Wednesday, 29 December 2021

HeQui Epiphany
detail from jesusmafa epiphany
the magi: Ravenna mosaic This 6th Century mosaic reminds me of the carol : "three kings from Persian lands afar..." except that of course these are not kings, but three magi... wearing just the kind of clothes one could imagine being worn by Persians of that time ( I understand Persians introduced the wearing of trousers rather than long flowing robes ).Many years ago I found a lovely childrens book retelling a Chinese legend which gave the delightful story of a group of astronomers who, on discovering the new star, set out on a long adventurous journey all the way from China, via the silk route, and eventually down into Jerusalem and on to Bethlehem to find the young Christ child... Now theres an idea... it could be interesting to write a childrens story of astronomers from a country [ like India, where archaeological evidence has been found of buildings used for astronomy...] making a similar journey & bringing in the cultural background from Asia where astrology is so much part of everyday could be fascinating...
c. janet driver

Saturday, 18 December 2021

c.janet driver "Darfur Madonna" was painted well over 10 years go, before we retired from our parish in area of mainly people of African or Afro-Caribbean origins... it was painted as a prayer-painting for the people of the Sudan, particularly the women and young children who, like this lady, had had to flee from their homes as villages were burnt down and all vegetable crops destroyed by rebel fighters... sound familiar ? yes, sadly South Sudan has suffered intermittently during this whole decade and is once more inthe news as their government seeks to restore law and order... fighting... drought...devastating floods... famine... and now covid... this "Darfur Madonna" sadly still stands as a prayer-painting for those who have survived through aid agencies support...hoping to help rebuild lives into the new year and beyond...

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

oops... I nearly forgot the poppy this year... and somehow a photo from our garden earlier in the spring has snuck in there by mistake... but then I rather like that pink and white bud... so I will leave it there as it does look really peaceful and I recon anything that reminds us of peace at this time of year is really vital ! in fact I still dream of a waterfall of white peace poppies to join our amazing display of red poppies...just in case we forget that after the horrors of WW 11 there was a real desire to work for peace... at least, that's what I remember from my childhood after the war...

Sunday, 14 November 2021

these beautiful bright pink flowers allways cheer up the dull dampness of November! DOes anyone know what they are called ? I found the bulbs abandoned and almost rotted away down our garden, planted them, and now they are beginning to come up in surprising places, so I guess the birds must like their seeds and drop them after they've been through their digestive systems...all part of the "rewilding' process I assume :)

Friday, 15 October 2021

You may have seen in this week's Church Times the news of Chester Cathedral's new exhibition, looking at paintings and sculptures of Christ from various world cultures...go to & click on "God of all people" at the top... as I cannot download these onto my blog...instead I will show you my own painting done some years ago while we were in TOoting with a congregation of mainly people of AFrican or CAribbean origins...
c.janet driver "darfur madonna"

Thursday, 26 August 2021

c. Janet Driver All the recent news about the IPCC report has prompted me to show you more photos of my stained glass window on Climate Change. Thinking back now to when it was commissioned a few years ago, it seems amazing how much of what this window predicted has already come true [from the Boxing- Day Tsunami to all the recent wild fires & flooding] and yet we are so slow in responding to this crisis ! A fter all the protests, why is our government so slow ? Why are we still subsidising fossil fuel companies instead of switching to green options? The really good news is that scientists have been beavering away & working on the technologies necessary for us to move forward...we can do this... if only we get going quickly... so what is holding us back??
if you wouldlike to see more on this, please access the web-page format, then scroll down the headings on the right hand side & click on "climate change"...

Thursday, 5 August 2021

Transfiguration : August 6th

Painting by RS Thomas, an Indian Artist [from a USPG booklet : The Life of Christ by an Indian artist] I find this painting conveys the Transfiguration [ Luke 9 v 28f ] so well... reminding us of the rainbow that brings hope after a storm [ if you can see this in the webpage view, then look down the labels on the right hand side, searching for "rainbow"; click on that and you will be able to see the lovely rainbow photo by Katrina Kerr... a double rainbow over the river...Wow! ]

Friday, 23 July 2021

from the St Alban's Psalter illuminated MSS I find it very telling that this narrative about Mary Magdalene does not end when she finally recognises the Risen Christ, but continues with her going to tell the disciples... and although John does not tell us their reaction, it isinteresting that this artist some centuries later, imagines them... well, as you can see the expressions on their faces, finding it impossible to believe...and I am not surprised! However, I do find myself wondering whether they therefore found it easier by that evening to accept & recognise him for themselves because of what she had told them...John 20 v 1-23.

Friday, 16 July 2021

Butterfly Conservation : annual survey

Blue Morpho : Surprising Stillness (oil on canvas) . c. Janet Driver Its that time of year again when throughout the UK everyone who feels they can spend 15mins out in their garden or a nearby park... wherever they might see some butterflies... is asked to volunteer their time, sit and count the butterflies they see, adding them to the annual survey... see for details of these three weeks of "citizen science" that is so easy to join in...just 15 mins a day for three weeks, sitting in a pleasant spot, quietly waching for join in !

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

We always look forward to July, when this amasing tree is covered in cascading yellow blossom... it reminds me of "Broom", but that I remember as a bush growing up on the cliffs by the sea... I have never before seen it as such a large tree... its really beautiful just now.

Monday, 28 June 2021

artist :Jung sun kim : St Mark 5 v 21f... Jairus daughter & the woman healed of her constant bleeding... the artist has caught the moment when this poor woman had just managed to touch Jesus' garment as he walked through the crowd with Jairus... can you sense the fast-paced movement and feel her desperate need of healing as you look at her hand which almost seems to flow alongside Jesus as part of his hemline.... Clearly it seemed absurd to try & find out who had actually touched him & received healing...there were just too many people milling around...anyone could have touched him ! But then Jesus must have been aware how this person needed to be recognised and accepted...otherwise everyone would have continued to despise her because of her illness... and she would continue to feel she was of no worth as a person... her bleeding had stopped at last... she knew she had been physically healed...but that was only the half of it... he needed to help her see she was totally healed,in body, mind & spirit, through her own daring action. In the midst of the rush to reach Jairus daughter before she died, he was able to take the time to restore this woman...& I feel the artist has really shown us this hurried moment when time must have stood still for her...when she had the courage to admit who she was... " a moment in and out of time" [TS Eliot : Four Quartets ]"Who touched me ?"..."Daughter, your faith has made you whole, go in peace..."

Thursday, 3 June 2021

What is it they say about weeds ? ...that they are merely a flower in the wrong place... well I suppose that seems right when you see a dandelion in the middle of a grassy lawn... unless you feel the joy of seeing a sudden splash of deep yellow overrides this ? I know so little about gardening, having only had my own garden since retirement... so often I find muself wondering... surprised by the beautiful deep blue of these small flowers: ooo how lovely, was my first thought, followed by oh perhaps its a weed ? Does anyone recognise this ? With all the rain this spring these bushy, thick-stemmed plants have been emerging everywhere... reminding me of a few years ago when some rather pretty pink flowers with lovely red-stemmed leaves began to appear... I thought they looked lovely & left them... not realising they would seed everywhere... and when I discovered someone had pulled a few of these plants up, leaving them in a small heap right in the middle of the front path... I finally got the message!!

Sunday, 30 May 2021

surprising hawthorn blossom lights up the garden ! ordinary tree really comes into bloom as never before...

Saturday, 29 May 2021 promised... here is the art trail map... go to the wivenhoe art trail website to see examples of work by various artists in the trail... and then with this map you can plan your route...enjoy this opportunity to visit these free galleries around WIvenhoe over the weekend of 25, 26, 27th JUne...

Saturday, 22 May 2021

janet driver : acid-etched deep green leaded glass panel For several hours high winds of 56 - 60mph have been buffeting our trees around, making me feel almost sea-sick ! so I have chosen a still & peaceful image to follow after the rolling & rollicking branches... In fact this hanging plant I came across a few years ago when visiting a butterfly house near Kew Gardens was so still... merely turning very slowly as it hung down above a pool surrounded by exotic plants and beautiful butterflies...I remember the amazing stillness I felt as I sat beside the water quietly sketching this beautiful flower...
I hope that by choosing to focus on either my glass panel or oil painting you might be able to catch a glimpse of silence, stillness & thankful joy...

Sunday, 16 May 2021


Monday, 10 May 2021

Our Crabapple tree is now covered in blossom... but where are all the bees this year ? We normally have lots of bumblebees all over this tree when its in blossom... I have only seen one bee this year!

Thursday, 6 May 2021

Claude MOnet : Rouen Cathedral,sunlight... Monet sometimes painted the same subject showing the different effects of light & atmosphere ...His series on Rouen Cathedral shows how the changes in sunlight throughout the day can highlight different parts of the cathedral stonework and also bestow varying atmospheric colours...see wikipedia's page on Monet for a full range of his Rouen Cathedral series...

Monday, 3 May 2021

The Chapel at Trinity College, Kandy, Sri Lanka www.trinitycollegelk describes the amazing visionary drive with which this chapel was constructed in the 1920' a time when other churches in the island were being built in a more gothic european style>...great trouble was taken to revive the traditional & more Buddhist local architecture in building this beautiful chapel high up on the college hillside...each stone pillar is carved both at the base and near the upper level, as you can see in the detail below...
IN the main chapel there are three large murals by David Paynter...this one behind the pulpit is of the Good Samaritan... the artist had been a student at Trinity College before gaining a scholarship to the Royal Academy school of art, where he studied in the traditional Western style grounded in Classical & Renaissance Art and on returning to his family home in Sri Lanka he decided to use local models for these murals... in fact using students and teachers, together with a well-known and revered Bishop whose receeding back takes on the role of the priest in this Good Samaritan mural...

Thursday, 29 April 2021

THis SRi Lankan painting of the Face of Christ is painted by a Buddhist Monk : Bikku Uttarananda... but why?... How did a Buddhist monk come to know about Jesus ? I found this an interesting example of co-operation against the backdrop of the many divisions in SRi Lankan society... a Christian priest, Fr Aloysius Pieris SJ, felt he would like to learn more about Buddhism...particularly Buddhist meditation... accordingly he approached a saintly Buddhist scholar - monk and pleaded with him to take him on, as a Christian, wishing to learn from him the Buddhist way of life... It was agreed that he would be welcomed by the Buddhist Sangha [monks] if in return he would teach them something about Christianity...apparently he decided to share St JOhn's Gospel with them... and so followed years of in depth sharing between several Buddhist monks and this Christian monk, one of the results being Bikku Uttarananda's painting and various sculptures through which this artist wished to communicate between BUddhists and Christians, who otherwise tended to have very separate identities<... If you wish to read more about this, see the book :Christ for all people, edited by Ron Ogrady : WCC publication

Sunday, 25 April 2021

Friday, 23 April 2021

      jesusmafa painting : Footwashing; Peter’s initial shock/horror that Jesus would ever do this menial task of washing his feet...

villagers in the Mafa area of the Cameroon worked together on various Biblical narratives and acted them out so that they could be photographed and later painted to make posters which could be shown to groups learning about Christianity to enable them to understand the Bible... they amassed a large number of paintings which are beautiful in portraying Jesus as an African living among them...this painting is just one example...

and here is another.....          

                    jesusmafa : Jesus heals a blind man

Thursday, 22 April 2021

The Transfuguration, by an Indian artist...where Jesus is portrayed in the style of an Indian holy man or ‘sadhu’ with the kind of aura sometimes used to portray the Buddha’s Enlightenment... [eg in the Buddhist cave-temples in Dambulla, Sri Lanka]

for Indian Christian paintings in more Hindu style, see the artwork of Jyoti Sahi

Continuing this series on Christian paintings from various cultures... I am hoping to show you some more from Jesusmafa... & hopefully also some from Sri Lanka...

you might also be interested in a book published by the World Council of Churches: Christ for All Peoples...

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

                              Peace be still: mural painting by Chinese artist He Qi


the Risen Christ   : HeQi

He Qi has painted a large number of depictions of Christ in traditional Chinese style...ifyou would like to se emore, then try wHeQiArtgallery

Sunday, 18 April 2021

                 Jesus as the Good Shepherd John ch 10 : jesusmafa, Camerounian painting

good !  It took me some time, but I did manage to access my photos again today & Ive found another “good shepherd” painting... and for anyone who finds it confusing that this is a very ‘white’/European style after the African painting above... does it really matter whether Jesus is portrayed as an African or Indian, Chinese or European ?   well... I think the answer is both ‘yes’ and  ‘no’... even more confused ?

Well... we really have no idea at all what Jesus looked like... oh there have been various legends, but they only go back to about the 14th or 15th century... not back to the first  century AD...the Gospel writers never mention what he looked like, and although its strange for us to realise, there were no phones or cameras around then, and so no first century photos !  So all we know is that he probably looked like any other first century Jew living in Palestine...often outdoors & travelling the length & breadth of the country, probably on foot & sometimes on a donkey, so he would most likely have been very brown and quite rugged.

Why then do we have so many paintings of Jesus showing him as a pinkish-white’ European-looking person ?

Maybe that has more to do with the history of art and both the artists and those who commissioned them than anything else...

For the first 200 years or so Jesus was depicted through symbols eg the first letter of the alphabet elongated into the shape of a fish, or an anchor drawn with the cross-bars as a reminder of the crucifixion and resurrection... were these perhaps hidden, secret symbols ? as Christians were persecuted and put to death for their faith... ?  By the third or fourth century paintings on the walls of the Roman Catacombs [burial chambers ] were portraying Jesus as the Good Shepherd, in a Greek or Roman style of painting

Then we have the great artists of the Rennaisancelike Leonardo &Michaelangelo...both Italians...commissioned by Italian Popes... so naturally they would have chosen an Italian model when painting their pictures or creating sculptures ...including those of Jesus... and so we have tended to follow these artists, and have somehow come to think of Jesus as a ‘white’ person, without really thinking about it...Fortunately there are several artists from different cultures & countries around the world who are now seeing Jesus through their own eyes and painting him in many different ways...Over this next week or two I will try to find you some examples of paintings of Jesus from Indian, Chinese & African  artists & more...

Saturday, 17 April 2021

If you have submitted your email to receive automatic updates / emails whenever I post a new blogpage, then I understand that you should still be receiving these as usual until the end of June... then this service from blogger will be do not need to do anything about this yourself... I am trying to see if there is another provider, and will let you know if I am successful...