Climate change…theology…iPad art… adapted from ArtServe Magazine Issue 33 Summer 2022

I was reflecting on creation and climate change, global warming. Tablet art enabled me to produce fiery images.

This would not be impossible with watercolour but here I was able to swirl colour together. If anything went wrong I had the facility to erase and correct. With watercolour this is more difficult. In the first image I went to Genesis 1 for inspiration the image of the earth ‘without form and void’. Science, cosmology, art and the Bible enabled me to envisage creation as a conflagration, a ‘big bang’, with interrelated matter and energy being brought into being. But then, on reflection, planets condense to spherical, or near spherical, form and so the first image is that swirling orb, formless but seeking an equilibrium and at the centre of the void will be Earth…or…

Without form and void…

As scripture unfolds, epiphanies, revelations of the divine, ‘the Other’, are described. They take many forms. One such narrative again brings together matter and energy in an enigmatic spectacle with no matter being consumed within an evanescent fiery, burning bush. ‘The Other’ has no name, utters no words, yet converts, forms and inspires humanity to action.

Burning bush

The colour palette of the creation image was retained for a burning bush. The flaming fire was ‘painted first’. Different tools allow the colours to merge in a variety of ways. The merge can be smooth, watery, bubbled or perhaps rough edged.  The bush was then lined in over the fire and the ground finished last.

Beyond the life of Christ, through incarnation and resurrection there is further revelation of the nature of God. Pentecost offers that image of fire again, with its contradictory character of energy, warmth and destruction, yet power and inspiration.

Pentcost or…

The fire was, again, painted first. The black, square blocks were formed using a template like a page frame but then filled using a fill tool that you may be familiar with in photo-editing software. The sky was similarly filled in, as it had been in the burning bush image. Subconsciously the colour I had chosen for this was very much reminiscent of some of David Hockney’s choice of pigments.

In the same way that scriptural and human inspiration interact in forming the images, paradoxically for humanity, that same divine presence of fire in creation and revelation offers humanity the capacity for self-destruction as global warming engulfs what might have been the ‘City of God’.

And is this the anticipated end of humanity? ‘Ashes to Ashes’? And is this the end, not just of each of us individually, but of all creation? Humanity’s knowledge, grasping the divine gift obliterates humanity itself while creation collapses back into the void from whence it came…

For the final image I used a copy tool to take the first image. I then used a sandpaper tool to scuff and scrape at the ‘surface’ of the image. I darkened it, mixing and merging colour to suggest, not just our planet, but creation returning to void and chaotic darkness.

Ashes to ashes…

Text and images © Andrew Pratt 2022 adapted from ArtServe Magazine Issue 33 Summer 2022