Sunday, 21 March 2010

Lent 6: Palm Sunday

This is a very simple painting. Jesus is both revealed and obscured by the pomp and circumstance of Palm Sunday. His figure is faintly visible through the archway created by the palms - in the midst of the crowd.

Lent 5: Feet

This week's reading was John 12:1-8 which got me thinking about feet. Jesus' feet are anointed with oil. Isaiah says, "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news..."
I also had in my mind a talk by Archbishop Rowan Williams at which he talked about Jesus pressing his thumb into clay and church happening as the impression is created. He also said that church is what happens when Jesus makes his presence felt.
This is a rather simplistic painting of feet which attempts to express these images. The footprints of Jesus are a source of blessing - and are blessed - as they act as places of transformation. Within the outline of the feet, two images appear which represent structural or organic images of church - a temple made by living stones or fish.
It's a fairly contrived image but hopefully expresses some of my thoughts...

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Lent 4: The Prodigal

The fourth Sunday of Lent is always a bit tricky because it is the traditional date of Mothering Sunday in the UK. This means that the Lenten theme is often supplanted by local plans. I wondered which way to go with the reading this week...

I decided in the end to keep the Mothering Sunday theme in the back of my mind but focus on the lectionary readings. The Gospel reading for the week is Luke 15:1-3, 11b-end - The Prodigal Son.

Colour is important in this image, as it has been for me from the beginning of Lent. I've painted the son, weary and broken - nearly on the point of return. The son is red - which could be good or bad - his fate hangs in the balance... but even before the decision is made, he is surrounded by the loving embrace of the parent. Grace precedes decision.

The embracing arms of love are blue. I've consciously echoed the traditional association of blue with Mary - hopefully indicating the motherhood of God...

Friday, 5 March 2010

Lent 3: Grace

From Isaiah 55:1-9 and Luke 13:1-9

This weeks readings pick up the theme of blessing and curse, life and death, repentance or destruction. The image of the fig tree is a powerful one. The owner wants to dig it up because it hasn't produced fruit, but the farm worker wants to give it one more chance...

I have been struck over the past two weeks by the way I have unconsciously used the same colour to represent contradictory ideas. For example, in week one, I used red to represent love, while in week two, red was used to indicate a threat. This got me thinking about the fine line between ideas or the way contradictions can be held closely together.

In this picture I have attempted to use the same colours on right and left, but on the left they are about death, while on the right the same colours indicate life. Red can be a threatening fire or sign of fruitfulness. Blue can be clear skies or storm clouds; living water or dead soil. Brown can be good soil or desert.

Here are the half images mirrored so you can see the effect of only one colour system:


I like to think that this painting says something about the way circumstances can change very rapidly. Despair can be transformed into hope in the flip of an image. I am reminded of the fall of the Berlin Wall or the end of Apartheid. Isaiah says, Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.' (Isaiah 55:6-7)