Thursday, March 28, 2013

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday is the day commemorating the Last Supper with Jesus and his disciples.

The word "Maundy" refers to he ceremony of washing the feet of poor persons or inferiors, performed as a religious rite on Maundy Thursday in commemoration of Christ's washing the disciples' feet at the last supper.

Jacopo Bassano's Last Supper, painted in 1542, is one of the masterpieces of 16th century Italian painting. Instead of the elegant grouping of figures in Leonardos' painting, which inspired it, this dramatic scene features barefoot fishermen at the crucial moment when Christ asks who will betray him, and the light passing through a glass of wine stains the clean tablecoth red. Recent restoration has only now revealed the extraordinary original colours, which had been heavily painted over in the 19th century, when the emerald green and iridescent pinks and oranges were not in fashion.

Here is an interesting fact about the dog at the bottom of the painting:

The themes painted by Bassano are predominantly religious but in the Mannerist style he includes many every day articles, rural people, barns and farmhouses. His work is devoid of the grand temples, the silk and furs of his contemporaries; Bassano’s depictions are of normal people, undertaking daily tasks. Many of his works are Franciscan in content, full of nature and animals, the focal points of his pictures are often surrounded by detailed images of farm animals, dogs and cats. His painting Two hunting dogs tied to a tree is credited with being one of the first animal portraits in Western art in existence.

We remember this day in the liturgical calendar as the day that Jesus had the Last Supper with his disciples.  Our church will have a noon service today with communion as we remember Jesus' Last Supper.  Some congregations wash the feet of communicants to further signify Jesus' teaching of humility.

Scripture References: Matthew 26:17-30; Mark 14:12-25; Luke 22:7-20.

(this is a partial repost from April 2011)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Last Week in Lent

Stanley Spencer, (English painter, 1891 – 1959) Driven by the Spirit

"And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness." Mark 1:12

After Jesus was baptized, he directly went into the wilderness where he was tempted for 40 days (called the Lenten season) where he prayed constantly.  As we near the end of the Lenten season and await Easter Sunday, our church had a beautiful Palm Sunday service yesterday.  It is always one of my favorites services during the year, with palms waved high above and palm crosses worn by parishioners.

Next we celebrate Maundy Thursday with communion.  An excellent article entitled "Living into the Banquet Feast" can be found here and is definitely worth the time to read.

Now we also await Good Friday, and three days of contemplation commemorating the time before Jesus' resurrection.

Thanks to Floss for hosting A Pause in Lent again this year.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Easter Terrarium

Do you want to get your hands into dirt, but your evening temperatures are still too cool to allow seedlings to germinate?  That was my thought.  So I looked into planting indoors with small terrarium plants that could be tended indoors.  At our local nursery I found green Irish moss and a wee little plant called "goldfish" because when it blooms, it supposedly looks like a goldfish.  Go figure.

The above picture shows a bloom from the goldfish plant and below is a close-up of its foliage:
I so hope I can keep it alive until it at least blooms!  Armed with irish moss, also available at nurseries, I planted a terrarium using some other ferns, other dried moss, two small plants culled from existing house plants, along with various glass stones and two crosses symbolizing the Easter season.

Thinking I should add some mushrooms, I got out my Fimo clay (after two years, it was still easy to work with) and made some little 'rooms with a toothpick inside each for ease in sticking them into the terrarium dirt.

Looking at Sara Midda's mushrooms as examples, here was the process.

Forming the mushroom shapes with white clay:
Baking the figures in rice to ensure the tops would not be mashed.
Painting the figures to resemble mushrooms.

A wedding present from 1990 was used as a topper for the terrarium.  Yes, it is a glass cake cover and a very heavy one at that.  There will be no mushroom escape from this device!  A 9 inch cake pan was the base of the terrarium, painted green with acrylic paint.  Then I found a mirror with a turquoise frame, about 10 inches round.  That is the holder and base of the entire terrarium.

Here it is uncovered.

It was lots of fun to make.

To read more about how to consruct the layers of a terrarium, this post from March 2008 describes the process in detail.  Who knows, I might make a few more!