The buffalo series

I went to a moving sale for an art store.  They drastically reduced their prices so they didn’t have to tote everything over to their new location.  I heard about the sale a little late, and it was a few more days until I had a day off and could go.  This meant that the supplies I was looking for weren’t there – and certainly not the colors.  I decided this was a good opportunity to try out new kinds of art materials as well as new colors.

I chose a vintage postcard of an American buffalo (really, it is a bison) that a pen-pal sent.

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I made a limit for myself that I could only use the materials that I had bought at the sale, and only one material type per page.  I used carbon paper to transfer the outline of the buffalo to my sketchbook.

Here it is in pastel –

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This is artist crayons –

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This is colored pencil –

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This is acryl-gouache –

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I will add more versions here as I do them.  There is only one more medium to use from that sale, but I am enjoying this enough that I may continue doing this in other mediums – perhaps even in collage and washi tape.

Here is “Jerry’s Artarama jumbo jet sanguine”, charcoal pencil, lamp black pencil, and Derwent onyx.

buffalo pencil

 

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On geodes and cracks and God

Leonard Cohen says – “There is a crack in everything. / That’s how the light gets in.”

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The Gospel tells us –
A man who was deaf and had a speech impediment was brought there by a person who begged Jesus to lay his hands on the man and heal him.

Jesus led him away from the crowds so he could heal him privately. He put his fingers in the man’s ears, spat, and then touched the man’s tongue. He then looked up to heaven, sighed deeply, and said in Aramaic “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”) The man was instantly freed from his afflictions and was able to see and speak perfectly.

He ordered the crowd to not tell anyone about what had happened, but the more he ordered them, the more they spread the news. They were amazed and told everyone “He does everything well! He even makes deaf people hear and cures people of being unable to speak!”

MK 7:31-37 (From The Condensed Gospel rendition)

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The outside is boring and dull on a geode. There is nothing special to see. But when you crack it open, there is amazing beauty inside. This is how God sees us – beautiful on the inside. God sees what others cannot. Also, I find it excellent to mediate on the fact that you can’t see the beauty until this rock has been broken open. It is the trials that we undergo that bring out our true nature.

Poem – every bad thing

Every bad thing God gives me
is my medicine, not my poison.
Each is carefully titrated, dosed
just for me, at that moment.

But they taste bad, have
unpleasant side effects
so I sometimes refuse,
sticking my tongue out.

So God gives it to me again
later, in a different form
so maybe I won’t recognize it
but this time
it is stronger,
because I’m sicker.

The Primary Commandment

The Pharisees went to where Jesus was when they heard how he had refuted the Sadducees. An expert in the Law challenged Jesus asking him, “Which commandment is the most important?”

Jesus answered, “‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all of your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second commandment is like it -‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ There are no commandments greater than these two. All the teachings of the Prophets and the Law base their foundation upon these two commandments.”

The man who questioned him said “You are correct, Teacher! You spoke the truth when you said that there is only One God, and that we are to love God with all of our being, and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. These practices are far more important that all the burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

Because of the wisdom of his answer, Jesus said to him “You are not far from entering the kingdom of God. You have answered correctly. If you do these things you will live. ”

The authorities did not dare to challenge him any further.

MT 22:34-40, MK 12:28-34, LK 10:25-28

The Temptation

Then Jesus returned from the Jordan, filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit led him into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil for 40 days. He ate nothing while he was there and was very hungry at the end of that time.

The devil approached him and said “If you are truly the Son of God, then you should tell this stone to become bread so you can eat.” But Jesus answered him “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from God.’”

Then the devil took Jesus up onto a high mountain and he showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor in a twinkling of the eye. He said “I will give all of this to you because it has been given to me and I can give it to anyone I want. It will all be yours if you will fall on your knees and worship me.” Jesus answered him “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’”

So then the devil took him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the top of the Temple and said “If you are the Son of God, then throw yourself down from here, for it is written ‘He will order his angels to take care of you. They will lift you up with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
And Jesus said “It is also written: ‘Do not test the Lord your God.’”

Then the devil left him and immediately the angels came and began to serve him.

MT 4:1-11, MK 1:12-13, LK 4:1-13