Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Art for Africa ~ "Aslan's Symphony No. 1", a Painting about Creation

Aslan's Symphony No. 1  6x6 canvas by Sandra Martin 

“Narnia, Narnia, Narnia, awake.  Love.  Think.  Speak.  Be walking trees.  Be talking beasts.  Be divine waters.” ~ Aslan
UPDATE: This painting is SOLD to a gracious donor in North Carolina. 

The second painting for the fundraiser I want to highlight was done in the same period as Shine, but tells a different story. I'm a lifelong fan of the Chronicles of Narnia, enjoying the fantasy elements and characters long before I realized the meaning behind them. There were certain passages in the chronicles that transported me to a heavenly realm. The two that stand out the most take place in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Last Battle. The Voyage gives a glimpse at Aslan's country, which can only be reached by passing through a sea of pure white lilies and liquid light. The Last Battle reveals the country beyond the edge of Narnia with greater detail, and like the last chapter of Revelation, leaves me longing for more. 

But then there's the story in The Magician's Nephew, which is an inside look on how Narnia began. Aslan sang this parallel Eden into existence, leaving young Digory, a visitor from our world, quite speechless.

In the darkness something was happening at last.  A voice had begun to sing…it seemed to come from all directions at once…Its lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself.  There were no words.  There was hardly even a tune.  But it was beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise he had ever heard.  It was so beautiful Digory could hardly bear it.

The Creation of Narnia
When I first started this painting, I admit I wasn't thinking about this passage at first. I simply began exploring colors and shapes on the tiny canvas I had covered with orange, pink and purple blocks of color. As I painted, I listened to music that inspired the pulsing movement throughout the piece, where stars appear like embryos on the dawn of Creation, and waters and sky separate in puddles of color. Yet the sky itself is a sea of color as well, and the red spills from the sky to create the DNA that eventually makes man and beast.

I scraped away parts of the canvas for texture and to outline the DNA. Everything felt very impressionistic, like I was viewing the scene and then exaggerating the color according to emotions and feelings.

Shortly after "finishing" this piece, I decided to use part of it as the header for my own "new creation", the blog you are reading right now. The sun and moon, which often appear in my works, reminded me that art is a 24/7 act of creativity. Even if I don't physically create a piece of art, my creative mind is always active...observing colors and looking at the world with a childlike heart that is delighted by talking lions and waterfalls that travel up instead of down.

Later I spent a few hrs. adding details and outlines with archival ink
I hope you liked this behind-the-scenes look. Feel free to share, pin, and tweet. And a special thank you to all the new friends I'm meeting this week who have spread the word and also shared encouragement. Let's keep building each other up and supporting each other's creative endeavors. Each one of us has a song to sing!