“You are my son;
today I have become your Father.
Kiss His son, or He will be angry
and your way will lead to your destruction
Why do the nations conspire
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the LORD and against his anointed, saying,
“Let us break their chains
and throw off their shackles.”
The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord scoffs at them.
He rebukes them in his anger
and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
“I have installed my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”
I will proclaim the LORD’s decree:
He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have become your father.
and I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession.
You will break them with a rod of iron
you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”
Therefore, you kings, be wise;
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear
and celebrate his rule with trembling.
Kiss his son, or he will be angry
and your way will lead to your destruction,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God (John 3
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1)
On the weekend I went to the National Gallery in Canberra. I think it was my first time this year, after making multiple visits each year since 2011 when I first started painting.
Every time I went to Canberra, the gallery would be one place I’d regularly visit. On one occasion I spent a whole day there, apart from an hour when I walked down the road to the nearby National Portrait Gallery.
This year I’ve done very little painting, and as a result had less desire to go to the NGA.
A few weeks ago I caught a short news item on TV about recent changes to the Gallery’s exhibition spaces.
In the simplest terms, there had been a switching of the International and Australian galleries. What had been downstairs, (International paintings) had been swapped with those that had been upstairs (Australian paintings).
Another claimed change was the lighting of Pollock’s Blue Poles. New lights had been created specifically for the Pollock to give a truer view of the colours used, so the painting for the first time would look exactly as it should.
This was my first visit since the changes, and I was very disappointed with what had been done.
Firstly the place seemed over-lit. The brightness created a clinical sterility.
Secondly I felt there was no logical flow of ideas, styles or eras in the display of the art.
I could also see no difference with Blue Poles, despite the special lighting.
On the positive side, Colin McCahon’s Victory Over Death 2 had a much better location. It was once again hanging at a more favourable height after spending a couple of years of hung 4 metres above floor level over an enquiry counter.
Also, near VOD2 I saw Abendland [Twilight of the West] by Anslem Kiefer for the first time. A massive 4 metre x 4 metre heavily textured work that I loved.
It is now one of my three favourites in the gallery. The other two being McCahon’s VOD2 and Imants Tillers Terra Incognita, another massive artwork that is full of detail; a painting that could be viewed for hours to find all of the images and text it incorporates.
I recently visited the Australian War Memorial in Canberra to see Ben Quilty’s After Afghanistan exhibition.
I’d previously seen photos of the paintings as well as videos of him painting some of them. I had also been to the War Memorial a few months ago to see one of the series in the Afghanistan display.
Despite that familiarity, actually seeing those paintings displayed together was even better than I expected. The photos and videos were far less powerful than the paintings in person. Seeing the texture, the colour and having the ability to view them from various distances is essential to appreciating what the images convey: the lingering effect the Afghanistan experience has had on those who were stationed there.
An unexpected bonus of the visit was found in a small room at the centre of the exhibition where a collection of simple marble sculptures, displayed on plinths, commemorated the Australian servicemen who lost their lives in Afghanistan. 41 folded flags shaped out of marble have been sculpted to commemorate each of the Australian casualties of the war.
The sculptures were so realistic that to even a very close look the flags appeared to be fabric. only a light tap with my exhibition program convinced me that they were made of stone.
While sculptor Alex Seton was setting up the first exhibition of this work in Brisbane there were 23 flags representing what was then 23 deaths, but even before that exhibition opened there was news of a 24th death – so an empty plinth was set up as a temporary completion of what was an already outdated tribute. It has since required that the number of flags be almost doubled.
This work in progress is my newest painting inspired by Psalm 2
“Why do the nations rage…”
It is the neatest flag painting I’ve done. Previous flags were much more spontaneous, with less concern for straight lines (in other words messier).
On several of the small stars on the lower left, I have pasted portions of news clippings, each with one word highlighted. The words together read “Why do the nations rage against the Lord and His Christ” – an abbreviation of the first lines of Psalm 2.
My earlier flags:
Each flag references the Australian flag, the union flag and the stars and stripes.
The biggest regular art event in my local town is approaching. I entered the maximum five paintings as soon as the entry forms were made available. All I had to do was wait for the submission date and take the paintings to the gallery.
I thought that date was next weekend.
Last Saturday I went into town for lunch instead of eating at home as usual. While waiting for my order I saw a poster advertising the exhibition and found that the opening night was on the coming Friday. That meant the submission date was a week earlier than I thought. I wasn’t too concerned at the time, thinking I had the rest of Saturday afternoon and most of Sunday to deliver my paintings.
After lunch I went to buy some things for the garden and then drove home. As I was leaving the car park at about 1.50pm, for some reason I started to feel panicked. I was no longer sure that I had plenty of time to deliver my work for the exhibition. It took only five minutes to get home and I rushed inside to check the exhibition entry details. Submissions had to be in by 2.00pm that day.
I quickly pulled the paintings from the studio wall, threw them in the back of the car and drove to the gallery in town. As I took the paintings out of the car, the nearby town hall clock struck 2.00pm; I raced up the stairs and was able to deliver the paintings in time.
While some may see a few coincidences at work here, I have a different view of what happened. I thank God for the reminders that helped me to get those paintings to the gallery in time. This exhibition will potentially be the town’s most visited art event of the year giving my paintings quite a wide exposure. The paintings all have a scriptural inspiration, with titles like: “Man of Sorrows”, “Gospel”, and “Sacrifice” (see above illustration ) and either containing actual biblical text or at least visual references to the good news of Jesus the Messiah.
I may never know whether anyone receives anything from the messages the paintings are intended to convey, but the weekend’s experience gives me more confidence that God will make use of my work.
Thank you Jesus.
Yesterday I found out I’d won two first prizes in an art competition.
I was awarded “Best Abstract” for Metamorphose
And Best “Mixed Media” for Redemption
There were four entries in the Abstract category and three of them were mine.
There were two entries in the Mixed Media category – both of them mine.
While the “wins” are not as prestigious as they initially may have seemed – at least there was a little prize money to be reinvested into new materials and/or reference books.
My latest completed paintings.
In his own country
The “I AM” reflects the flash too much in the photo. It is not as dominant when seen in person.
Five of my paintings are included in a “Blokes Only” exhibition held by the local Society of Artists. The exhibition will run for about 6 weeks, the longest that any of my work has been displayed publicly.
Four of the paintings can be seen in my 2013 gallery page.
Ebal or Gerazim
Unholy Hybrid (retitled “Rise Up AUS” for the exhibition)
John 3 (retitled “In the same way, Jn 3:16)
The fifth painting is Metamorphose.
The following brief “biography” was provided for the exhibition…
I started painting two years ago.
So far I’ve learned by trial and error (mostly the latter), through regular visits to galleries to see the work of others and by reading a lot about art and artists.
I was initially inspired by New Zealand artists Colin McCahon and Chris Strom who use painted text in their work. (McCahon’s Victory Over Death 2, in the National Gallery in Canberra is one of my favourite paintings.)
My early attempts to paint words were disappointing so I adapted another aspect of McCahon and Strom’s work: portraying local scenic landmarks in a more abstract form.
I have also been inspired by Australian painters Fred Williams, Ian Fairweather and Imants Tillers. Tillers in particular helped me find my way back to incorporating text in my paintings, using stencils instead of freehand lettering.
With a lot of my work I try to address aspects of spirituality and politics, especially where the lines between the two become confused. In this I’ve found inspiration from Jewish artists such as Samuel Bak and Marc Chagall. Their example is leading me to develop a broader vocabulary of symbols to be incorporated into my paintings.
Two of my paintings have been accepted for display (and sale) in a local cafe. I was quite nervous taking them in, just in case they were rejected. They are different to the landscapes and still-life paintings they’ve had on their walls to date and the owner didn’t seem very favourable to more abstract art when I made my initial enquiries last weekend. But she suggested I take them in today when her business partner was also in the shop.
I took the following two paintings and both of the cafe owners seemed very happy to hang them.
This weekend will now be very busy. I also need to choose a couple of paintings to go into an exhibition being held tomorrow in one of the town’s galleries. I was only notified about it yesterday and the art needs to be submitted later this afternoon. I’m not sure what will be suitable, considering I need to keep four “fresh” paintings aside for an exhibition in July.