Life is a Brief Shot at Something Extraordinary

Saw this today and remembered that for the Japanese the beautiful and delicate cherry blossom is symbolic of the transience of life. I am going to make sure I notice today.

Life is a brief shot at something extraordinary

Saw this today and remembered that for the Japanese the beautiful and delicate cherry blossom is symbolic of the transience of life.

I am going to make sure I notice today.

A Portrait Of A Sixteen Year Old

I went to lunch with my eldest son’s first girlfriend, a girl I like. They have both just finished their GCSE’s and I caught her with just the kind of look that I thought said everything about this moment in her life.

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I went to lunch with my eldest son’s first girlfriend, a girl I like. They have both just finished their GCSE’s and I caught her with just the kind of look that I thought said everything about this moment in her life.

I’ve just included the before and after to show what you can achieve with the thought you put in about the photograph captured.

It was an off-the-cuff shot on my iPhone and I wanted to layer her surroundings with light, and colour, and texture to suggest all the possibilities of the future ahead. I added a touch of sparkle and hand-painted in an fine art edge until I felt she was queen of all she surveyed. I loved working on it, and I gave it to my son to give to her ..

This is her portrait. A portrait of a sixteen year old, with school behind her and all possibility ahead ..

Joy And Sorrow Play On The Same Stage

I have been working on a piece for the last three days that is hard to articulate, it’s about the sorrow and joy that both play on love’s stage.

I have been working on a piece for the last three days that is hard to articulate, it’s about the sorrow and joy that both play on love’s stage.

It’s that moment when you realise there is no more to say and the days take on the foxing of vintage paper. The disembodied primal screams have flown like torn thoughts, and the memories float like dust in the dark corners of routine. You breathe. Just breathe.

Bare Tree in damp Spring light, by Melanie GowWaiting, like an over-wintered tree suspended in the Spring morning mist, to care less.

Allowing the spilt memories, that were real, that cannot be erased, to soak into the blotting paper of life so I can think of you with love again.

 

Crucifixion, a Story of Hope, The Backstory

It was a bitter cold that sucks the light out of the sky, and the touch from your fingers. I had to deliver a crucifix photograph for a Stations of The Cross Trail, to a deadline.

This post is made on Backspaces, click inside the box and scroll to read the story

The Crucifixion, A Story of Hope I Believe

For me, what we need from the Crucifixion story, what endures, is the story of hope. That is the universal need in the world. Hope.

Crucifixion, a story of Hope
Crucifixion, a story of Hope, an image commissioned by the Cookham Stations of the Cross Trail, by Melanie Gow

The human is a curious creature who requires beliefs of all kinds to get through their day. We have, as a species, found many ways to explain our experiences to ourselves from blue elephants with many limbs to immaculate misconceptions.

In nomine Patris, Crucifixion series, i, by Melanie Gow, Stand AppArtI am the child of a Catholic and Protestant pairing sent to Presbyterian School, who has at one time married a Jew, and a CoE. I have listened with tollerance to some fairly esoteric thoughts around the world and studied Buddhism, Roman Paganism and Tribal systems, and am in love with the middle ages.

I’m sure we are all well aware of the similiarities between all these, all God by different names and experiences. Good morals and behaviour, and understanding of things, are not the exclusive purvue of one or other religion, they are human.

Which is why I was so engaged by producing a crucifixion picture.

A while ago I was on the banks of the Sea of Galilee, or Lake Tiberius as it is in Hebrew, with my adoptive Jewish family. One of the nephews turned to me and said, “isn’t this where you tell yourselves your guy walked on water?” and laughed at what he thought was a ridiculously silly belief.

Deep down inside I felt the pain of being mocked.

et Spiritus Sancti, Crucifixion series, iii, by Melanie Gow, Stand AppArtMy childhood diet of David Kossoff Bible stories and generations of ritual are a deep part of my being, I have a relationship with Christianity. I also have a deep interest in its weft in our history, I spend an entire third of my book Toasters Don’t Roast Chickens exploring the role of belief in our lives, with one full chapter on the role of Christianity and science in our medical history.

Christianity, and the power of the Crucifixion story, is woven into the fabric of my life. I have wanted to do a Crucifixion image for at least 20 years.

In all that time the image in my mind has not changed, but what has emerged is a picture I could not have done at any other time in my life.

I asked the question what does The Crucifixion mean, this crucifixion out of the thousands and thousands that were carried out?

We’re all aware of how brutal crucifixions were, I’m not trying to tell anyone what it was like, I am trying to find what it is that we need from The Crucifixion.

Amen, Crucifixion series, iv, by Melanie Gow, Stand AppArt1 Cornithians 13:13 says, “Now these three remain: Faith, Hope and Love. But the greatest of these is Love” and for many that is what the Crucifixion means, Love.

But for me The Crucifixion is about Hope.

The Romans were disillusiuoned with their world and Christianity offered hope for a kingdom in heaven, it spoke for the first time of brotherhood, compassion, tolerance and understanding. That for me is Hope.

My Christ is suspended between this world and that on the other side of death. He is both rooted in this physical plane and yet already the earth and sky are meeting and he is partly of the air. The Crucifix was made of wood, from a tree, here the Christ figure is held in a natural crucifix, the Tree of Life. This specific tree is rent in two and seems dead, certainly much of it is crumbling and rotten, but it is clearly about to burst with spring life.

For me, what we need from the Crucifixion story – what endures – is the story of hope. That is the universal need in the world. Hope.

et Filii, Crucifixion series, ii, by Melanie Gow, Stand AppArtThat is all. I realise it could be love, it could be ‘yes’ is the answer, however we can get through days, weeks, months and years without love, but not without hope.

This piece was always important, but it became something beautiful to work on.

It took three days to shoot, and a couple of weeks to work on, and several conversations, and actually thousands of threads of thought over 20 years.

I had the great privilege of working on this with Richmond Harding, a friend, a co-collaborator on many creative projects, and the only person I know who could bring an integrity and love to this project that was needed.

He took a responsibility for the commission that is rare to find, and he brought a quality to the work that enriched the piece. I wasn’t just asking him to be my muse, we were asking him to take on the mantle of one of the most iconic images in our world and hold the beliefs of thousands around the world in his care.

Here are his thoughts on the experience: How Long is a Piece of Spring

The piece was commissioned by Holy Trinity Church in Cookham, curated by artist Gail Dorrington.

Here is the link to the Cookham www.holytrinitycookham.org.uk/welcome there is a PDF download of all the images and the text by Fr Michael Smith, vicar, for all The Stations of The Cross Trail.

Fr Michael Smith, vicar of Holy Trinity Church in Cookham, on Jesus is nailed to the cross, Station 7, of the Stations of The Cross Trail in Cookham 2013
Fr Michael Smith, vicar of Holy Trinity Church in Cookham, on Jesus is nailed to the cross, Station 7, of the Stations of The Cross Trail in Cookham 2013

Here is the link to the backstory, on Backspaces

Here is a link to the Multi-Media class story: How the Lord of Death hijacked The Crucifixion