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Walking Man Sketches

Walking Man Eats Alfalfa Roots

Walking Man Listens To the Roots Talking To One Another

Walking Man Looks Backwards Into Time

Walking Man Hefting Bodark Roots and His Water Pot

Walking Man Encounters the Spirit of the Lord In a Night Heron

Night Heron Detail

Walking Man Finds Strength and Purity and the Morning Dew

Tools of the Mystic (The School of the Transfer of Energy Lexicon)

Ministers of Beauty (S.T.E. Lexicon)

Hyper-Symbolic Tools for Use in the Transfer of Energy (S.T.E. Lexicon)

Small History of Flying Fish

sandstone, guitarflying fish5

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…flying fish7

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…

flying fish6

…They always came at a good pace and snout first, and if they caught one full in the face they made it burn and tingle… flying fish8

But the unprovoked attack was quickly forgiven by the injured party, for with all its drawbacks, we were in a maritime land of enchantment where delicious fish dishes came hurling through the air…flying fish1

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

Flying FishThere is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish.  But what are they among so many people?…flying fish4Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all… DSC_0064Then 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… flying fish2When they were satisfied, he told, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.”

flying fish3So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets… John 6, 9-13 NRSV

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.

 

Luminous Earth

Those of you who are regular visitors know I have been slowly overhauling the pages here at The School of the Transfer of Energy.  If you are new, know you know too.  There are still some pages to rebuild, but for the latest, please take a few moments to visit the new Painting page.  This has been perhaps the most personally interesting page to remake.  Seeing so many of my paintings re ordered and in a fresh context has been revealing.  Below are a few samples.  I hope you enjoy them,  and thank you for visiting.  -Jack

The Ancient Ocean (detail)

The Ancient Ocean (detail) (in progress)

Jonah (1998)

Jonah (1998)

Go On, John the Baptist (2008)

Go On, John the Baptist (2008)

all images are held in copyright by Jack Baumgartner. use by permission only

Symbolism of Jacob (Violence and Intimacy)

This is a blog about images and stories, technology and craft.  For the sake of Yaakov as well as others I will risk a distance from the normal sparseness of words and do my best to write a little about the symbolism in Jacob Wrestling With God.

When I make a painting, there is always a tension between intent and intuition.  In the painting of Jacob, there is meaning that I intended to place there and there is meaning that emerges as I work, often pointed out by an outside observer.  Both are placed there in faith, and both are discovered again in faith.  I receive requests to reproduce the image of Jacob Wrestling with God regularly.  Whatever other arrangements are made, I always beg the insight of the requestor, because I want to know what has been placed in my work by God, which is hidden to me, but perhaps not to them.  One gracious responder was Robbie Pruitt, who actually wrote a review of the work, which can be read on his blog.

Violence and intimacy.  The violence and intimacy of this wrestling match.  What did it sound like, how did it smell, the sweat of God and Jacob mingled in the dust?  Those who are willing to pursue God and his blessing with such force receive honor from me.  I don’t know what Jacob was thinking.  But I know I wish I had the guts to engage my God with such an intertwined closeness.  I despise the distance of religion.  I use that distance to keep myself “safe” in this life, but at what cost.  Even if I am annihilated, at least I may have a glimpse of His glory before I am withered back to dust.  I want to know who He made me to be, why I am here, what my name is, even if I have to wrestle with one who could wither me with a glance.  This story is a profound mystery to me, but I love it because God made himself vulnerable for the sake of this man whom He loved.  I don’t get that, but it makes me love Him even more.  I would rather be undone by the _ord than sit here safe and placid before my computer.

Visual Symbolism:

The banner has been present in my work for decades.  I won’t go into all it’s permutations, but in this case I think of it as God’s declaration and promise over Jacob.  It contains mysteries and words spoken in the Spirit from the beginning of creation until the end of days.  They are blank, because, who am I to presume.

The curtains speak both of intimacy and story, as they are drawn back to reveal a glimpse of the man Jacob’s story and intimacy with his God.  The curtains as well always recall to me the curtain that separated the most holy place of the temple, where the presence of God would come.  Then when it was torn apart when Jesus was crucified;  another time of violence and intimacy, when God made Himself vulnerable for those He loved.

The hands reveal the glory.

There is something important to me concerning of the knee of Jacob near the stone in the corner, but I do not understand what.

The nudity of Jacob, perhaps goes without saying.  But nothing is hidden from God.

There used to be a couple of ladders toppling about in the struggle, recalling a previous encounter Jacob had, but I decided to paint over them.

There is more in this story, because it is God’s.  But this is what I have painted.  Please, be welcome to offer your insights, and I thank those of you who have risked writing comments and emails.

Jack

(Below is a progression of the painting)

   

   

Below is the drawing that came first, and a linocut based on the painting.