This drawing represents "the Chalice".
Of all the misrepresentations that the Catholic Church offered to disenfranchised Christians of the 14th Century, the act of withholding the sacrament of wine during Holy Communion seemed a most blatant abuse to the believer. Catholic champions for reform presented issues to argue the point. But when Father Jan Hus was executed for heresy, the Church of Rome realized they had made a major miscalculation in Bohemia. Popularity of Hus, the rise of nationalism and independent spirit among Slavic people had to be addressed, with force.
Bohemian christians who followed Hus went to war against christians who followed the Pope. They called themselves Hussites. On their battle flag was the image of the chalice.
This image is posted is a reminder to those who might be interested. My first blog and related art work is published today, February 9. It represents an imaginary conversation with Jan Hus. The next publication is scheduled for publication February 29. I will post on my website a similar reminder for that and subsequent publications throughout the year.
To those of you who take the time to look at these, I hope they bring you insight and enjoyment. I welcome your questions.
Beginning with the month of January and running monthly throughout 2020, my art (and the story behind each piece) will be published in blog format by a department of the Moravian Church in the Southern Province.
I announced this a few weeks ago. Now it is beginning to happen. This will be a history lesson of sorts, presented in a series of imaginary conversations over a cup of coffee with various men and women who influenced the Moravian Church. Time and location will run from the late 1300s in NE Europe (now Czech Republic) to the 1800s protestant mission to slaves in the West Indies and to indigenous populations of North America (specifically Delaware tribes in Ohio and Cherokee and Creek tribes in what is now Georgia and Alabama).
To find my blog, google the term "spotlight blog board of cooperative ministries" and then scroll down til you find "Coffee with Moravian Ancestors". I'll also mention this on my facebook page and might even provide a link if I can be taught how to do that. And I'll continue to announce on my website each month when I submit a new blog for publication.
For those uncomfortable with searching the web to find this information, I offer another option. I will send the monthly blogs to you via email if you send me an email request at billneeds@mindspring,com.
Regardless of how you find this blog, I hope you enjoy this format of presenting a story with my artistic impressions about spiritual development and service from the years preceding Martin Luther into the present.
The impressionistic art shown below represents the Bethlehem Chapel in inner city Prague where Jan Hus served as a priest, preached in Slavic language, painted hymns on church walls to encourage congregational singing, and dared to serve communion in both bread and wine, all forbidden by the Catholic Church.
What greater tragedy than that! Our first hours on the Galapagos Islands - our first walk among the giant Galapagos tortoises. I opened my backpack to find only an extra pair of shoes... I brought the wrong backpack!
So I began to shuffle along in a sullen walk destined only to observe and attempt to remember my impressions, while other tourists joyfully snapped away their visual record of our experience.
Finally I found a menu with a blank back page, borrowed a pen, and began sketching one solitary tortoise grazing on some of the foliage. This exercise lasted nearly 1/2 hour I think ('got lost in our time spent together) - just me and this ancient specimen of life, probably twice my age (160 years old?!), totally engaged with each other alone, away from the hustle of the other tourists.
A visit to the Galapagos Islands offers opportunity to ponder. For me, this was a lesson to stand back from the technical compulsion to snap that perfect Kodak moment and instead think about the creation story and recreation of life that occurs hour after hour, for animals and plants (and even stones as indicated by this lava rock in the middle of the Pacific), and the continual demand of nature to adapt in order to survive.
Here's my initial sketch from the back of that menu. Later I'll refine the image in a sketch, then maybe a final drawing with details.
The Moravian Church in the Southern Province has an educational wing that distributes weekly information to those who subscribe. I learned about this last year and started following it's publication.
Last Fall, they made a request for "blogs" from some of their readership. I bit.
Some of you familiar with me or my website posts know something of my Moravian upbringing. You may also recall Sara and I traveled to Europe to learn about the Roots of the Moravian Church. I occasionally post some of my art depicting scenes, real or imagined, inspired by our travels and teachings in the Czech Republic and Germany. I've concluded there is a story here to be told, and maybe the current social medium of "blogging" impressions with illustrations might be a way to tell it to Moravians, and others.
This month (January), my first blog will be published. 14 more blogs will follow throughout the year, all with related illustrations. Let me see how this starts, then I'll announce more details on my website or on email for anyone interested in following.
In the meantime, a sketch is attached to tease your interest: Greeting descendants of the Bohemian Brethren, formerly living in exile in Moravia, as they arrive in Herrnhut, Germany in 1722.
Happy New Year! Sara and I spent the holidays with her sister in "sunny" California. I decided to take a walk - a long walk - on New Year's Day to prepare mind, body and spirit for promises of 2020 and beyond.
Eddy and Tom live high on a cliff over looking Santa Catalina Island (yep, 26 miles away as in the old song) and Pacific Ocean beyond it. A virtual paradise.
As I began my walk along the ocean side, I approached a group of about 15 people standing in a circle around 2 chairs, one empty except for 2 fading photographs, and one filled by a older woman reading from a notebook. Behind the empty chair stood a two men, one holding a horned skeleton head and the other holding a black flag. Four other flags of different colors were positioned to mark boundaries of a circle. I stopped, removed my hat, and stood outside the circle until invited to step inside - despite being a total stranger to this Native American celebration of the life of a departed relative.
When reading ended, white doves were removed from a box. Each person who wished to participate were given a dove which, on cue, was released in a flurry to fly to a destination unseen.
I don't have words to express the meaning of that encounter for me. Perhaps this picture offers words for you. Happy New Year!
I have been given the opportunity to display my art at dk Gallery of Contemporary Art in downtown Marietta!
Anyone familiar with Donna and her exquisite taste will know what an honor this is. Only a couple of my original pieces are found there which, in a stretch, might be considered "contemporary". But at least I'm there!
Also, some of my impressionistic images from the Corners of Marietta Square can be found in sets of 6 notecards being offered exclusively at dk's for the holidays. Here's a sample - one of the Landmark images, The Earl and Rachel Smith Strand Theater.
... finished the furry feet which attracted sand spurs when running on the dunes near the beach. She often groomed her feet after a long run around Kennesaw Battlefield, or after digging for chipmunks buried deep beneath vines of ivy bordering our driveway. She was part Border Collie, easily trained, preferring to run long distances but never beyond range of my voice to return upon my command. Take her to a farm and she would try to drive livestock into a group. Take her to the vet and she watched how the examination door opened, then often tried to escape. Fun memories.
Finished the drawing for Thanksgiving. Have a happy one, everyone! Here's wishing happy memories for you and your families.
This is a question often asked nearing the end of a drawing or painting. An artist can often "overwork" a piece, well after it is finished. I know from experience.
In this, I was just about to stop when I got Rosie's face pretty close to my satisfaction and the values suitable and the stroke of the hair following the direction I remembered. I thought I was finished.
Then, I decided to add detail to the deck floor on which she was sitting. Now I wonder if I need to do the feet? Will that take away from her face? Or, should I erase some of the detail of the deck and have the unfinished shape of her paws extend over an imaginary platform? What am I trying to say to convey feelings in this "portrait" of our special pet and not disrespect?
Time to step away from this piece and give it a break for a week or so - then come back to make adjustments.
I forgot what a treat it was to stroke Rosie's fine hair. Hope I can do it justice in this drawing. I've pretty well got the shapes, and most of the direction of hair. Now to begin working with blending eraser and layering the graphite to refine values.
Over the weekend, I accomplished more work on this sketch over than I expected. Despite football games and preparation for Winter weather outside, here's the latest progress report. Rain, then cold arrives soon so I'll probably move forward with this while confined inside, and another drawing in the wings.
This reference photo was taken sitting on a wooden porch. I originally thought I'd add porch rails and rocking chair, but Sara says it will distract. 'Afraid I agree. Hopefully I can erase my reference lines without marring a white background.
Some of you may remember Rosie, our dog that took up over 18 years of our life. Sara and I still miss her and talk about her when on walks, at meal time, and other times when she made her presence especially notable. She's been gone now for about 8 years.
Well, I'm finally getting around to drawing her picture from a photo. The sketch will be all graphite since she her rich black coat had an especially silky reflective quality. But her expressive brown eyes stood out from that patch of black, often speaking to us without words.
In drawing any portrait, I find I begin with the eyes. If I'm satisfied with the eyes, then I can continue. If not, I simply have to put the work down and come back when I'm ready to make another try. I wonder if that's how God does it.
Anyway, here is the beginning of my sketch of "the Rose".