“See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills…” Exodus 31: 2 & 3.
Bezalel is kind of an early renaissance man, thousands of years before Brunelleschi, Michelangelo, or Durer. More importantly he was faithful to God’s design of him as a craftsman. He was found worthy to build the design of God concerning the tabernacle and all of its parts. As a craftsman and artist, it is hard to comprehend anything so significant to my earthly labors as to manifest on earth something that was authored in the very heart and mind of God.
Elizabeth Duffy asked me about influences and progenitors in her interview with me last year. Here is an excerpt of my response pertaining to Bezalel: I hope, maybe, to be in the line of Bezalel, who fashioned so much for the tabernacle, making the sacred things that were part of the “technology” of worship of His God for his community. Personally, I couldn’t ask for more than that. Bezalel is valuable as a paradigm of an artisan of broad experience and skill. He could work in many trades and arts with skill worthy of God’s Tabernacle. My good friend reminds me of the value of a man of that breadth of experience and skill in contrast to a culture that places a premium on experts of high degree in a single field. When I wonder if I am hurting myself by embracing so many disciplines, I am grateful for Bezalel and his place in God’s story, and a few other men I have encountered who are champions of excellence in this way. The drawing, an imagining of a portion of Bezalel’s tent-workshop, started two or three years ago, finally over the past two months I was able to finish it. It is composed along the lines of another drawing, Go On, Adam, Breathe. An potential series of drawings? The drawing to me feels so limited, compared to the vastness of what could be explored and depicted, as a task to learn about Bezalel, his labors, and his relationship to his God.
For many years the story and name of Obed Edom have struck deeply within me. His story in the bible is pretty short. As with many things I have tried to make my work a path into exploring this mystery. This print is now finished. To go along with its completion, I have included a song that I wrote a number of years ago of the same subject and with the same goal in mind. I hope that they are moderately fitting accompaniment to a powerful story and special man who I know very little about.
A new drawing of Walking Man with some contextual review. And a traditional tune called The Gobby-O, played by the skin of my teeth on the tenor banjo, with spoons and guitar.
…If we set the little paraffin lamp out at night, flying fish were attracted by the light and large and small, shot over the raft…
…It sometimes happened that we heard an outburst of strong language from a man on deck when a cold flying fish came unexpectedly, at a good speed, slap into his face…
…We used to fry them for breakfast, and wether it was the fish, the cook or our appetites, they reminded us of fried troutlings once we had scraped the scales off… Thor Heyerdahl, Kon Tiki, 1950
…There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?……Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all… …Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted… …When they were satisfied, he told, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.”
In the dark and unlit ceiling of the Loretta Chapel there is a lonely painting of a chunky fish atop a heavy slab of bread. At the moment Thor Heyerdahl’s balsa log raft was colliding with a dusty man breaking bread in the grass of Palestine. The long pilgrim road leading through elder drifts, slabs of rock, mountains of hailstones, unearthly fish with a mouth like a grave. The sign of Jonah. Provision comes unlooked for, and fear is weathered away.
Plenty of two-dimensional work today: First, some hand-colored prints of Jacob Wrestling the Angel of God. A few of these are available if they strike you. Next, are some studies for a large, 18″ x 12″, lino-cut of Obed Edom. Finally, a few more prints and drawings.
Finally and thankfully, I was engaged by the keen and mysterious richness of this astonishing poem , from Tom Hirons yesterday. As a rule, I generally do not to link to other work here, so Sometimes a Wild God represents an exception.
When I Go Out I Wear a Disguise, banjo, guitar and midi organ and singing
Coming soon… a new page with a whole lot of drawings! Here are a few to begin with.