Friday, 30 October 2009

The Glory of Christ

that real view which we may have of Christ and his glory in this world by faith,--however weak and obscure that knowledge which we may attain of them by divine revelation,—is inexpressibly to be preferred above all other wisdom, understanding, or knowledge whatever...

The revelation made of Christ in the blessed Gospel is far more excellent, more glorious, and more filled with rays of divine wisdom and goodness, than the whole creation and the just comprehension of it, if attainable, can contain or afford. Without the knowledge hereof, the mind of man, however priding itself in other inventions and discoveries, is wrapped up in darkness and confusion.

John Owen, The Glory of Christ, preface to the reader.

As he lay dying, Owen was notified of the pending publication of this work. To this he replied that he had finally arrived at the long awaited day when he would see that glory in a way that he had never seen or could even imagine seeing in this world. He was ready to finally see the glory of Christ, truly as it is, with no glass, no veil. One can't help but think he was ready even as he wrote the words above. Ready to pass from glory to glory, and be transformed.

I am busy with school so I don't have time for much else but I hate the feely paper I have to write for class next week so I am skiving off at the moment. Athanasius is visiting SIAST library for a year (and everyone insists I should declare him finished-he is NOT finished-admittedly he might never be). Some people really gushed over him which was a little embarrassing, and one woman told me she was glad he wasn't white. (Anglicans...) But everyone seemed to recognize his indomitable stare, so that was cool. Hey I conveyed something.

Anyway I started John Owen as a brother for Athanasius over the summer-the noil was as difficult as ever to dye. I did it in logwood, let it soak for weeks, bathed it in iron and back to the logwood. Then I did a wash over it with soliel paint. It's very uneven, but not in a totally bad or unfixable way. That really showed up worse in the picture. I'll fix some of the worst of it later.

This one is a little different just because we know what John Owen basically looked like from contemporary portraits. I am using the John Greenhill portrait of him, which is the most detailed and I think captured his eyes best. I love his eyes in that one. It's also the only portrait including the man's
actual hair. But I'm also using a few others for reference so it won't look just like that one-I think it is a tad idealized after all. I sketched it out and am pleased with the sketch. So far the big piece looks okay-I have to make the hook in his nose more apparent and work on the mouth.

As you can also see, while Athanasius is very low contrast, John Owen will be quite high contrast. The white layers have been rather heavy thus far, so I haven't added as many and I have a good imprint. I found a nice slubby black/grey duppioni that would do well for the background-not too shiny. I should probably buy some. I'm not as sure how I am going to work the background yet. John Owen is hard to pin down, but I am working with his work on communion with God by/and the glory of Christ at the moment-hense the name. I have some shadowy ideas on that, but I haven't come up with anything concrete. So I'll just work on the face for now.

With work and school, I don't have so much time to work on this, but I am thinking I will need at least some distraction some time or feely class will make me tear my hair out. So it's there, waiting. And these portraits require a fair bit of drying time and are easy to just pick up and work on a little here and there, so I think it will be ideal.


Tim Felten said...

Wow! did you really draw that? That's amazing! He's got personality for sure. Great job!

Char said...

Well technically I painted it. :)

Thanks Tim.