a semi-abstract approach.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010


I've not posted on this blog quite so much during the past term. There are a few reasons for this:
Study: As part of my studies, I'm encouraged to keep a learning journal which I'm trying to keep as a separate blog (Tim's ProfDoc). I've also got big papers to write which are taking up some of the time I used to use on blogging.
Identity: The past year has been a bit complicated and I haven't always been sure that I was blogging as me, as an area dean or as a member of the Watling Valley ministry team. If you don't know who you are, it's sometimes difficult to know what you can say and what it might mean. I've therefore dropped some of the 'professional' aspects of this blog and moved them elsewhere (MK Deanery, FXMK). I'm going to experiment in using these for collaborative communications...
Micro-blogging: Since I started blogging, Facebook and Twitter have become massively important tools for journalling, sharing, communication and so on... I've been using these tools more and more to record what I do, putting the less public stuff on Facebook where the circulation list is more restricted...
This blog will continue and I will post random articles, thoughts, sermons or reflections here from time to time - but my on-line stuff is now happening through a range of other forums. I fully expect that I will pick the blog up more seriously again at a later date, perhaps when circumstances change...