Showing posts with label painting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label painting. Show all posts

Thursday, October 23, 2014


Paul Baum - "Harvested Fields in a Flat Landscape"
A hint of brown in the low cloud layer, dun
they call it, light reflected from
fields cut to stubble, leaves moving to umber,
russet and gold, chlorophyll in retrograde,
temperate zone transitioning
from relentless summer cheer to winter chill
    dull, sad, depressing, this color,
     the consensus view, death before we renew
       dissonances old, unresolved.
It all comes back to this, always, always this,
metaphors , similes, nature
imagery because sprouting and budding,
growing and frost reassure us,
comfort with predictability, relax
into the what we can see, know,
     surety that does not require decision,
      just observation, no payment
       due or pestering for more and more and more,
just a force beyond our control,
independent of the press of human choice
that promises all, but does not
guarantee, success in productivity,
hides like snow blindness the contours
of reality and downside risk ignored
     by easy winners fattening
      on a harvest of accepted fictions sown
       to distract, deflect their weakness.
God paternal or mother earth eternal,
some insist on the either/or
then moot the argument with a willfulness
of neither that makes petulance
itself a form of worship, a self-focus
oblivious to living things,
     pretend the sphere is flat, the axis upright
not a bit off plumb, stay indoors
when clouds refuse to endorse the light logic
that prefers bright and brash and loud
to the subtleties of consideration
possible without the raw glare
of uninterrupted sun, the surge and ebb
of atmosphere necessary
     as the tides scrubbing sores humanity leaves
      on the beachhead of creation.
       Tilt on, dear earth, even if thy will be dun.

(Marthe G. Walsh)
Image from WikiGallery.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


The Last Supper
  Galleria Borghese, Rome
Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(Book of Common Prayer)
The Last Supper

Come, my friends, it's Passover night.
Find the room; prepare the table.
Buy the bread; get the wine.
One of you will betray me.

Take and eat. This is my body,
Given for you.
Drink the cup, my blood shed for you
And many.

We'll not eat together again
Until kingdom come.
Sing with me now, for you'll run
When they take me.

"Oh, no, Lord, not I!"
Peter, my friend, you will,
And deny me, too.

(June Butler - 3/12/08)
Bassano's painting is admirable and unusual because he depicts Christ and the apostles as entirely human, rather than as haloed saints, and because the setting of gathering is somewhat disorderly in appearance, as such gatherings would be in real life.  Also, I love the dog curled up asleep by the table.

Gospel of Mark 14:12-25 (NRSV)  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


"The Virgin of the Annunciation" by Fra Angelico
O Blessed One

Mother of God, O holy one,
Inside your body, the Word made flesh,
As an infant suckled at your breast.
The God-child, cared for gently, lovingly,
Grew in wisdom and in grace.

Mother of God, what did you know?
Were you sad? Were you fearful?
Midst the joy of family life,
Did you feel a piercing in your heart?
O blessed Mary, pray for us, sinners all.

June Butler (7/17/07)
Collect of the Day: The Annunciation of Our Lord
Pour your grace into our hearts, O Lord, that we who have known the incarnation of your Son Jesus Christ, announced by an angel to the Virgin Mary, may by his cross and passion be brought to the glory of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

(Book of Common Prayer)

Monday, May 27, 2013


PEREDA, Antonio de
The Holy Trinity
Szépmûvészeti Múzeum, Budapest

Three in One.
One in Three.
The Father loves the Son.
The Son loves the Father.
The Father and the Son love the Spirit.
The Spirit loves the Father and the Son.
The Father, Son, and Spirit loved creation into being.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

And John testified, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.’

(Gospel of John, Chapter 1)
Image from the Web Gallery of Art.

Monday, January 14, 2013


David Hayward - “the need to leave” (watercolor on paper, 7″x10″)

...of age
...of arthritis
...of energy
...of time

Contrary to the words of the poet, it is not, as they say, least not yet for me and may require a lengthy period of adjustment.  I think of Walter Cronkite's sign-off, "And that's the way it is."  Except for loosening of time constraints, the other limitations are unlikely to change for the better.  The task is to keep them at bay for as long as possible, so they don't worsen too quickly.  And what is too quickly?  Well, too quickly to suit me, who doesn't care for the limitations at all.

At the age of 78, I'm bound to think of mortality and view the future as somewhat compressed, right?  Some folks, like Grandpère, live in denial of the reality of death, but when I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 51, I looked death in the face, and there was no turning back to denial.  To me, it's both funny and tragic when people deny death.  I'll never forget the time I told GP, "The death rate is 100%," and he said, "For whom?"  My black humor did not go over well.

Anyway, I'm easing into a completely different mindset about life in general and my own life.  There are so many things that I want to do and so many changes that I want to see happen before I die, but I know I will not do or see most of them, and I must come to acceptance and ease with the reality.  The difficulty is to sort out the priorities of what is still possible to do and move out of stasis.

If you detect a pinch of depression in my diary post, you are probably correct.  It's there lurking at the edge, but I've not yet fully acknowledged and accepted it yet.  We've experienced a good deal of turmoil and distress in our extended family, and, though the situations have improved, I feel I'm allowed a bit of depression now that things are looking up...if that makes any sense.  My depression is not severe, the descent into a black hole sort, so I carry on in hopes that this, too, shall pass.

To all that I've written here, I must add that it's my faith that lifts me and carries me.  The knowledge that I have praying friends who will support me through the tough times, is of inestimable value.  Without my sense of God's presence, I'd face all of what happened recently and all of what's going on now with much more angst, (though angst there was and is) and much less equanimity, and so I say, "Thanks be to God."
You’ve got your limitations; let them sing,
And all your life will waken with a cry:
Why should you halt when rapture’s on the wing
And you’ve no limit but the cloud-flocked sky?...

(From "Limitations" by Siegfried Sassoon)
Easy for you to say at the age of 34, Sassoon, but not so easy to practice when you're 78.  Still, the thought is worth a place in my mind, and the ideal is worth a reach.

The lovely painting at the head of the post is by David Hayward aka nakedpastor.   He posted the painting noting that it was available for purchase.  I waited a few days, but I found the painting irresistible and bought it.  In the poem beneath the painting, David says:
You’ve kept your place. You’ve held your ground. You’ve filled your space. You’ve stayed in bounds.
But something calls. You know you must. You forsake all. You will be blessed.
It’s time to go. It’s time to leave. This much you know: this is your peace.
The wonderful painting caused me to reflect on life, how we are always in motion, leaving and forsaking, traveling, and arriving at new places and eventually led to this post, for better or for worse.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


One wonders if there are any three English bishops out there with the guts to get together and do what the Bishop and the Bishop Coadjutor of Aberdeen and the Bishop of Ross and Caithness did for the Episcopal Church in consecrating Samuel Seabury (our first bishop) on November 14, 1784: consecrate a woman as a bishop in England.

Probably not.

It’s hard for a leopard to change its spots. (Nigel Taber-Hamilton)
As the English already know, we are a rebellious lot here in the US, but the Church of England is no less so, having broken the yoke to the Church of Rome some hundreds of years ago.

Several of us discussed this approach to having women bishops in England on Facebook, and the conclusion for most was that it couldn't be done for various reasons. I say, "Why not?" Kudos, Nigel for your what-if.  Other suggestions may be found in the comments at Daily Episcopalian.   

The Rev. Nigel Taber-Hamilton is rector of St. Augustine’s in-the-Woods Episcopal Church on Whidbey Island, WA.   Nigel came to the US from England in 1979.

The painting by Peter J Morgan depicts the consecration of Bishop Samuel Seabury by three bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

UPDATE: You may want to read Lay Anglicana's post titled "Who’s Queen? – & Is She Not Also A Bishop?: John Adams".

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Matthew 21:1-13 (NRSV)

When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately.” This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,

“Tell the daughter of Zion,
Look, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,

“Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Then Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. He said to them,

“It is written,
‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’;
but you are making it a den of robbers.”

Schwarz, Wjatscheslaw Grigorjewitsch  - Palm Sunday in Moscow
Russian State Museum, St Petersburg

What have we in the painting above? (Click on the picture for a larger view.)  A historically accurate reenactment of the Gospel account?  No, of course not.  Why then do we see depictions of Jesus wearing a bejeweled golden crown and expensive fabrics when he would have worn the ordinary clothing of working class males in 1st century Jerusalem, which was an undergarment of coarse cloth and a tunic made of wool?  It's true that Jesus' tunic was seamless, which seems to have been unusual, but that's about as far as his finery can be taken.  The only crown Jesus wore was a crown of thorns.  Even after the Resurrection, when Mary Magdalene first saw Jesus, she thought he was the gardener.    
The rule of God—the kingship of Christ—is not about earthly power or political authority, revenge or judgment; it’s about wholeness, it’s about restoring creation to the fullness of peace and justice, truth and love that God intended. It’s about all lands—ALL people—not just a chosen few. It’s about the primary moral value of prizing the interconnectedness of all humanity—of loving our neighbors as ourselves. The kingship of Jesus is AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN vastly different from a worldly kingship. When we celebrate Christ the King, we’re holding up a king who is, first and foremost, a  reconciler, a redeemer, a servant. This is a king who comes to show us how to live as a people of God in the kingdom of God—a shepherd willing to lay down his life for his sheep. (Susan Russell - Sermon 2004)

 Image from Wikipedia.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


New evidence may have revealed the true face of one of Britain's most beloved authors. Using digital photographic tools analysis has revealed writing on a long-disputed oil painting that its owners claim shows Jane Austen as a teenage girl. No other professional likeness of the writer exists.
The discovered words appear to include not only the novelist's name, but also that of the suspected artist.

In the top-right corner of a reproduction of a photograph of the portrait taken before the painting was restored, the name Jane Austen is visible. Next to it is revealed in two places the name Ozias Humphry - an established portrait painter of the period. He was a member of the Royal Academy, and a friend of other better-known artists of the day, such as Gainsborough and Romney.
I'd seen an article about the painting of the teenage girl who might be Austen previously but before the new information came to light.  I believe most lovers of Austen's books would want her to be more attractive than than the unfinished portrait by her sister, Cassandra, of the prim, spinsterly-looking woman, although I don't know why it matters.  It's the set of the mouth and the arms folded firmly in front that put me off.

My expert consultant who sent me the link said:
It has been written about before, but new research makes it very probable that it is genuine (have you read the accompanying article?) and it has a history of descent in the family of one of Austen's brothers.
Yes, Mr Expert Consultant, I had read the article.  Reading Jane Austen's books for the first time as a teenager changed my life, and I've read her works over and over throughout the years.   I'd really like an alternative look to that of the watercolor by Cassandra Austen, so I hope, in the end, that the experts who are studying the painting conclude that the subject is, indeed, my Jane.  Not that it really matters...  Read the entire article.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


'Queen Guinevere's Maying' - John Maler Collier
For thus it chanced one morn when all the court, 
Green-suited, but with plumes that mocked the may, 
Had been, their wont, a-maying and returned, 
That Modred still in green, all ear and eye, 
Climbed to the high top of the garden-wall 
To spy some secret scandal if he might, 
(Alfred, Lord Tennysosn -  'Idylls of the King' - 'Guinevere')

Image from Wikipedia.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


GIOTTO di Bondone
No. 30 Scenes from the Life of Christ: 14. Washing of Feet
Fresco, 200 x 185 cm
Cappella Scrovegni (Arena Chapel), Padua

Psalm 116

I love the Lord, because he has heard
   my voice and my supplications.
Because he inclined his ear to me,
   therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
The snares of death encompassed me;
   the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;
   I suffered distress and anguish.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
   ‘O Lord, I pray, save my life!’

Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;
   our God is merciful.
The Lord protects the simple;
   when I was brought low, he saved me.
Return, O my soul, to your rest,
   for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

For you have delivered my soul from death,
   my eyes from tears,
   my feet from stumbling.
I walk before the Lord
   in the land of the living.
I kept my faith, even when I said,
   ‘I am greatly afflicted’;
I said in my consternation,
   ‘Everyone is a liar.’

What shall I return to the Lord
   for all his bounty to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation
   and call on the name of the Lord,
I will pay my vows to the Lord
   in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the sight of the Lord
   is the death of his faithful ones.
Lord, I am your servant;
   I am your servant, the child of your serving-maid.
   You have loosed my bonds.
I will offer to you a thanksgiving sacrifice
   and call on the name of the Lord.

John 13: 1 - 17, 31b - 35

Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus answered, ‘You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ Peter said to him, ‘You will never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.’ Simon Peter said to him, ‘Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!’ Jesus said to him, ‘One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.’ For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, ‘Not all of you are clean.’

 After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

 When he had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, “Where I am going, you cannot come.” I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’

Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(Book of Common Prayer)

Image from the Web Gallery of Art.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Hans Holbein the Younger - "The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb" - 1521–1522
Kunstmuseum Basel
Matthew 27:57-61

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

Holbein's painting is a horrifying view of Christ's dead body entombed. Nevertheless, it compels my attention, even as it repels me and causes me to want to turn away. Rather than being wrapped in the linen cloth, the corpus lies on the cloth. What could an artist make of a wrapped body as the focal point of a painting?

Stripped altar at St John's
Collect of the Day: Holy Saturday

O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so may we await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
I'm waiting, but not patiently.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


GADDI, Agnolo - "The Last Supper" - c. 1395 - Tempera on wood
Lindenau-Museum, Altenburg

1 Cor 11:23-26
For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

For several years I posted Dali's "The Sacrament of the Last Supper" on Maundy Thursday. I love the painting, but I wanted to go in a different direction this year. I chose Gaddi's painting shown above. I love the 14th century Italian version, too, with its lovely colors and gold leaf, and Jesus and his Apostles pressed together in the intimacy of the scene as painted by Gaddi.

Collect of the Day: Maundy Thursday
Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Image from the Web Gallery of Art.

Friday, March 11, 2011


The Parable of the Widow and the Unjust Judge
Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, ‘In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, “Grant me justice against my opponent.” For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, “Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.” ’ And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?’ (Luke 18:1-8)

An exhibit titled The Word & Example at the Episcopal Café's Episcopal Church Visual Arts website includes Tobias Haller's painting above, along with other wonderful art works which are well worth viewing.

About "The Widow Waits For Justice":
The model is African-American actor Ruth Attaway. I photographed her, as Mary Magdalen, in Owen Dodson's "The Confession Stone" for which I was lighting designer.

Lighting designer? Tobias wears another hat? Mercy me! His collection of hats must be huge.

Image used with Tobias Haller's permission.

Friday, December 10, 2010


MAES, Nicolaes - "Christ Blessing the Children" - 1652-53
National Gallery, London

Jesus, as a mother you gather your people to you:
You are gentle with us as a mother with her children;
Often you weep over our sins and our pride:
tenderly you draw us from hatred and judgment.
You comfort us in sorrow and bind up our wounds:
in sickness you nurse us,
and with pure milk you feed us.
Jesus, by your dying we are born to new life:
by your anguish and labor we come forth in joy.
Despair turns to hope through your sweet goodness:
through your gentleness we find comfort in fear.
Your warmth gives life to the dead:
your touch makes sinners righteous.
Lord Jesus, in your mercy heal us:
in your love and tenderness remake us.
In your compassion bring grace and forgiveness:
for the beauty of heaven may your love prepare us.

Anselm of Canterbury

From The Daily Office

Image from the Web Gallery of Art.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Doug Blanchard - "Jesus Appears at Emmaus"

Then he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?" Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, "Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over. "So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?"

Luke 24:25-32

Preface for Wednesday in Easter Week:

O God, whose blessed Son did manifest himself to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open, we pray thee, the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

(Book of Common Prayer, p. 223

Last year during Lent and Easter, Doug gave me permission to use a number of his paintings here at Wounded Bird. The painting above is one in a series of paintings titled "The Passion of Christ". Doug blogs as Counterlight at Counterlight's Peculiars. I hope that my permission to use his painting extends through this year. The more I look at Doug's paintings, the more I like them.