Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Seven Sacred Seasons: Creation Season

This wallpaper was done by Jeff Nelson, not me, but it was too brilliant not to include here.

Summer was always Creation Season for the Gathering, but the nature of it changed over the years. There was a period where we celebrated the Gathering's birthday after Pentecost season, and called that "Gathering Season." However, we also did "Gathering Season" in the fall, and since that really always felt like the startup of the church year for us, it remained so. To have two Gathering Seasons was confusing, and in later years, we took off both July and August for a sabbatical, given that we were a totally volunteer-lead organization. So to have any services in Creation Season, we moved the services to June.

This prayer has been placed over a photo of one of the Gathering's community, so we could pray for her while she was abroad, living in New Zealand. The photo was taken by Nathan Waddell, and is one of my favorite prayer slides.
The worship was evocative of Celtic Christianity and Spirituality, which has a strong element of eco-justice and awareness to it. We did prayer walks at the Parliament Grounds, labyrinths, picnics, outdoor/backyard services, and in general tried to spend time in Creation. The most memorable of these outdoor services for me was held in my backyard when the Gathering was between venues. There was rain in the forecast, so my industrious father-in-law brought over several king-sized tarps, and strung those from the roof of my house to the three massive trees that bordered my fence. It was like being under a massive tent. It was fortuitous that he'd done so, as the forecasted rain was a gross understatement. It was like a monsoon -- we were sloughing water off the tarps with broom handles, and the Djembe skin was too damp from the air alone to play properly. Nevertheless, I remember attendees dancing outside the tarp-zone, splashing joyfully in the fast-puddling water. We have no record of that event, as the heavy moisture in the air damaged the Gathering's digital camera, and we lost the photos.

The wallpaper for the last Creation Season we celebrated at the Gathering.
Sometimes we did services devoted to personal creativity rather than Creation itself. Here is a series of slides I made for one of our Creation Season services, all centered on that theme.

The G-Arts Festival was one of the core celebrations during Creation Season: it was held in August, and it simultaneously ended our time of sabbath and kicked off our fall season, without causing anyone an undue amount of planning duties. Everyone at the Gathering was encouraged to participate, and we stressed how creativity was more than just art or music. People brought their collections to display, art to present, music to perform, poetry to read. Children contributed. We saw belly dancing and dramatic improv, slideshows of home renovations, and one year Jenica and I performed a salsa dance. One of my Creation Season offerings was a work of art I'd collaborated on with Nathan Thomas, who went on to do many cool things in animation, such as working on cartoons such as League of Super Evil. We only had about a month to do the comic, and this in our spare time while working at a summer camp. Every night, we took an hour and drew furiously: Nathan did the pencils, and I did the inks. The idea for the strip was to make the book of Ezekiel a modern work, inspired by Maus.
Here's the first image, of Ezekiel looking down onto the River Chebar, and seeing the devastation there. I've had plans to colour the whole strip and put in text, but as I've proven yet again this year with Josh and Caleb still awaiting completion, these things are easier said than done. Nevertheless, I did a test panel for Creation Season to demonstrate the process of drawing a comic.

Here is a frame of Ezekiel speaking prophecy. The first image shows Nathan's pencils.

The above image shows Nathan's pencils, now with my inks.
Next, I erase the pencils by a process of raising the contrast and brightness. I left them in very faintly, because I want there to be concrete record of Nathan's involvement, and I like that dirty approach.
Now for the colors, done first in flats.

And finally, the finished version, with shadows and desaturated colors. I tried to strip all the bright colors out, as my use of color and dodge and burn effects in Josh and Caleb drove Nathan a little nuts. I really like how this turned out, and look forward to getting the opportunity to present the whole strip here at Gotthammer in the future.

This last wallpaper was done by Taylor Reese, my brother-in-law, and features the brilliant humor of Gary Kurtz of PvP fame:

This last wallpaper was one of my first cracks at using a program that built digital landscapes. I no longer remember the name of the program, but I remember being in awe of the way it combined a simulation of creation, and encouraged the creative process.


  1. Anonymous11:14 PM

    The software is called Terragen.

  2. Indeed it is/was! Thanks for filling in that blank for me!