“Ladder to the Moon”, Globe Inspired by O’Keefe

Looking through some art books recently, I was struck by how many paintings had ladders pointing toward the sky.

From the very early depiction of Jacob’s ladder from the 4th century Catacomb of the Via Latina.

catacomb via latina

To this painting from the french school,  c. 1490, interpreting the same story-

jacobs-ladder-c1490-oil-on-panel-french-school
Art from the Christian tradition features the story of Jacob’s ladder as it is told in the Old Testament scriptures. It tells of a man’s vision of a supernatural world not visible to the human eye, but real nevertheless; a world where angels ascend and descend a heavenly stairway. Here’s a beautiful drawing, c. 1728, by Gerard Hoet

La escalera de Jacob, Gerard Hoet, Biblia Ilustrada, 1728

As the centuries have gone by, artists have continued to depict sky ladders, though the narrative is less clear. In modern art, ladders are often placed in ambiguous settings with no clear destination, such as in Anselm Keifer’s “Seraphim” from 1945-

seraphim by kiefer

Most recently in 2016, Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang’s “Sky Ladder”, used explosives and a giant balloon to give viewers a fiery visual stairway stretching up hundreds of feet overhead.

f52941c5cd05d59f27a955577e0a4375--fireworks-ladders

Guo-Qiang said :  ““…I want to make a ladder to connect the Earth to the universe.”

Is it a connection to the universe artists are seeking? Or to the unknown?

One of my favorite ladder pictures is by Georgia O’Keefe. In “Ladder to the Moon” (1958) there is no destination and the ladder itself is suspended in mid-air, disconnected from the ground. O’Keefe’s picture seems to be asking, “Is there something more?” and “Can we get there?”

1958_georgia-okeeffe_escalera-a-la-luna-22

Voices all around us tell us there is nothing beyond this physical world, and yet, most of us live as if there is. We interact with the world in such a way that affirms the existence of things that we cannot see: love, justice, mercy, hope, numbers, logic, etc. These things are evidence for a world beyond.

When I observe sky ladder art that was created out of the Christian tradition, I perceive a strong sense of certainty. The existence of the supernatural is a settled issue. In contrast, there are questions being asked in the modern depictions, and the viewers are given no answers.  Why do artists continue to paint sky ladders? Even the briefest study of art history makes this plain. They reveal the universal longing for immortality.

As a Christian, I believe there is a spiritual realm that is just as real as this one, and I identify with the artworks that depict a ladder firmly planted on the ground, in real space and time, with a sure destination at the top. Unfortunately, we can’t reach the supernatural realm by ladder, but the Bible tells us many things about what it is like and how we can get there when our lives here are complete. The words of the Psalmist still speak to those who are anxious about the future climb: “I sought the LORD, and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4).  Jesus Christ encouraged all who are searching for answers: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)

I wanted to alter this small globe as soon as I saw it on the clearance aisle! The paper was just torn a bit, so I tore it off completely and got out fiber paste medium and paints. I decided to use O’Keefe’s painting as my inspiration. It reminds me of the universal longing humans have for another world.  The desire for this world is so powerful, even the most ardent deniers, such as O’Keefe herself, cannot escape its pull. They hint at it in their compositions.

globe 7

 

IMG_8480

IMG_8487IMG_8601globe 6 IMG_8604 globe 10 Have a blessed day and thanks for stopping by to see my art!

~Scarlettokeefe 6

“Kill The Disease”-Using a Gun in Art

CS Bullets 1

Photograph: Standard range target, Permanent marker,  Glock 43,  9 mm pistol.

To learn more about Cockayne Syndrome and how you can help, please visit Share and Care Network (US) or Amy and Friends (UK) for more information.

 

I’ve been thinking about art and media.  With all the talk of gun control in the news lately, it’s hard to avoid the question: To what extent are artists influenced by political agendas?

I know my choice to use a gun in this piece may set people off, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take.  February 1st will mark 2 years since my little boy was killed by mutated genes.

Many artists have used controversial imagery in the name of social justice or progressive ideals. But that’s not what I’m doing.

The target is the canvas. Bullets are the medium.  Shooting is the process.

No liberal agenda here. No conservative agenda, either.

It’s an accurate reflection of my feelings about Cockayne Syndrome and what it did to my son.

And what it’s doing to children all over the world that I love deeply.

There were no other materials that could’ve made this image as powerful. As accurate.

Honestly, it felt good to shoot up the name of this disease.

I drew my gun to draw my pain with bullets, to process the agonizing loss of my son.

What about political agendas in the arts?

I’m confident those truly devoted to freedom in the arts and progressive ideals will understand my process and embrace the way in which I choose to express myself.

 

 

Chatelaine for the Artist

I still play.  I create things that are totally unrealistic and completely impractical,  just for fun.

I was watching Dowton Abbey and  noticed a chatelaine, worn by the housekeeper, Mrs Hughes.

Chatelaines were a ‘useful’ form of jewellery, worn when women’s clothing had no pockets. They were dangled from the waist, their chains carrying small items. Chatelaines were common in the 18th century but enjoyed revivals at various times during the Victorian era.

I wondered:  What about a chatelaine for the artist? A romantic little tool kit of supplies to wear?

And that’s how I came to collect pieces of chain, jump rings, wires, and loose leaf rings to try and create an artist’s chatelaine, complete with all the necessities one would need to capture a scene at the very moment of inspiration.

A small tube of chalks and drawing papers…

 

A ‘view-finder’ to help with narrowing down the landscape until you find the perfect composition to draw…

A pencil…

And sharpener…

And a blending stump is always nice to have for the chalks…

And there it is. My very rough prototype of a chatelaine for the artist.

It could be spectacular with the right tools and equipment.

 

I can’t help but imagine how incredible this idea could become in the hands of a true jewelry and metal-work artist like Luthien Thye.  When I see her creations I’m always amazed at the range of her skill and variety of materials.  If you’ve never seen her work, it’s worth your time.

I appreciate you visiting my blog and always love to hear from you.

Have a lovely weekend!

Altered Photo With Cross-Stitch (#3)

I brushed over the color copy of my photo with gel matte medium and let it dry overnight, face down, on an 8″ x 10″ framed canvas.  The image came out fairly clear so I didn’t need to do a second transfer like I did on my first one.

After I removed the paper, there was still a small un-printed area at the bottom right of the canvas and I’m not sure why.   It’s a learning process!

After doing a ‘half-face’ photo and a ‘whole face’ photo, I decided I like the look of the half-faces more.  They have a whimsical look that I like.

I took some watercolor pencils and added some color back into the red glasses and her lips…

 

And also her hair and eyes…

Added some fine detail with a .03 pen…

Then I started adding some stitching…

I was experimenting with using the stitching as texture and pattern instead of only accenting details in the photo.