Saturday, 8 August 2020

Saturday 8th August - Seeing into the future

The readings in my prayer book this week have been from Paul's letter to the Romans, and often been about death and resurrection.

 I read somewhere that three days and three nights is the period of darkness at the time of the new moon, and so, in 'olden times' before artificial light, be it candles or electric, three days was a significant time, especially in winter, I suppose, when nights were long and cold.

So Jonah was three days in the fish's belly, which famously presages the days of Christ's death and resurrection.

Here, in this blog, the Vicar (Rector?) of Haworth Parish Church highlights other occasions when events in the Old Testament become significant when viewed through the other end of the telescope, as it were.

If you enjoy these threads weaving through time, you may enjoy this post.

I suspect the blog post title is influence by his wife's profession as a textile artist.


Friday, 7 August 2020

Thursday 6th August - The week so far

The heatwave has begun today ...

Tuesday was pretty uneventful.

I've started a new painting project - foliage and flowers and stuff;

Saturday 1st August

I followed a tutorial for painting an Autumnal tree. The new paints are going to take a bit of getting used to.

Sunday 2nd August
 and the new sketchbook is also a challenge to use with water colour as the paper is thirsty so the paint dries quickly, and thin, so the pages buckle if I use lots of water.
Monday 3rd August
The paint works better if I thin it out; I have to be really quick if I want to add different colours and let them mix on the page
Tuesday 4th August
I gave the watercolours a rest and tried using aquarelle pencils

Wednesday 5th August
at the moment my drawing is getting scritchy and lifeless, and the colouring is not enjoyable
Thursday 6th August
so I thought - let's stop trying so hard, just went for the shapes with watercolour pencils (left hand picture) and then (right hand page) recklessly slapped paint on the page in the rough shape and colour, and 'tidied it up' with a pen when it was dry.
  Now, that seems like a plan!

On Wednesday I attended my first Massed Social Gathering since March. I spent days dithering - shall I go, should I not go? and planning - how shall I get there? what's the best route?

Oh good grief! I'm talking about meeting up with colleagues in the park for a 'socially distanced' coffee morning, bringing our own seating and drinks in flasks if you don't want to queue for a takeaway from the cafe.  

In the end I did go for about twenty minutes. I arrived late, so that everyone was already sitting and I could pick a 2m distanced place to be, and I didn't sit, partly to remain above everyone else's 'exhalations', partly so that I could move if anyone came too close. I do feel a bit of a wuss for being so careful, but I am so apprehensive of catching the virus and compromising the lung function that I have left.

I was glad to have met the gang, and especially say hi and bye to the one who is moving away, and touch base with the friends that I haven't seen in ages. I can't say it was a relaxing time - I was always staying aware of who was where, staying upwind of everyone, feeling as though everyone else might think I was being too over-cautious. They've been going up to London or visiting vineyards and exhibitions and eating out and generally doing whatever it is teachers do in the school holidays. 

Google memories keeps showing me photographs from our French trip last year;




That was a wonderful week...



Monday, 3 August 2020

Monday 3rd August - Abraham and Isaac

This is all a bit unexpected. That is, if you were expecting family news and chit-chat.

A couple of days ago I posted this on facebook - it's the last of the July series of daily watercolour sketches.

 The Bible passage from Genesis attracted some comments from a friend - 
'why had I chosen this passage?'

'because it was the set passage in my book for the day - I did try and wriggle out of posting it, but decided that would not be truthful'

To which he replied
'But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
And half the seed of Europe, one by one.' 

This turns out to be from a sonnet by Wilfrid Owen, which I find completely stunning

The Parable of the Old Man and the Young

Wilfred Owen - 1893-1918


So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,
And took the fire with him, and a knife.
And as they sojourned both of them together,
Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,
Behold the preparations, fire and iron,
But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?
Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps,
and builded parapets and trenches there,
And stretchèd forth the knife to slay his son.
When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,
Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,
Neither do anything to him. Behold,
A ram, caught in a thicket by its horns;
Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.

But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
And half the seed of Europe, one by one.

various words threw themselves at me as I read and re-read the lines;
fire and iron
belts and straps
parapets and trenches

transforming the scene from a story in long-ago biblical times to the very present reality of the Great War, the war to end all wars

a time when National Pride, the Empire, Sovereignty, was all-important...

As time has passed things have changed shape and size and form, and ideals  like nationalism, and empire building and world-beating - especially the phrase 'world-beating' which seems to be spouted forth at every opportunity -  become more distasteful compared to cooperation, sharing resources, compassion.

Serious stuff. Serious times.