Wednesday, 31 December 2014

New Years Eve

Running towards the New Year ?

this is actually a half finished painting
towards the end of a series of paintings
on Mary of Magdala...
come back later in 2015 to see the finished picture !

Friday, 26 December 2014

Short Christmas Meditation

Madonna & Child,  no 5.

Not knowing how to make himself understood, God came to earth himself, poor and humble. If Christ Jesus had not lived among us, God would remain far off, inaccessible. Jesus allows us to see God shining through his life. (5)  
5. John 14:9

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Christmas Eve

Beautiful clear dark sky;
The beginning of a frosty nip in the air,
And a new crescent moon arises among distant stars.
Was it such a night as this
That shepherds were out keeping watch over their flocks near Bethlehem?
And after the angel, which scared the life out of them,
Just imagine vast flocks of angels spiraling around, 
Like streams of coloured light dancing in the darkness...
Wow... all that joyful breathtaking glory...

this oil painting was requested as a Christmas card this year by Cornerstone, Charitas, Diocese of Salford

Thursday, 18 December 2014

How can this be ?

I originally painted this as part of a series on Mary of Magdala (John ch 20 ),
when the person she thinks is the gardener finally calls her by name...

I had spent days...weeks... trying to visualize that part of the story...
thinking that it must have taken Mary some time to really turn around from her grief and wailing compounded by the fear that Jesus' tomb had been desecrated and his body removed.

 I wanted to try and portray that initial surprise, an in-drawn breath,
 part of her mind must have been saying "how do you know my name ?"
 even though a deeper level of herself actually recognized his voice.

 Surely, I thought, there must have been an "in between" moment
 when time stood still: 'but how can that be...?"
and then her mind began to adjust to the "impossible"...

 and that moment was what I tried to convey in this painting.

 But when my husband first saw the painting, he thought it depicted the Annunciation.

He saw the bright background as the presence of the Angel Gabriel,
and then Jesus' mother Mary reacting in surprise,
wondering just what this could mean...

another in-between moment
when time stood still
and her mind needed to adjust to the impossible

"how can this be...? "        

I find it fascinating when people react in very different ways to a painting...

and so I offer it to you...
perhaps you see something different ?

I would love to know if it communicates something to you...

do leave me a comment... I will not publish your name or email address:
your comment will come direct to me
and if you do not wish me to make it public on this blog,
then just say so and it will be for my eyes only.

Just after writing this blog I received an email sharing another blog on the Annunciation with paintings for reflection... "the pause before yes" by Debbie Thomas:

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Advent Hands 3

Now for the final verse of Catherine Alder's poem Advent Hands...

the first verse invited us to imagine the hands of Joseph,
then we moved on to envisage the hands of John the Baptist in verse 2;

But whose are these hands ... ?

"I see a fist held tight and fingers blanched to white.
Prying is no easy task.
These fingers find a way of pulling back to old positions,
protecting all that was and is. 
Blanched to white. No openness. All fright.
But then the Spirit comes.
A holy Christmas dance begins
and blows between the twisted paths.
This fist opens
the twisted fingers letting go.
Their rock-solid place in line has eased.
And one by one the fingers lift
True colour is returned 
And through the deepest of mysteries,
The holiest of holies,
O longing of longings
Beyond all human imagining 
this fist,
as if awakened from Lazarus’ cold stone dream
reaches out to hold the tiny newborn hand of God."

El Greco: Adoration of the Shepherds

"...But then the Spirit comes.
                                                         A holy Christmas dance begins..."

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Advent Hands : John the Baptist

second verse of the poem: Advent Hands by Catherine Alder
the hands of John the Baptist

I see the hands of John,
worn from desert raging storms
and plucking locusts from sand ripped rocks 
beneath the remnant of a Bethlehem star.
A howling wind like some lost wolf 
cries out beneath the moon,
or was that John? 
This loneliness, 
enough to make a grown man mad.
He’s waiting for this, God’s whisper. 
“Go now. He is coming. 
You have prepared your hands enough. 
Go. He needs your servant hands, 
your cupping hands to lift the water, 
and place his feet upon the path to service and to death.
Go now, John, and open your hands to him.
It is time.”