Why did it have to be a friend
Who chose to betray the Lord
Why did he use a kiss to show them
That's not what a kiss is for
Only a friend can betray a friend
A stranger has nothing to gain
And only a friend comes close enough
To ever cause so much pain
Lyrics by Michael Card
This song by Michael Card has always moved me deeply. For some time now I have been contemplating how to express these words in an icon. Then, several months ago, I came across an icon which showed Judas kissing Our Lord. The moment I saw it, I knew that I, too, could draw something similar if I really worked at it.
The problem I foresaw was that the icon was really all about two faces meeting in some sort of kiss and that the whole power of the icon would rest on the expressions I could achieve on those two faces. Normally, in icons, there are a number of small details which keep the entire focus from being on the way two faces (for example, the Blessed Mother and the Christ Child) are interacting.
Sadly, by the time I finished the above icon, I was totally convinced that I had completely failed to accomplish any of the goals I had established in beginning of the work. Quite honestly, I was ready to put this icon in my garbage file. However, I decided to first send it to someone whose opinion I respect and see what he had to say. Well, the response I got went like this: "My immediate impression on seeing your icon of Judas’ betrayal kiss was 'powerful'! And the more I look at it, the more I would go with that impression. The lips of Jesus contrast remarkably with those of Judas: the latter, greedy, malicious and “utterly false”; those of Jesus, downturned in sadness, approaching remorse. As well, the eyes of Judas, gazing into the face of Jesus, as if to ask the question: “Do you know what I am really doing?” They eyes of Jesus, by contrast, are penetrating – not so much in sadness, as in response to the implicit question of Judas: “Yes, I do know what you are doing – I predicted it at the Passover meal just a short while ago.” And of course, the money-bag around the wrist of Judas clinches the deal." [written by my friend, Eugene]
I was amazed. My friend had described exactly what I had hoped to accomplish in this icon! I, on the other hand, could see none of this -- I still can't -- but I trust his opinion. This opinion gives me the courage to post the icon, hoping that you, too, will see what my friend has seen. That you, too, might find it to be "powerful".
Now from the sublime to the fanciful: playful Polar Bear cubs!
|Mama tries to get a bit of rest from her playful cubs!|
These beautiful Polar Bear cubs appear to be using their mother as a big toy while she is trying to get a restful snooze in the spring sunshine. Poor Mama!
|Mama sleepily tries to get away from her playful cubs|
In this photo, it looks like Mama Polar Bear is actually trying to flee from these overly energetic youngsters. Mama appears to have just awakened as she is rubbing her eyes as she runs! Poor Mama!
|Mama realizes that running from her playful cubs is futile|
As for Suki and myself, we are both doing reasonably well. Suki has not done anything outrageous since my last posting -- thanks be to God! I have managed not to do anything outrageous as well!
Today is the Feast of St. Joseph and I had hoped to get to noon Mass, but I had a visitor who arrived mid-morning and by the time she left, it would have been too difficult for me to get ready and drive myself up to the Cathedral in my wheelchair. So, instead, I got a nice flower blossom and put it at the foot of the statue I have of St. Joseph and the child, Jesus.
I have been working on another drawing of a Japanese flower. This helps me to stay aware of the Japanese people and their needs, the nuclear situation and the souls of all those who died during the tsunami. Let us all continue to keep Japan in our prayers.
May the peace of God be with us all.