Today, I want to talk about two drawings you made about the artist. Your drawings show two sides of the same artist: the painter and the sculptor. These drawings were made three days apart. The first, entitled “Dream Driftwood” is actually a precursor to the drawing I talked about yesterday. (You made both drawings on the same day.) Here, we see the artist, sitting on the driftwood. He is in his landscape but is surrounded by the symbols that appear in his work. The artist is drawing a fish--or perhaps it is a dolphin.
Above the artist’s left shoulder, there is a butterfly. This is another symbol of transformation, of metamorphosis. To balance this out, peeking out from behind his right leg, we see a rhinoceros. And in case we missed it the first time, the shape of the rhinoceros is repeated in the driftwood just beside it.
I was curious about your inclusion of the rhino. I have to admit, I’m at a disadvantage, here. The only time I have ever seen one was in a zoo. I know a little bit about them--that they are strong and dangerous and that poachers desire their horns, but had to turn to the Internet to try to work out what the rhino might symbolize. The best descriptions I found were on websites for heraldry, or coats of arms. Two in particular, caught my eye:
They are descendants of ancient times and bring with them the energy of comfort in one's own solitude.
The skin of the Rhino could not be pierced by sword or lance and this lead to many legends written about the Rhino. "Thou shalt not conquer my army, as it likens to the skin of the mighty Rhinoceros and cannot be pierced with lance or sabre." A symbol of tenacity, vigour and concord, and may symbolize jurisdiction.
Although I cannot be certain of your intention, to me it would make sense to include a symbol of tenacity in your drawing. And I find the description of energy of comfort in one’s own solitude to be particularly compelling--especially considering your history of going into the desert in solitude.
Finally, you depict a comet. This is reminiscent of some of your earlier work in which you depict constellations, stars, galaxies, etc. A comet in ancient times was thought to have signified a miraculous event.
The second drawing depicts the artist as sculptor. He is making a huge sculpture of the lion. We know that the lion symbolizes Christ. Incised on the lion and throughout the landscape around it, we see remnants of your other works. Galaxies, stars, comets, sun and moon are prominent on the lion’s flank. All of these elements seem to be bursting with energy. This is the created universe; this is ongoing creation; this is eternity.
In the foreground, we have a rock with burning coals, and the compass rose. Three stones lie beneath the lion, indicative of the trinity. These symbols together speak of prophecy. This is a drawing about the artist as prophet.
It is notable that the stream of living water runs through both drawings. I like how there are always sailboats on your waterways. Sailboats are powered by wind. The breath of the Holy Spirit is often described as wind. This could symbolize inspiration itself. In the first drawing, the artist, who is inspired, is front and centre, but in the second, he is much smaller. The artwork itself is more important than the artist.
What I find interesting when I look at the entire scope of your work is that the symbols for adversity in many of the recent drawings we have been discussing are far less threatening than they once were. Whereas in your earlier works, thorns were prominent and the skin of the puff adder was a tangible reminder of its danger, the serpent in this drawing looks tired and incapable of inflicting damage. It is as if he knows the battle is lost.
The lion stands victorious.
God bless you,
The rest of the series can be found here.