St. Brendan of Clonfert, the Navigator

Brendan of Clonfert was one of those delightful early medieval historical figures like King Arthur–probably real, but with his achievements and journeys highly enhanced, elaborated, and embellished. His story ends up being sort of a medieval Gaelic version of Homer’s Odyssey.

Brendan sailed around the North Atlantic, in search of the Isle of The Blessed. Some have hypothesized that he may have been the first European to reach North America, before the Vikings and long before Christopher Columbus. Because of my own journeys, though, I am more taken with the notion that the Isle of the Blessed may have been the Faroe Islands.

st brendan

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St. Sebastian, Pt. 1

Sorry–I haven’t posted anything here for a while. I have been too busy researching and creating! The first etching of the Saints Reimagined suite, St. Sebastian, is nearly complete. Here is one of the color proofs:

sebastianThat bird in the upper right is St Irene, who goes to collect Sebastian’s arrow-filled body, intending to bury him. She discovers him still alive, and takes him home and nurses him back to health.

My Bible Dictionary!

Wandering an antique mall in Amarillo, Texas, I happened on a children’s Bible dictionary from 1954:

20141031_090544I the booklet would somehow provide source material for the Saints Reimagined project. It may yet do that–the pictures are priceless–but so far it has provided fascinating insight into certain varieties of Christinaity at a certain time (the 1950’s). This insights have, in turn, let to some interesting conclusions that I suspect the dictionary creators did not intend.

The author, Tessa Colina, goes to interesting lengths to avoid connecting either sex or alcohol to the bible. Wine, for example, is apparently not a thing. Neither when defining a Winepress

20141031_090610Nor when referring to Communion Cup of Blessing

20141031_091002This probably just means that the author and publisher were non-Catholic, as maybe further evidenced by Saint being defined as “Another name for Christian” (thus avoiding all those early saints who were re-purposed pagan deities).

An interesting twist, though, comes at the definition of Virgin:

20141031_090637I suspect the assumption is that intercourse just doesn’t happen outside of wedlock. However, the implication ends up being…

…that Jesus was illegitimate. Which actually makes a lot of sense in terms of how comfortable Christ was in hanging out with the lower classes of 1st century Jewish society (prostitutes, lepers, tax collectors, etc.), but completely upends the normal presentation of Mary’s purity.

St. Hilarion

Today is the feast of St, Hilarion, and early ascetic Christian in the desert. He is sort of fascinating. Read more about him here.

Inspired by Hilarion setting up hermit-shop “between the sea and a swamp” in Gaza, I started a drawing about him today. I represented the little hut he built for himself as a birdhouse for the soul. Unfortunately, I don’t think he is likely to make it into the final Suite of Saints. I cannot think of something to represent him.

hilarion

Saint-Not-Of-The Day #2: Anthony of Padua

St. Anthony is most commonly known as the patron saint of finding lost objects. Thus the numerous finding gadgets here, operated by a long-sighted giraffe. Apparently Anthony is also a patron saint of harvests and, in his lifetime, was known as the Hammer of the Heretics. Look for the references to those in the drawing as well.

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Possible depiction of St. Anthony
Possible depiction of St. Anthony