Friday, October 30, 2009
Halloween was always my favorite holiday. I love the fall. Even though the leaves aren't brilliant like up east they turn colors of some sort. My Dad use to rake them in a pile and we would jump in them before he burned them. We savored the smell of burning leaves. Then there was my birthday a week before Halloween. But all of October was overshadowed by getting ready for Halloween.
Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter: all that is required is that you show up. Eat, open presents, search for eggs then it's over. Halloween I got to prepare. I got to think up a costume and make it myself, none of that store bought stuff. Halloween is the holiday for creative kids. I would sometimes have two or three costumes ready by the time the 31st came around and I would make costumes for some of my friends as well. I went as Dracula, Frankenstein, The grim reaper or the Wolfman. The year I dressed up as the Wolfman I took an old seal skin my Great Aunt had given me, cut it up and glued it to my face. Dedication.
I was partial to monsters. Besides comic books and Mad Magazine I always bought a copy of the latest Famous Monsters Magazine. Ironically I was not allowed to go to scary movies. After I jumped over the front seat at the drive in during Journey to the Center of the Earth (the part where the dinosaur, mistaken for a sidewalk begins to move and jostles the tiny folks walking on his back totally startled me) my mother wouldn't let me go see scary movies. But read about the movie monsters and I bought all of the monster models and meticulously painted them and glued them together. They paraded across my shelves and watched over me as I slept. I dressed up as one at Halloween.
One Halloween when we had gotten a bit older we set up a scary front porch. We draped it with black cloth and I stood over a cauldron with dry ice emitting smoke, dressed as the grim reaper giving out candy with a skeleton hand I had put together from a science kit. We rigged a ghost to fly down on fishing line from the Sycamore tree to the front porch as a kid on the roof let out a blood curdling scream. Other kids pretended to be dead in our makeshift graveyard only to jump up when the trick or treaters came by.
Some parents are very protective of their kids and I am of mine but I knew as a kid that evil existed. I had experienced it first hand in my family. One of the primary feelings that a kid has in that kind of situation is helplessness. How do you fight the monsters? How do you keep them at bay? Maybe one of the benefits of Halloween is that we let the monsters out into the light for a bit, maybe even become one. We acknowledge that the world is not made up of saints but sinners.Our ordinary family can contain monsters and we have to learn to confront the evil in ourselves and each other. And once acknowledged we even dare to mock the monsters knowing they do not have the upper hand forever and that God is even the God of monsters and that He can take the evil that men do to us and turn it into good.
Monday, October 26, 2009
I saw Where the Wild Things Are last night and liked it. It is not a kids movie. The overall tone is one of sadness.
We quickly learn that Max feels very alone and confused. His parents are divorced. His Mom is overworked and can't pay enough attention to him, (although she has time for a boyfriend). Neither does his sister, except when she and her friends beat up on him.
This film is a parable about what divorce does to little kids. It makes them confused (They think they are bad because they can't understand the emotions they are feeling and think they are the cause of all the problems). They feel angry, sad, lonely, out of control and sometimes express this all as rage.
The monsters or Wild Things that Max finds on the Island when he runs away are all parts of himself and in trying to appease them he is trying to figure out himself and his own needs.
As a grown up child of divorced parents I don't think one ever fully recovers from the trauma. You go through life wounded like the Wild Thing that gets his arm ripped off. You might put a stick in your arm's place but it's not just the same.
The visuals are great and fit the tone of the movie perfectly. The monsters are convincing, the landscape is captivating and the buildings and models the monsters build remind me of Andy Goldsworthy on steroids.
This is a beautiful but sad movie because it reflects the reality of too many children who experience divorce.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Back in the olden days, when I was just a lad, I hung out at a Christian coffeehouse called The Well. At one point I painted a mural on the wall behind the stage where the singers sang. It was a pastoral scene, kind of like the peaceable kingdom.
The Well recently had a reunion (which I didn't attend for personal reasons). They started a Facebook page and different folks have been putting up old photos of the Well and those people who were a part of it.
Someone posted a bunch of photos of my old mural. I probably have photos of the mural somewhere but I don't know where they are so I was happy to see them again. I am posting them here for anyone who would like to see what my first mural looked like.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
The three paintings I will have on display are:
The Last Judgment
Joyful Mystery #5
I hope to see you at the opening!
Saturday, October 3, 2009
I finished a painting today-Marian Garden. A traditional interpretation of the Song of Songs sees the Blessed Mother as the subject. Song of Songs 4:12-15 "[my love] is a garden enclosed...a sealed fountain. Your shoots Form an orchard of pomagranate trees, bearing most exquisite fruit: nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon with all the incense-bearing trees; myrrh and Aloes, with the subtlest odors. Fountain of the garden, well of living Water, streams flowing down from Lebanon!"
I tried to depict an enclosed garden with Mary and Jesus surrounded by the most beautiful flowering plants and a small fountain. Mary is in prayer and Jesus is emjoying the things he made on the days of creation.
Friday, October 2, 2009
113. ANGEL GUARDIANS
1. It is fitting that changeable and fallible human beings should be guarded by angels, and thus steadily moved and regulated to good.
2. St. Jerome, in his commentary on Matthew 8:10, says "The dignity of human souls is great, for each has an angel appointed to guard it." God's providence extends, not only to mankind as a whole, but to individual human beings. Each human being has, by God's loving providence, his own guardian angel.
3. It seems that the office of being guardians to men belongs to the lowest order of heavenly spirits, that is, the ninth order, the order of Angels.
4. Each human being, without exception, has a guardian angel as long as he is a wayfarer, that is, during his whole earthly life. In heaven a man will have an angel companion to reign with him, but not a guardian; no guardian is needed when the guarded journey has been successfully completed. In hell, each man will have a fallen angel to punish him.
5. Each human being has his guardian angel from the moment of his birth, and not, as some have taught, only from the moment of baptism.
6. The guardian angel is a gift of divine providence. He never fails or forsakes his charge. Sometimes, in the workings of providence, a man must suffer trouble; this is not prevented by the guardian angel.
7. Guardian angels do not grieve over the ills that befall their wards. For all angels uninterruptedly enjoy the beatific vision and are forever filled with joy and happiness. Guardian angels do not will the sin which their wards commit, nor do they directly will the punishment of this sin; they do will the fulfillment of divine justice which requires that a man be allowed to have his way, to commit sin if he so choose, to endure trials and troubles, and to suffer punishment.
8. All angels are in perfect agreement with the divine will in so far as it is revealed to them. But it may happen that not all angels have the same revelations of the divine will for their several ministries, and thus, among angels, there may arise a conflict, discord, or strife. This explains what is said in Daniel 10:13 about the guardian angel of the Persians resisting "for one and twenty days" the prayer of Daniel offered by the Archangel Gabriel.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
The subject of the Good Samaritan has been dealt with numerous times in art by artist such as Rembrandt, Duccio, Hogarth and Van Gogh to name a few. In thinking about my approach to the subject I obviously wanted a contemporary setting in keeping with the parable series I have been working on. I decided I did not want to show the actual good Samaritan in the painting. Instead starting on the left side of the paintings I have the robbers escaping on a bicycle followed by the priest carrying a collection plate full of money, then the Levite, an old hippie, with a tie die shirt and strumming a guitar and finally we see the victim. The idea is that YOU are the good Samaritan being the next person to see the naked beat up man. How will you respond?
To make the painting more personal I painted the beat up man as a self portrait. The man is holding three paint brushes. The robbers can be seen carrying off his clothes and his art supplies. His artist beret is fluttering in the wind.