December 31, 2019 ~ The Seven Trumpets

James Abbott McNeill Whistler
1834-1903
Aesthetic painter, printmaker and etcher
Battersea Reach
Oil on canvas
50.8 x 76.2 cms | 20 x 30 ins
Corcoran Gallery of Art | Washington | United States

December 31, 2019 ~ The Seven Trumpets

Story @ Revelation Chapters 8, 9, 10 and 11
This painting shows two images connected to the seven trumpets: (1) The prayers of the saints of all ages crying out, “How long, O Lord, will our sails be slack?,” along with (2) A belief that God answers our prayers behind the scenes of the seven angels preparing to blow their trumpets. You tell me what they mean, because I’m still thinking.

— §tacy §weeney

December 30, 2019 ~ The Sealed People of God

THE 144,000 |James Abbott McNeill Whistler
1834-1903
Aesthetic painter, printmaker and etcher
Whistler and the Leyland Family in the Billiard Room, Speke Hall
42.8 x 63.5 cms | 16 3/4 x 25 ins
Oil on canvas
Walker Art Gallery
Liverpool | United Kingdom

THE GREAT MULTITUDE | James Abbott McNeill Whistler
1834-1903
Aesthetic painter, printmaker and etcher<br Whistler and the Leyland Family in the Billiard Room, Speke Hall
42.8 x 63.5 cms | 16 3/4 x 25 ins
Oil on canvas
Walker Art Gallery
Liverpool | United Kingdom

December 30, 2019 ~ The Sealed People of God

Story @ Revelation Chapter 7
John does not want to describe the end without showing us a positive picture of the sealed servants of our God. The family in this painting is wearing the attire of God’s faithful people, “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14, KJV). The featured families are the same – Israel in the Messiah! They are unmoved and settled in the seats of truth, obviously, since 1875. The billiard room is how God came into my orbit.

— §tacy §weeney

 

December 29, 2019 ~ The Seven Seals

Whistler | Symphony in White and Red

December 29, 2019 ~ The Seven Seals
Chapter 6 of Revelation includes some wild stuff. I have read the chapter over and over. I have set Revelation chapter 6 to repeat while I sleep. I weep in frustration. Who cares? Why does it matter? I close my eyes and let the paintbrush gloss over the scene. I choose another image and two helpful Revelation resources: Ranko Stefanovic and John Paulien who say, “The details matter and it’s worth pursuing.”

Okay. This project is important to me. I bandage up my shin that is bleeding and start over. There is blood on the moon. The soft horizon and the steps in this landscape, “Symphony in White and Red,” describe a close connection between heaven and Earth. The four horsemen in white, red, black and pale green oil color allow expansion of the Kingdom of God as his people overcome.
— §tacy §weeney

December 28 ~ The Heavenly Throne Room

Whistler | Symphony in White no.3 |1865-1867 | Oil on canvas | 52 x 76.5 cms | 20 1/4 x 30 ins | Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham | Birmingham | United Kingdom

December 28 ~ The Heavenly Throne Room
Story @ Revelation Chapters 4 & 5
The door wide open stands to a far off better land in this resplendent oil painting, “Symphony in White no.3.”  In association with the feminine side, we transition from Earth to the heavenly throne room with more bewildering symbolism. Here in the throne room is a seven sealed scroll and a throne large enough for two or more, evermore the same as when Whistler first painted it in 1865. I find it interesting that he manipulated both the height and length of the couch for his composition. If the One on the couch were not leaned over sitting, in this painting she would not be fitting. I interpret this to mean – he/she is ßIG, he/she is even bigger than his creativity. Couches are more comfortable than crosses. “Blessing and honor and glory and power be to him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” (Rev 5:13) This concludes the euphoric experience that awaits us.
— §tacy §weeney

December 27, 2019 ~ God’s People in Cities

Whistler | Nocturne in Blue and Green Old Battersea Bridge
Oil on canvas

December 27, 2019 ~ God’s People in Cities
Story @ Revelation Chapters 2 & 3
This painting illustrates that Jesus meets us where we are – with what we have – by way of a bridge. This is, in essence, a CCDA (Christian Community Development Association) principle from John Perkims: “Go to the people, live among them, learn from them, love them, start with what they know, build on what they have, but of the best leaders, when their task is done, the people will remark, “We have done it ourselves.'” Jesus is a gentleman because he’s got so much he wants to tell me that I can’t bear to hear him now. The more I know the more it might twist my brain. I am never in a place that is impossible for him to reach.

I appreciate and relate to this oil painting, “Nocturne in Blue and Green, Old Battersea Bridge,” because of the fireworks, used for aesthetic purposes, and the one star in the sky, drawn from a partial picture of Jesus. It is also the last of the Battersea Bridge images, reaching perfection or maturing in relationship to the bridge.  Whistler produces different perspectives in different media of the same bridge – which reminds me to stay humble and open minded to different ways to think. Someday, I will walk across the full length of Battersea Bridgge when I travel to one of  my origins, €ngland.

— §tacy §weeney

Battersea Bridge is a five-span arch bridge with cast-iron girders and granite piers crossing the River Thames in London, England. It is situated on a sharp bend in the river, and links Battersea south of the river with Chelsea to the north. Wikipedia

December 26, 2019 ~ Among the Lampstands

Whistler Nocturne: The Grand Canal, Amsterdam Watercolor on paper Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D>C>

December 26, 2019 ~ Among the Lampstands

Story @ Revelation 1:9-20
This watercolor is a wonderful picture of what God is like. I wish we could see the original. I have an attractive idea of Whistler painting darkness on the Earth, interrupted by the lampstands that come alive to an overpowering exposure of Shekinah glory in their midst. John is the figure turned around to see this faint reflection of Christ on Patmos.

“My wood stove is my sanctuary lamp. As it burns, it symbolizes the presence of the life force of nature keeping my family alive through the cold death of winter, keeping us safe – as safe as life can be, despite civilization’s determination to destroy itself. By keeping my sanctuary lamp burning, I celebrate the possibility of everlasting life right here on Earth.” pg 214
— Gene Logsdon

Logsdon, Gene. A Sanctuary of Trees. 2012. Chelsea Green Publishing. White River Junction, Vermont

~ §tacy §weeney

December 25, 2019 ~ The Trinity

James Abbott McNeill Whistler 1834-1903 Aesthetic painter, printmaker and etcher Harmony in Flesh Colour and Red 1869 Oil on canvas 38.7 x 35.6 cms | 15 1/4 x 14 ins

December 25, 2019 ~ The Trinity
Story @ Revelation 1:1-8
“Harmony  in Flesh Colour and Red.” an original oil painting from 1869, expresses Merry Christmas! Here is the presence of the Lord, in association with the feminine side. Here I get to see the untainted bright side in all it’s glory in plain language. There is light and life coming out of the Lord’s mouth on every word he speaks, perhaps speaking creation into existence. The balcony separates heaven above, overlooking the sun and other planets. The open composition vertically suggests the everlasting existence, while the closed composition horizontally represents intimacy. The Trinity is three ways of describing one team, wearing the same royal clothing. The color red represents what Jesus has done: “He loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood,  “ (Revelation 1:5b KJV)
~ §tacy §weeney

December 24, 2019 ~ A Christmas Letter from John, the Disciple and Revelator of Jesus Christ

James Abbott McNeill Whistler
1834-1903
Aesthetic painter, printmaker and etcher
Portrait of Whistler with Hat
46.3 x 38.1 cms | 18 x 15 ins
Oil on canvas
Freer Gallery of Art
Washington | United States

A Christmas Letter from John, the Disciple and Revelator of Jesus Christ

Merry Christmas!
James Abbott McNeil Whistler will be the selected artist for the images as I work my way through the book of Revelation. One thing I noticed about Revelation — what on Earth do the crazy images mean? I did not provide a formal analysis of Whistler’s paintings, but I have pointed out some simple reasons why I chose his painting for that particular section of Revelation, because that’s what I like to do.

With the possible exception of Degas, he was the wittiest man in the recorded history of art. Degas remarked of him, “If you were not a genius, you would be the most ridiculous man in Paris.” pg 11.

Although he scoffed at religion, he never forgot that his New England mother wanted him to be a parson, diligently took her to church and kept his promise never to draw or paint on the Sabbath. pg 11.

Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter’s Mother
1871
Oil on canvas
144.3 x 162.4 cms | 56 3/4 x 63 3/4 ins
Musee d’Orsay | Paris | France

God created us with the ability to create, in a second hand sense, and to exercise His creative power. With a large pool of paintings to choose from, both abstract and realistic, I found it easy to group the visual with the verbal account, as if he was ready to pair. I had a feeling that Whistler possessed a prophetic visionary gift that would work out for this project. I would guess that Whistler is not far from the kingdom, but I’m certain God sees a more nuanced picture.

~ §tacy §weeney

Reference:
Holden, Donald. WHISTLER Landscapes and Seascapes. 1976. Watson-Guptill Publications. New York.

Advent Reflections: Immanuel

Claude Monet
1840-1926
Impressionist painter and caricaturist
Apple Trees In Blossom
Oil on canvas

Advent Blog
“I’ve brainwashed myself with the Gospel.” — Stacy Sweeney

The marvelous news of the Gospel is that God has come down to live with human beings, in close proximity, again. God takes away our separation, and reconciles the world unto himself. And the angels sing, “And on Earth, Peace, Good Will Toward Men”

I’m talking about a different kind of ßelieving – the love of God for human beings. You have to ßelieve God is that good. We don’t have to wait on the Second Advent for Christ to be with us. Immanuel has never been changed since Jesus came down to Bethlehem.

Immanuel, communicating in a remote, intangible way. Do you have anything better than that? It only lacks reality because we don’t keep it that way. Read The Lord’s Prayer @ John 17. “I in them and thou in me.”

Immanuel

Of course you want to live
you want to live in all of us
your mission was to be with us
you desire to be with us

bearing in our body temples
you choose to be with us
not just a building
so don’t get full and bust

You live in my midst
not on the fringes
not in the garden
not on a mountain
not by a fire
not in a cloud

I to the fountain run
shine like the morning sun
a love that suffers long and is kind
as if you suddenly changed your mind

refine me, purify me
the traffic in my heart
with heavy heat and strong agencies
holy spots set apart

silver and spice
under all that beaten gold vice
give me presence all the time
presence all the time

I to the fountain run
shine like the morning sun
a love that suffers long and is kind
as if you suddenly changed your mind

~ §tacy §weeney

Social Security Scam

Whistler | Nocturne in Grey and Gold: Chelsea Snow | “I have chosen the word nocturne because it generalizes and simplifies the whole set of them.” – Whistler. Night gave him opportunity to experiment with patches of light and dark and color as disembodied shapes, functioning as abstract elements in a pictorial design. The night itself seemed to divest forms of their literary meaning by depriving them of detail. A pub ceased to be a pub and became a pattern of luminous rectangles, broken by streaks and patches of darkness. the snow and sky became luminous space. an art of interval. Space has an intense reality and it is the spaces between things that often determine the power of the composition, the night an abstract drama of intervals. – Donald Holden

Our wonderfully weird conversation lasted 32 minutes according to my new cell phone. I was doing a soundcheck run through when the stranger became my first caller – each sentence made more illegitimate. These Social Security scams have skyrocketed. To put it in perspective, the Federal Trade Commission and other governmental agencies are now telling us that in 2018, more than 35,000 people reported the scam, and they told us they’ve lost $10 million. (www.consumer.ftc.gov)

At times, I believed the stranger’s one-dimensional state of being, the busy background noise and the random bits of personal information. But lately my deepening sense of sorrow has made me reconsider the case of mistaken identity for comic relief.

The imposter had me talking and writing this dialogue when the Social Security Administration (SSA) phone number showed up on my caller ID. The SS marshall said my social security number had been involved in a crime, drug trafficking in Texas. He was faking. The Social Security Administration only calls me to see what color pants I’m wearing for the day.

A couple minutes later, the stalker asked me, “Where do you live?” I said, “You know.” A few moments later, the scam artist was still scrounging it, asking if I owned a home. I said, “No. I live in a cargo trailer. They feed me sometimes if I behave.” When the SS marshall threatened to report me to the local sheriff department, I asked if they could bring me some fast food french fries.

I burst into laughter after I told him, “I can’t go to the bank and do this money transfer thing until tomorrow, because I don’t have a car.” And no joke, he asked, “Can you call Uber?”

Some things don’t make sense. He turned out to be a Tofurky all along. So make room at your holiday table for Mr. Tofurky, and wire him all the love and prayers you would for a sick friend – like you and I – and let the symptoms of that love quietly, intentionally do good.
§tacy §weeney