Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Breath of God

The Completion of the Seven Days of Creation

Eight mosaic panels, glass and ceramic tile, 23 ft high and  7 ft wide each.

The Seven Days of Creation
click the picture to enlarge

The Concept

Art helps to expand our minds’ capacity and lifts up our spirits.  Art is a joy.  Someone might be going through the day thinking about his or her daily activities, and suddenly he or she stops in front of a mural that depicts the beginning of the world.  It breaks us out of time, it gives us a moment for ourselves that lifts us out of the stream of daily busyness.

The Seven Days of Creation

I was reading in the book Art Forms a few days ago, and came upon this passage:  “A technologically explosive society needs the humanizing rewards of artistic experience.  The arts help meet our emotional and spiritual needs…  Art helps us to see.  How we see determines how we live.”When we read books, we are given a window into knowledge that we didn’t have.  Works of art provide another means of learning, another window into knowledge. Children can look and learn without words.

Art conveys a spiritual knowledge without depending on words.

The artwork

The Seven Days of Creation is a different mural from most that I have seen.  Many artists will simply submit an idea for a mural and from there, other people produce the mural itself. In this case, from the initial sketches, to the detailed drawings, to the finished paintings that were the design for the mural, I went through every step to make sure that the original concept was carried through to the final mural on the wall.

I hand-selected the colors for each section of the mural,and worked carefully with the ones who were building the mural throughout the process. A note about the technical aspect of creating a mural like this:  There are three different ways to construct a mural: the Direct Method, the Indirect Method, and the Double Indirect Method.  In the first, tiles are placed directly on the final surface.  In the second, tiles are placed in a mirror image of the final design on an intermediate surface, and then transferred to the final surface.

Detail of tiles on the northwest panel

The third method, which is the one used on the Seven Days of Creation, requires those building the mosaic to first construct the finished design on one surface, then transfer it in reverse to an intermediate surface, and then to transfer it to its final surface.

The artist

All of us are born for something.  I think part of my purpose is to help people around me to create art on a higher level.  An artist creates an artwork to communicate to his audience, and also to educate and influence younger artists.  Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel and Picasso’s Guernica are both examples of an artist communicating his ideas, and also attempting to change the culture around them.

Detail of hand on central panel

One of my goals in my art in general, and in the Seven Days of Creation in particular, is to create a higher standard for art and culture, to raise the level of art that is produced in Sioux Falls and in the world around us.    As I promised, here is a garden for the four seasons, a gift to the world like it has been given to me. This is a legacy that will go on for generation to generation.

Special thanks to Syverson Tile for their patience and support, to Sicis for the wonderful collaboration, and to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church for both the opportunity to be part of this project and for their sponsorship.

An article in the Argus leader about the mosaic's design.
To see more details of the original design, visit my website.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Horizons magazine article

Horizons July/August 2010

This is a painting that I did years ago for Avera McKennan about the Seasons, and the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.  (To read more about the painting itself and where it's displayed, take a look at the Avera McKennan website.)  The purpose of this triptych artwork was to bring a healing spirit and hope to patients in their facility.

The Louisville-based magazine, Horizons,  in their most recent issue, July/August 2010, focused on "Spirituality and the Arts."   They  featured this painting on the cover image and ran an article about artists that deal with spiritual topics in their work.  I'm glad to see that they appreciate my art in Kentucky.  : )  (Click on the images to enlarge and to read the article.)

Horizon article