Seven Rivers Walking : Reviews

“Anyone with a gnats whisker of concern for our environment should track this movie down and go see it -”
BARRIE

VISIT: http://sevenrivers.nz

“Thank-you for the wonderful film that is Seven Rivers Walking. My Mum and I saw this film at Alice Cinematheque on the weekend. It was very moving and a call to action for us both to do more for our environment.”
PIETA

SELWYN - Rescuing Inanga“Your documentary was amazing…to really hit home to me how much hard work there is to do and it has strengthened my resolve to do as much as we can in our park + the surrounding neighborhoods….”
MICHAEL

“Really appreciated  the movie tonight.  We spent 13 years in Ashburton so have a soft spot for the farming world.  Dairying however has changed things. It is too easy for city folk to point the finger at farmers when we have real issues to face. ”
D.W.

“I went to see the Seven Rivers Walking film on the weekend and was very moved by it and as a result am inspired to get more involved in advocating for, protecting and improving our waterways. In response to this film, I have subscribed to the Opawaho Heathcote River Network newsletter with the view to getting involved in OHRN activities, I have put some rocks in the open drain that runs through my property in an attempt to improve water quality and encourage life, I have subscribed to Forest and Bird for myself and my kids and I have started buying Nature Matters milk from XCHC in the basis that they are a low intensive farm with concern for the waterways.”
C. F.

“Went to see this movie/documentary today. Very good. Thought provoking for all NZ’ers. A must see if you are able to go. ”
MARILYN

“This is local film-making to help us understand and care about the gift of fresh water and the future of our rivers. It is respectful of the all point of view and a good 85 minutes to think about how we can back out of the worst of the possible futures for our fresh water.”ALICE

“You and Kathleen definitely captured the depth of concern out there and provided the motivation to keep going.”
SCOTT

ORARI- Rafting 2

“I was greatly touched by the film last night. You and your fellow team have done an incredible job… I thought it particularly powerful by not drawing itself into the politics of this urgent issue – but simply showing us the reality of how it is.”
WADE

“…but just let me add ‘wow!’ So much gorgeous photography – all that amazing wildlife stuff, stunning underwater shots and the beautiful braids from the air – absolutely loved it – incredible job. And you packed So Much In!”
TANYA

“Congratulations, your filming was amazing. Art with a message, a serious message! Hope our new politicians take note, do something positive, we ordinary folk can and must do our bit to protect our water systems.”
JUNE

SRW Dorector and Camera, Gaylene Barnes, in the Rakaia River

Circumscribed: The Poem

I write you running, first.
I sit at a small table, in a one-room cottage
alone, waiting.

But you – you are running.
Running at full sprint; away.
Beneath you is a gravel road.
Beside you is a beech forest, and a river
Ahead of you is the lake.

You run for it.

I am at the table.
I look at my hands.
Small delicate, ladies hands, I suppose.
Designed for embroidery and poems.
Not this rough cottage and it’s dirty pails.

There is an ink stain on my right hand.

I say “Der Zeigefinger.”

You are running the radii,
Aspiring for the circumference.
This edge of our existence,
the magic circle of our biography.
You are always running away from me.

I say “Am Anfang war die Tat.”
[In the Beginning was the Act.]

Singularity
Singularity [Gold and Ink on Paper, 2016, G.Barnes]

 

Events happen to you. Drama! It is yours.
Not mine. I just watch you, from this table.

And then there’s her. That terrible demi-god.
Inscribing us both. Defining our 360.
You cannot escape her clumsy manoeuvrings
– but I will not let her move me.

I will remain. Seated at this table.

Knock! Knock! Knock!
I say “Enter”
Three full fat bodies fill the door frame.
Framed by my eye. The frame of this film.
The three of them, who demand toll.

Those three detainers.

TRI
Tri [Walnut Ink on Paper, 2016, G.Barnes]
A shiny button, a silver medal, a yellow ribbon.
Big fat hands clasp pieces of parchment.
Dirty boots. A muddy print on my clean hearth.
The fire smokes, splutters in small protest.

I say “With what mandate have you come”
They wave their piece of paper. Inscribed with royal insignia.
“War Regulations. Enemy Aliens.
Detained at the discretion of the Minister of Defence.”

They say things that I don’t [won’t] hear properly.
“Close your business… report to the police station for registration … 20 miles ….”
“no communication with enemy country.”

“Enemy Alien.”

Enemy Alien
I am an Enemy Alien [Gold and Ink on Paper, 2016, G.Barnes]

I just say
“Rennen!”

You are running.

I take a map. And a compass.
I draw an X. This is where I am.
I draw a circumference. 20 miles from X.

This is where Others, have allowed Us to be.
The extent of our [current] existence.

There is the edge, just ahead. In the fog.
The circle on the map.
Darkness, darker fog, outside of this.

Try not to forget. Try to remember me.

So, let us concern ourselves with the boundary

We are now spread out to the very edge,
it is our complete.

You stand on the edge, your toes curled over the rim.
it is a deep dark endless cavern, you think.

it is separating –

but it is strengthening –

it supplies the form of me [the mater/matter]
it lets you see me more clearly [the pater/pattern]

circum_nov_9_sq
Descent  [Gold and Ink on Paper, 2016, G.Barnes]

Cross the desolate.
The flattened ruin littered with debris,
shipwrecks, razor-wire and mud.
The same cottage, different landscape.
The lake has gone, the trees have gone, the forest disappeared.

You can see my cottage.
My window is glowing by candlelight.

And there I am, at the window.
Looking back at you.
Our eyes meet, for the first time?

To be sure, this place of crossing is frightening,
–to you.

It’s depth is great, it’s height is staggering.
Let us be of a single mind and
without hesitation, pass by, please.

Pass over the boundary.
Do not look back.

It is reflection.

I hear you knock.
You are knocking.

I will let You in.

© Gaylene Barnes, 2017

I WRITE YOU RUNNING
I Write you Running [Gold and Ink on Paper, 2016, G.Barnes]

Geometric Meditation: The Mandorla

The ALL begins with a point.

Yet the point is in ZERO / NO dimension.

Do not yet make the point. The point does not exist. But please contemplate what is before the point….

It is WILL, and INTENTION, and LOVE. It is explosive DESIRE.

You want to create, to start, to begin the journey, to make a mark. You really want to express!  But you must first choose a place to begin, and a direction to go. Because once you select your origin point – there is no going back – your point will immediately activate and create the FIRST dimension. A line is being drawn.

Please take a moment before you place your point. You must first conceive exactly where your point begins, and which direction it is going.

I am waiting for you to choose your origin.

I am waiting for you to choose your direction.

 

A LINE is drawn. It is called the FIRST dimension – but it is not the first thing!

The ‘point of origin’ will become a memory. We forget our beginning so quickly in our material race through the dimensions of time and movement. Can we hold both in our head? Try …  hold the place you are going, and the place you have come from.

… remember the point.

 

©G. Barnes 2016

 

The Magdalene Response

The captivating ancient icon of the Three Mary’s Visiting the Empty Tomb after the Earthquake has Rolled Away the Stone and the Witness of the Angel – is a sublime image pregnant with meaning today. I have incorporated the Russian Byzantium original icon of this narrative (sometimes called ‘Angel of the Holy Sepulchre’)  with an image of the damaged ruins of the Cathedral of The Blessed Sacrament, Christchurch.

“and lo, there came a great earthquake, for a messenger of the Lord, having come down out of heaven, having come, did roll away the stone from the door, and was sitting upon it,”  Matthew 28:2

"The Inbetween Time"
“The Time InBetween: When The Earthquake Rolls Away the Stone” [Egg Tempera and Gold. 60x45cm] © 2015 G.Barnes
The Body of Christ has gone. There is left only a shroud – a ghost, a breath of His essence, a memory, a half-thought. The Liven Logos has gone. The physical Presence has disappeared. Risen or otherwise? At this point in the narrative – it is unknown. This is a significant moment – it is certainly one filled with fear. It is the very moment  after complete dissolution / destruction, yet before any resurrection or rebirth. It is a moment pregnant with the possibility of mind-blowing realizations. In fact, you could say, that because of the fear and the unknown – it is a moment of perfect freedom. The rules of matter, life and death have been abandoned. Faith in physicality has proven false, hope in a Spiritual rebirth is still awaiting. There is only this moment, alive with incredible potential –  but only if courage can be mustered…

“…and his countenance was as lightning, and his clothing white as snow”
Matthew 28:5

 

Christchurch found herself in this position once upon a time not so long ago. In the midst of ruin and destruction there was potential and many possibilities of beautiful new beginnings. Freedom reigned for awhile, and humanity was indeed community. [See our film ‘The Art of Recovery‘]. But Fear caught hold and reigned supreme, and instead of waiting for the dawn of realisation and a new rebirth … we were handed out stricter (old) rules and we allowed others, outsiders, to take control. Courage failed, and now our ‘resurrection’ is very slow, boring and stifled by bureaucracy.

“…and having gone in, they found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, while they are perplexed about this, that lo, two men stood by them in glittering apparel, and on their having become afraid, and having inclined the face to the earth, they said to them, ‘Why do ye seek the living with the dead?” Luke 24:5

 

How do we allow this fear (remember it is just a ‘fear of the unknown’) to live and become reborn into New Life – as Christ has shown us. Lets look at the response of the Three Mary’s a little deeper and how they responded to death, destruction and loss. In the Icon they each appear to respond to the situation differently: Mother Mary grieves in complete abandon and fear for her physical loss, the mother of James comforts her whose need is much greater, with no thought for herself; while the Magdalene makes stern demands and enquiries of the angel/s.

“…”Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” John 20:15

 

This is the time now, we are the Three Mary’s. Which Mary are you? There are those of us, most of us in fact, who live in constant understated FEAR. We console ourselves with tradition and systems and rules, we fear the past and we fear the future. We promote and evoke apocalyptic thinking and beliefs – these dogmas are possibly the most detrimental of all, giving us permission to inflict mortal damage upon our environment and even to wreck havoc upon our own mortal beings, and the mortal beings of others. Is this the ‘sin’ of the world?  Then there are those who live outside of themselves, who are asleep to their own condition as they look always to the EXTERNAL.  Perhaps to serve others, thinking that this is the way of peace, in imitation of Christ’s service. Or they concentrate solely on material existence.

Then there are the Magdalene’s, those who SEEK answers, look for solutions, demand a better now, and therefore a better future. Magdalenes actively curate hope, vigourously search for realization. They harness their fear into freedom filled courage – await insight, hope for realization. They do not let their fear turn into anger or wrath, or try to simply forget or ignore it. Magdalene’s embrace fear!

Thus, FEAR directed into HOPE, resting upon a ground of FREEDOM, resurrects true REVELATION. This Mary says “You will TELL ME RIGHT NOW where you have taken him!!” Her question is pure, intense – it demands an answer. She is given one. The teacher is revealed to her first, to the Magdalene alone.

‘Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” ‘
John 20:15-16

 

Where the teacher’s revelations lead – I will follow.

Circling Squares and Pentads in a Finite World

Apparently when you
Square a Circle in a Pentagram

you get a woman over the moon.

The marriage of heaven and earth,
sometimes drawn by artists, geometers and conspiratorials
as a Circle Squared with Equal Circumference,
or Area – whichever you prefer.

And, with this same centre point,
set comfortably within the Pentagram… it leaves a gap
for the Moon… and the proportions
of a Woman Fivefold.

The Squared Circle and Proportional Woman
G. Barnes (2013) Squared Circle, Woman, and Moon in Pentagram [Pencil and tempera wash on paper]
I think. I am yet to confirm the perfect shape of woman.

And not only that, but a Moon that is in fact, in an exact ratio to the Earth.
As per in space – real space – as measured by students studying ASTRONOMY 101.

Surely,
if Leonardo had have spent less time on war machines,
less time trying to fly and failing (flailing)
less time butchering,
begging,
and brotheling.
Less time positioning Man’s navel as the center of everything,
that strange herniac creature, that cadavar of ‘perfect proportion’.

He would have seen what is obvious to all cooks and cleaners and cheesemakers
– and artists with half a brain making vague scribbles in a fog of maths.

That the Squaring of a Circle, when in perfect alignment around a perfect center.
And, when within that fated shape of Platonic perfection.
The Pentad Polyhedra
Ridiculed since the Renaissance and forced into the service
of fantasy for demons
and devils of fiction
with witches and warlocks,
for fear,
that it maybe the key,
to her and she,
together beyond patriarchy.

This final and mysterious shape /a perfect solid –
Could it be the shape of a universe emasculated?
(I mean encapsulated)

Beyond and before, this icon of misguided Humanism.

With legs astride, in extension; the universe embraced in limbs.
Centered in pleasure. Squared in pain.
Engaged to the Moon in Birth and Death.
Married to Earth.
Transfigured with Heaven.

In constant Expansion and Contraction through the Universe.

G. Barnes. November, 2013

G. Barnes (2013) God Measures 1 Micron of Gesso [Photoshop Study]
NOTES

The Platonic Solids.
Wenzel Jamnitzer (1958) Perspectiva Corporum Regularium. Pentad polyhedra: The Platonic regular Dodecahedron is the first one.

THE PENTAD

Seen most obviously as the five-pointed star (pentagram) or a polygon of five sides (pentagon). In a regular pentagon, all sides are equal in length and each interior angle is 108°. A regular pentagon has five lines of reflectional symmetry, (five fold symmetry) and rotational symmetry also in order of 5 (through 72°, 144°, 216° and 288°). The diagonals of a regular pentagon are also, beautifully, in golden ratio to its sides. These diagonals can be calculated based upon the golden ratio φ and the known side T:

frac {D}{T} = varphi = frac {1+ sqrt {5} }{2} ,

When mapped into three dimensions the pentad creates the dodecahedron – which is Plato’s last and final perfect solid. [There are only 5 regular solids in the world that can be constructed with regular faces.]  It is composed of 12 regular pentagonal faces, with three meeting at each vertex, and has 20 vertices, 30 edges and 160 diagonals.

The dodecahedron was the last of the Platonic solids to be discovered. In Plato’s dialogue Timaeus (c. 360 B.C.) he associates the other four platonic solids with the four classical elements, adding that there is a fifth figure – the dodecahedron which “God used in the delineation of the universe” – to shape the universe – and which is associated with the element ‘aether’ – ie cosmic dust?

Recently, various models have been proposed for the global geometry of the universe. In addition to the primitive geometries, these proposals include the Poincaré dodecahedral space, a positively curved space consisting of a dodecahedron whose opposite faces correspond (with a small twist). This was proposed by Jean-Pierre Luminet and colleagues in 2003. (Physics World) They predict a model in which space consists of 12 curved pentagons joined together in a sphere. Their ‘small’, closed universe should be about 30 billion light years across.

“Our work really addresses this ancient question of whether the universe is finite or infinite, the exciting point is that this is no longer pure speculation – we now have real data.” (Jeff Weeks, Physics World)

The pentad was revered by many early societies: it is found throughout nature – from flowers, to apple cores, to the very shape of the universe. It is a symbol of life and regeneration. It is the five wounds of Christ, it is a symbol for truth.

SQUARING THE CIRCLE

Earth | Moon. Ratio
Earth | Moon. Ratio

Circle Circumference Formula: CC = πd
Squared Circle Circumference CC/4=W
Circle Area Formula: AC = πr2
Squared Circle Area: √AC = w

The smaller circle (moon) is a circle with the radius of the gap between the squared circle and the square. It also has the diameter of the gap between the polygram and the square/circle.
The Moon is 3,476 km wide, the Earth is 12,742 km wide.
12742/3476 = 3.665 ratio
My picture: 1258 /297 = 4.11 ratio
NB. My pentagram was not perfect to start with! Therefore the squaring was a bit rough… The transcendence of pi implies the impossibility of exactly “circling” the square, as well as of squaring the circle. It is at best an approximation of the ‘truth’, as is all art and life!

VITRUVIAN MAN

Leonardo Da Vinci
Leonardo Da Vinci “The Viturvian Man” 1564 [watercolour]
Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man is NOT an accurate squared circle. Many commentators have tried to apply this geometric concept to it, but it is not a squared circle by area or circumference. I measured it! His circle was merely inscribed within the square from the navel – although it is close.

This image does provide an example of Leonardo’s interest in the proportion of ‘man’. In addition, this picture represents a cornerstone of Leonardo’s attempts to relate Fivefold Man to Nature. He conceived of the human body as a cosmografia del minor mondo (cosmography of the microcosm), to be an analogy for the workings of the universe.

It is called the Vitrivius Man because Leonardo applied Vitrivius’ proportions of man from his architectural treatise. Man = temple. I wonder what a temple designed around a woman’s body would look like?

“Similarly, in the members of a temple there ought to be the greatest harmony in the symmetrical relations of the different parts to the general magnitude of the whole. Then again, in the human body the central point is naturally the navel. For if a man be placed flat on his back, with his hands and feet extended, and a pair of compasses centred at his navel, the fingers and toes of his two hands and feet will touch the circumference of a circle described therefrom. And just as the human body yields a circular outline, so too a square figure may be found from it. For if we measure the distance from the soles of the feet to the top of the head, and then apply that measure to the outstretched arms, the breadth will be found to be the same as the height, as in the case of plane surfaces which are perfectly square. [Vitruvius, pg.73.]

REFERENCES

Dumé, Belle. (2003) PhysicsWorld. Retrieved from http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2003/oct/08/is-the-universe-a-dodecahedron

Critchlow, Keith.(1999)  Islamic Patterns: An Analytical and Cosmological Approach. Inner Traditions, rochester, Vermont.

Hemerway, Priya. (2008) The Secret Code. The Mysterious Formula that rules art, nature and science. Springwood; Lugano, Switzerland.

Lundy, Miranda. (1998) Sacred Geometry. Walker & Company; New York.

Pastorello, Tom. Leonardo Squared the Circle! — Da Vinci’s Secret Solution in the Vitruvian Man Decoded. Retrieved from: http://arthistory.about.com/library/weekly/bl_leo_vitruvian_man.htm

Vitruvius. The Ten Books on Architecture. Translated by Morris Hicky Morgan, Harvard University Press, Cambridge (1914). Retrieved from: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/20239/20239-h/29239-h.htm#Page_72

Contemplating Cosmic Holes

“Cosmic Hole of Glory” [Photoshop Study]
As a human being in the 21st century I am overwhelmed by a saturation of facts; an environment of e-knowledge too impossible to comprehend,
too perplexing to remedy,
too pointless to sustain, to make sense of.
Our technology grows more inscrutable, our politics more convoluted, foreign policy beyond madness, rules expand, legislation grows, libraries thicken, archives burst. So much to learn, in one life, a tiny lifetime to learn so much.

Where are my ancestors? Who hands down the wisdom? [Just the important bits please.]

As an artist in New Zealand 2013 I am overwhelmed by too many choices: a saturation of imagery, beauty absorbed by capitalist propaganda, materialist agendas, art objects sold, weighed, cut by 40%, add %15, taxed at %19.
Nature divided – birds, insects, human parts rearranged, reconfigured.
In the cafe, the restaurant, the office.
To the hearth, the lounge wall, the foyer.
the rhetoric
the memory
the original
the ego
the statement.
Then it becomes a poster, a jpeg,
if you are lucky … a file in a vault.

As a spiritual being at the dawn of this new millenium I am overwhelmed by religious fervour, embarrassed by fundamental insistences, God appearing in broken people,
Christ not walking among us, breaking his own bread, sharing wine with us.
A memory of Israelites. Engrained. Embellished.

A diffuse Divine,
absent in the modern
we reincarnate the Ancients
we summon the Dead
we invoke the Saints
we need their wisdom to be … so very infused, absorbed, engrained at the core!
– where we don’t have to think or measure the weight of it.

Nor even the reality of it.

 Just their wisdom please, a wisdom that our genes seem to have lost somewhere along the line.

Bees. Four days work.
Bees. Four days work.

Why are we not like the Bees? Who for millions of years, billions of generations have built the exact same hive. A hexagon. Do the young’ns say – ‘lets build something modern! Lets innovate! A circle perhaps?” And do the old’ns say – “We tried that once, little fella – didn’t work.” Four thousand new bees swarm in our hive at the back of the garden. They got straight to work and began to build baby houses for their Queen’s brood. The same as they have ever done. Soon there will be 20,000. And honey. Hopefully. But quite likely.

A few stragglers wander into my studio and alight on the gilded surfaces.

Is Heaven for all the billions? The Divine soul is listening; Empathic souls hear every cry. Blimey, it must be exhausting!

Have you worked out that it is between the lines that we work? That poetry and painting reveal the spaces between the saturation? I cannot think in prose this week, I cannot apply logic and coherence to my thoughts – actually I am refusing to do so. I am finding my reality in parallel, in simultaneousness, and vague intuition. Legitimately.

I am not a computer who can manage my information efficiently.
Sort, stack, assemble, pattern, sample, divide and conquer.
Linear processing and serial deduction to reach sequential conclusions.

“Once Copernicus had eliminated place as a basis of the human claim to centrality in the universe, we were at a lost to interpret our spatial experience simultaneously. Descartes replaced it with the reality of our own mental processes -he coined the famous dictum “I think, therefore I am”- a few words which displaced spatial experience, created a referential void, and further disassociated us from our passages of life.” [G. Barnes, From An Essay I wrote when I could think logically. 1995. University of Otago]

Lunar Virgin, Suburban Mary
Lunar Virgin, Suburban Mary [60x45cm, egg tempera and gilding on gessoed board.]
Place. Space. And Being.

A thought,

that maybe the wisdom, humility and mothering spirit of the ancient soul of the Virgin Mary could be invoked in the violent nights of suburban New Zealand. That angry hands be stayed. That the child sleeps in peace, comfort, joy.

another thought,

that the astronaut, in terror descends the lunar surface, looks back at the Earth.
It floats alone, a small sliver of oxygen holding back an infinity of piercing cosmic dust.

Wisdom is imparted from our ancestors, from celestial travellers.

Are we listening? No – that’s not the right question –  I mean –

Are we contemplating?

Painters and poets translate their message.

Sometimes we see a vague image.

We scribble it on cave walls,

… and gessoed panels.

St Francis of Assisi – with Birds of Aotearoa

“St Francis with Birds of Aotearoa” [Egg tempera and gilding on gessoed board, 38x25cm]

Saint Francis (b. 1181) was an Italian Catholic friar and preacher. He founded the men’s Order of Friars Minor, the women’s Order of St. Clare, and the Third Order of Saint Francis. Francis is one of the most venerated and painted religious figures in history. ‘To rekindle the love of God in the world and reanimate the life of the spirit in the hearts of men’ — this was his mission.

Francis was a profound mystic in the truest sense of the word. The whole world was to him one luminous ladder, upon the rungs of which he approached and beheld God. He profoundly united religion and nature – finding in all created things, however trivial, some reflection of the Divine perfection. (See his famous poem “Canticle of the Creatures” below.) He loved to admire in them the beauty, power, wisdom, and goodness of their Creator. He saw a sermon in stones, and good in everything. He delighted to commune with the wild flowers, the crystal spring, the friendly fire, and to greet the sun as it rose.

The very animals found in Francis a tender friend and protector and the early legends have left us many an idyllic picture of how beasts and birds alike were susceptible to the charm of Francis’s gentle ways, and entered into loving companionship with him. How his “little brethren the birds” listened so devoutly to his sermons that Francis chided himself for not having thought of preaching to them before. A winning trait of Francis which inspires the deepest affection was his unswerving directness of purpose and unfaltering following after an ideal. “His dearest desire so long as he lived”, Celano tells us, “was ever to seek among wise and simple, perfect and imperfect, the means to walk in the way of truth.” To Francis love was the truest of all truths; hence his deep sense of personal responsibility towards his fellows. Hardly less engaging than his boundless sense of fellow-feeling was Francis’s downright sincerity and artless simplicity. Humility was, no doubt, the saint’s ruling virtue. He truly believed himself less than the least.

For many thousands of years the birds had dominion over the islands of New Zealand,  but human settlement forced the extinction of many, and several species are currently endangered.  New Zealand has lost more bird species than any other nation. Of those remaining we now have a higher percentage at risk than any other country. Yet they will continue to hold their place in this land – intimately connected with the forest, the mountains and the shorelines. During Francis’ lifetime, they would have been abundant. The Kea, in the bottom of the image, is considered to be a guardian. In Francis’ right hand he holds one of our most endangered birds – the black robin – which was once reduced to one breeding pair. [more info]


The Praise of the Creatures

(Written by St. Francis)

Most high, all powerful, all good Lord!
All praise is Yours all glory, honour and blessing.
To You alone, Most High, do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your name.

Praised be You, my Lord, through all Your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and You give light through him.
He is most beautiful and radiant in all his splendour!
He bears the essence, of You, Most High.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon
and the Stars, in heaven you formed them
clear and precious and beautiful.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
and through air serene and stormy clouds,
through every kind of weather

You give sustenance to Your creatures.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water;
She is very useful, humble, precious and chaste.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom You light the night.
He is beautiful and cheerful, robust and strong.

Praised be You, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth,
who feeds and sustains us, who rules and governs us
Who produces many fruits and colourful flowers and herbs.

{abridged}
Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks
and serve Him with great humility.

AMEN

[This image and poem are reproduced in a large card, see order form]

The Cosmic Christ of the Transfiguration, is Present

“Cosmic Christ of the Transfiguration” [60x45cm]

The Transfiguration is the event when Christ’s two natures are made clearly visible. In front of human witnesses – Christ exchanges his temporal earthly form for his eternal divine form for a moment…

The Transfiguration was not a phenomenon circumscribed in time and space; Christ underwent no change at that moment, even in His human nature – the change occurred in the awareness of the apostles, who for a time received the power to see their Master as He was, resplendent in the eternal light of the Godhead. The light which Christ radiated on Mount Tabor is eternal and is visible through reflection, introspection and the silence of inward prayer – waiting upon God in emptiness and quietness.

The Transfiguration is one of the greatest mysteries of the Christian revelation, and one that is important to icon painters – it gives us permission to attempt to portray the divine light of God – which is in the likeness of Christ. A mystery is something that while it may be revealed for our understanding, we can never understand it exhaustively. It leads us into the depth, and into the darkness of God. The eyes are closed – but they are also opened.

And Christ was transfigured before them (Peter, James and John): and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was as white as the light. …[Peter then expressed how good it was to be there and suggested perhaps they build some sort of altar] … While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I Am well pleased; hear ye him. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were sore afraid,” (Matt 17:2-7, Mark 9:2-13, Luke 9:28-36)

Byzantine Archetypes and NASA Navigators

Following an exhibition in July I have been continuing with my exploration of the Cosmic and the Byzantine Archetypes and have created several compositions. Below are a few small thumbnails of my favourite ones. I have been making quick sketches of these using the traditional ‘cartoon’ technique of gum arabic and dry raw umber pigment with colour washes. It is a fabulous medium – so viscose, able to be layered, more forgiving than watercolours and quick – so I’m able to work on a much larger scale more easily.

I find I keep returning to the traditional Byzantine interpretation of Celestial Beings, I have tried others – but there is something about the simplicity, the directness, and the abstract naturalism – that holds the mysterious.

I’m walking a fine line. Negotiating a territory that could easily slip into fantasy art, new age art, science fiction art.  And I am also wrestling with the orthodoxy of an established canon of Byzantine imagery – which I respect, try to understand, and work with sincerely. I do feel that my work is perhaps a small representation of an evolving cosmic spirituality – I see that Eastern Christian Orthodoxy has something to offer, as much as NASA has (!) – in helping us along this journey. I’ll leave it at that for now.

Just as I try not to tamper with the archetype as handed down by generations of Byzantine Icon Painters, I also try not to tamper with the recordings made by our modern high-tech celestial navigators. I’m forever hopeful that in this way the truth of both is maintained – even while a new original story – full of possibilities is created.