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Archive for March, 2009

I will be showing my collage interpretation of The Way of the Cross March 29 through April 11.  

One piece will be shown each day along with the scripture passage or passages that go with it.  This is the project I am completing for my Creativity and Spirituality Doctor of Ministry Class at Wesley Theological Seminary.  

Please do not copy or post these images in any other place without my permission.  

The choice of scripture passages and translations are from Megan McKenna’s The New Stations of the Cross, based on a revision of the traditional stations of the cross by Pope John Paul II in 1991.

Jesus Is Condemned To Death By the Sanhedrin

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Mark 14:55-56, 60-65

The chief priests with the whole Sanhedrin were busy soliciting testimony against Jesus that would lead to his death, but they could not find any.  Many people gave false evidence against Jesus, but their stories did not agree . . . .  The high priest rose to his feet before the court and began to interrogate Jesus:  Have you no answer to what these men testify against you?”  But Jesus remained silent; he made no reply.  Once again the high priest interrogated him:  “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”  Then Jesus answered:  “I am; and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.”  At that the high priest tore his robes and said:  “What further need do we have of witnesses?  You have heard the blasphemy.  What is your verdict?”  They all concurred in the verdict “guilty,” with its sentence of death. Some of them then began to spit on him.  They blindfolded him and hit him, saying, “Play the prophet!” while the officers manhandled him.  

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I will be showing my collage interpretation of The Way of the Cross March 29 through April 11.  

One piece will be shown each day along with the scripture passage or passages that go with it.  This is the project I am completing for my Creativity and Spirituality Doctor of Ministry Class at Wesley Theological Seminary.  

Please do not copy or post these images in any other place without my permission.  

The choice of scripture passages and translations are from Megan McKenna’s The New Stations of the Cross, based on a revision of the traditional stations of the cross by Pope John Paul II in 1991.

Jesus Is Betrayed By Judas

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Matthew 26:45-49

Then Jesus once again came back from his prayer to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and rest now because as you can plainly see, everthing is culminating here and I will be handed over to sinners.  Rise, then, and let us go.  See, my betrayer is at hand.”  While he was still speaking, Judas arrived.  He was once of the Twelve, and he had with him a large crowd sent from the chief priests and the elders of the the people and they carried swords and clubs.  Now the betrayer had given them a sign:  “The one I will kiss,” he had told them, “is the man; seize him.”  Upon arriving, Judas immediately came up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.

Mark 14:43, 45-46

And immediately while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the Twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and elders . . . .  And when he came, he went up to him at once, and said, “Master!”  And he kissed him.  And they laid hands on him and seized him.  


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I will be showing my collage interpretation of The Way of the Cross March 29 through April 11.  

One piece will be shown each day along with the scripture passage or passages that go with it.  This is the project I am completing for my Creativity and Spirituality Doctor of Ministry Class at Wesley Theological Seminary.  

Please do not copy or post these images in any other place without my permission.  

The choice of scripture passages and translations are from Megan McKenna’s The New Stations of the Cross, based on a revision of the traditional stations of the cross by Pope John Paul II in 1991.

Jesus Prays In the Garden of Olives

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Luke 22:39-42, 45-46

He went, as usual, to the Mount of Olives with the disciples following him.  When they reached the place, he said to them, “Pray now, that you may be faithful to what God wants.”  Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, “O Holy One, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.” . . . When he rose from pryer, he returned to his disciples but found them sleeping because of their grief.  he said to them, “Why are you sleeping?  Rise up and pray so that you may be faithful.

Mark 14:33-36

Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him to the garden.  He was greatly distressed and troubled. He said to them, “My soul is sorrowful, even unto death.  Remain here.  Watch.”  He fell on the ground and prayed if it were possible, this hour might pass from him.  “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what you will.”

 


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Now to begin adding mixed media to the painted canvases.

My “palette” consists of:

Splendor Strandable 12-ply silk.  I’ll be plying it in some instances and leaving it “as is” in others.

Wire Form Sculptor’s Mesh — Aluminum 1/4″ grid.  (I really love this stuff!  I’m getting all kinds of ideas for using it.)

And my hand-made paper.

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I’ve experimented with how to attach these media and am using two different methods: 

I’m attaching the fibers with a glue gun.  They’ll wrap around the canvases and attach on the back so a glue gun works best.  I can set the fibers where I want them and know that the glue will dry almost instantly and hold them tightly in place.  I don’t have to wait long for drying, which means the fibers can’t slip around.

For the paper and metal mesh I’m using Golden Soft Gel Medium, Matte.  This takes longer to dry but is giving a pretty invisible attach with the mesh.

I hit another creative “block” (otherwise known as “fear of making a mistake”) as I was preparing to start adding media to canvas, but took another deep breath and sat down yesterday and completed the first piece, so now I feel like I can keep moving along.   

I’m going to attempt to finish the pieces across the next few days and will be showing one piece a day on the blog along with the accompanying scripture passage, starting tomorrow up through Holy Saturday, April 11.  If I decide to do the 15th piece, which would be the Resurrection, I’ll show it on Easter, April 12.  Hopefully, setting this schedule for myself will help me to stay engaged in the process daily.  

Before I turn in the project for a grade, I’ll also create a series of meditations and will be making music suggestions to go along with the visual pieces.  

I listened to snippets of a few requiems this morning and will probably suggest one of those to be played as accompaniment while viewing and meditating upon the series. 

This is turning out to be a very holistic project.  Again, perfect Lent project, although I didn’t plan it that way.

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I’m taking a break from the BIG PROJECT today and started knitting a prayer “shawl” for a friend who’s undergoing cancer treatment.  It’s actually more like a lap robe, ’cause I don’t think guys really do shawls.

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It’s made with a simple k3 p3 pattern suggested in “Knitting Into the Mystery.”   The pattern is symbolic of the Trinity.  I’ve made a couple of prayer shawls before and they were very well received and loved by the people I gave them to.  Sadly, one of those succumbed to brain cancer a couple of years ago, but I know the shawl was well used while she was going through treatment.

I also put together a quick couple strands of prayer beads that my Relay for Life team is going to make for the annual event at the end of May.   I needed to see if I could actually make them and how long they would take to make so I would have some idea for the workshops we’ll be having soon to make them for the relay.    Actually, John did most of the one on the right.  We wanted to see how long it would take someone who’s never done beads before, and he did it in less than half an hour.  Not bad.

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Last night I finished painting my canvases.  It’s really amazing to see how this creative process is working as I am forced to document and reflect upon it for my class.

I started with a “big picture” of what I wanted to accomplish and made it a little more particular with the thumbnail sketches.  But it is the actual execution of the work that is helping me to define the process and the meaning that is being built into the work as I go.

I began painting the canvases with the idea to use a gray scale to indicate growing darkness along the way to the cross.  I found that it was no easy thing to get the shading right and that it couldn’t be done by formula (at least I couldn’t figure one out), but had to be done by feel and intuition.  Just as a sunset doesn’t happen as gradually as we think but surprises us with significant changes in light at unexpected moments, so the growing darkness here required unexpected amounts of black to overcome the white base that I began with.

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I wanted to convey some sense of emotions throughout the work and used the next layer to do that.  At the same time I also continued another layer of encroaching darkness by pulling shade back into each canvas from the one following it.  I used brush strokes and in some cases paint splatters to convey emotions such as confusion, betrayal, and anger.

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The shading and brush strokes will underlay the successive layers as I begin to add media beyond the paint.  

I’m finding this very exciting and am impatient to finish, but the process of applying the different media requires me to do a lot of waiting and that is good for the reflection part.  It’s helping me not only to refine what I want to “say”, but also to plumb the depths of meaning in the journey to the cross.

It occurred to me last night, that although I had not thought about it when I decided to do this project, this is a perfect project to be working on during Lent.  I’m also getting some ideas not only on how the finished work could be used, but also on how I could adapt this process to use with a group of people in a Bible study or spiritual formation group.

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My first paper making experiment turned out pretty good and I’m going to be able to use this paper for my BIG PROJECT.  I’m hoping I made enough so I don’t have to go through the whole process again right now, since my due date is rapidly approaching.

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Here’s my “blank canvas.”  Well, it’s not exactly blank because I have started working on the canvases.  But my entire canvas is composed of these 15 12″x12″ canvases.

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The BIG PROJECT is my interpretation of the Stations of the Cross.  For a long time I’ve wanted to try doing a non-representational presentation of the traditional Stations of the Cross, but had always thought I would do it in fiber and textile.  

While the Stations of the Cross are not typically used in Protestant worship, I think there is value in using them as a basis for meditation, especially on Good Friday.   I particularly want to depict them non-objectively, which means I’ll be using geometric shapes rather than doing anything that actually looks like human figures or even, in most cases, like a cross.   

My initial inspiration for this series comes from Barnett Newman’s “Stations of the Cross” at the National Gallery of Art.  I’ve done some research on Newman’s work and it turns out this work is not actually based on the “stations of the cross” but on the words of Christ from the cross, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Each canvas is a different aspect of his interpretation. 

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That helps a lot in understanding Newman’s pieces, rather than trying to place them within the framework of the traditional stations.  Newman did a lot of work in reflection on the Holocaust and these pieces also come out of that reflection. (This is a picture one of my colleagues took of some of the the pieces in the series.)

For my interpretation I’ll be using an update of the stations called “The Way of the Cross” done by Pope John Paul II.  I’ve chosen to use his update because it relies solely on biblical passages rather than some of the non-biblical stations in the traditional Stations of the Cross.  

Besides my preparatory work of gathering all the materials, instructions on processes, and reading some different meditations on the stations, I’ve also done thumbnail sketches to guide me as I put together the series of canvases.

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I’m also having to do some experimentation with techniques, such as how to apply the metal mesh, paper and fiber to the canvases.  This is not only an interpretive process for me, but very much a learning process in art techniques.

Since the Project includes a paper documenting my creative and interpretive process, I’m trying to capture the creative process here on the blog and then will add the interpretive process later as I write the paper.  But a little bit of the interpretive process will probably appear here, too.

Turns out that as I think about it, this IS a fiber project.  I’m using silk fiber, fiber in the paper making, and metal “fiber” in the sculptor’s mesh, not to mention that artist’s canvas is made of fiber.  It’s just very different fiber and textile than I’m accustomed to!

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