Fingerprint of the Creator
We approached the Cape through turbulent seas and rain. Then the morning skies opened up to this scene of sunbeams shining down through the remaining storm clouds. Most people on deck had settled in for breakfast. I was joined by only a few who were mesmerized by the glorious panorama unfolding above us.
I tried to capture subtle color shifts with numerous media and finally settled on this combination of pastel sky, and graphite sea. My first ever work in pastel! ... not my last!
The Earth is Patient
Somebody in our government gets a fabulous salary to dream up "national this or that" days to satisfy someone else's whimsey. "Earthday" has, to me, always seemed to be a stupid named-day or weekend to celebrate - until recently when it is becoming obvious sea levels are rising to dangerous levels, storms are stronger and more destructive, seasonal changes in heat and cold are becoming more unbearable for man, animals and plants.
Some ancient cultures seem to always have been attuned to these conditions beyond our control. Asian cultures use the abundance of quick growing straight and strong bamboo as a building material for everything from houses and boats to chopsticks.
This scene was inspired while hiking in Bhutan, by a people with simple needs or desires but filled with happiness and smiles.
Just sayin' Happy Earth Day.
It was once a church, then a mosque, then a museum, and today a mosque and a museum. Hagia Sophia is located in a city overlooking the Bosporous Strait once called Byzantium, Turkey. The town was later was renamed Constantinople after its founder and ruler, and today is known as Istanbul.
This building was originally commissioned by the son of Constantine and built in the 360 AD after which it underwent various revisions until 537 AD when the structure took on it's current dimensions - a 100 foot wide dome rising 180 feet above the floor, supported by 104 columns from the temple of Artemis in Emphasis, and from Egypt. Impressive does not approach an adequate description of the experience of being there.
I was allowed to sketch this tranquil and moving scene during afternoon Islam prayers. The scope of the height and depth is impossible to capture on a piece of paper. The sense of something larger, sacred and enduring, for Christians and Moslems, is palpable.
God is great, indeed.
I'm honored to have been chosen as this year's artist to promote the 2023 Concerts on Marietta Square. I was approached because my art is a departure from the traditionally colorful illustrations. Hopefully my own sensory experience from previous concerts captures the delightful mood of music merging with and floating as a breeze into the trees and around the fountain on the square.
It's been a while ...
I don't recall when I made my last website post. Months have passed. My art was interrupted by research and publishing a blog, then came COVID.
But I recently completed a "cruise" ... our annual visit to my sister-in-law in California ended by returning to Georgia via the Panama Canal. Although I feared the boredom of doing nothing aboard a huge cruise ship, I found inspiration from a quartet of accomplished musicians whose passion and joy was something I wanted to sketch. I could sit close enough to capture some of their emotion and team-driven movement in real time in plein aire.
These sketches are only prelimiary works which I hope might lead to other paintings and a resumption of drawing on a more regular basis. And, if so, I promise to begin adding monthly posts of how that's going. How's that for a New Year's Resolution?
The violent history of Ohio
I'm a "Buckeye". I grew up hiking beautiful wooded rolling hills, rode my bike across gravel roads past emaculate Amish farms, and built rafts, then boats, to paddle down creeks that feed tributaries to the Ohio River.
This was once "Indian Country"; a perfect playground to fire the imagination of any impressionable kid. I was not aware of it's violence and terror until I began researching the arrival of Moravian missionaries to serve the Delaware Nation who lived on the Tuscarawas River before the Revolutionary War.
My entry about the missionary David Zeisberger takes me one step closer to ending my monthly Spotlight Blogs and related art for the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries, 18 stories over the past 16 months.
This post is the material Zane Gray novels were made from. It will be published this coming Tuesday, March 23. 'Hope you read and enjoy.
P.S. The art, my first watercolor presentation titled A Feather.
A Pear tree grows in Genadendal
When the Moravian missionary was sent to The Cape of South Africa in 1746, he was the solitary representative for a mission effort that was virtually written off by church leaders before it started; not worth the effort or expense.
Thanks to the perseverance of George Schmidt during times of Colonial dominance and racism, the Moravian mission effort grew in Africa from "Sunday school" lessons taught to a class of 5 under a the shade of fruit tree. Weary Sunday School teachers, take heart. Today thousands living in numerous African countries claim their spiritual heritage to Moravian missions.
This post was published this week in the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries newsletter: my 15th "Spotlight Blog" ... FYI.
This is simply what life is all about, isn't it? We learn more from our mistakes than we learn from our successes, or so it seems.
I struggled to prepare this January Spotlight Blog for the Moravian Church. Then I realized all the historical issues I was trying to explain were issues we were facing currently - found in election, then distortion, then insurrection, then inauguration, and who knows what next.
It's unsettling, but somehow familiar. It's all very human. It also gives us a chance to learn, a chance to chose to place our trust in the hands of a higher power if we want to maintain our sanity and our unity.
The steeple on Central Moravian Church isn't just an architectural structure but also a place from which men and women shout out the Love of God in voice and music to anyone willing to listen. Listen carefully and you might hear the music in all this discord?
Home for the Holidays
This month's blog for the Moravian Church BCM December 29 newsletter begins and ends with sea voyages in winter.
In 1735 the second contingent of "Moravians" arrived in Savannah, GA to supplement the mission to the Creek "Indians" there. Accompanying them was John Wesley, sent as a young Anglican Priest to serve the spiritual needs of English Settlers in Savannah.
Although my blogs are titled Coffee with Moravian "Ancestors", I've taken liberties by adding imagined conversation with those who have opinions about Moravians who influenced them. This coffee conversation provides John Wesley an opportunity to reminisce on his encounters with Moravians in America and in Europe - encounters which influenced the formation of the Methodist Church.
This blog ends with the 1740 arrival of Moravians to the wintery forests and rivers of Pennsylvania. Bethlehem Pennsylvania was named on Christmas Eve by those who would establish a settlement on these newly purchased lands. They were followed by Moravians called the "Sea Congregation", sent across the Atlantic from rural Germany to the wilderness of America, to establish a base from which indigenous woodland tribes would be educated and, if willing, be converted to the beliefs of the white European.
My artwork depicts a prayerful departure of these "missionaries" from a European port. I invite you to reflect on Christmas celebration centuries ago when life was no less complicated by the arrival of migrants. I wish you peace, comfort and joy for this season and the new year.
It's a strange time. Restricted by rules on traveling. Unable to continue traditional sharing of a holiday with loved ones. No hugs, not even a handshake.