Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Two Paintings

Ibrahim offered his son to God as his sacrifice after He told him so.

And later on the Angel Gabriel went to the scene and told Ibrahim or Abraham in Christian versions, that it was only God's test of loyalty.

And instead they offered a lamb (in some versions, a sheep or a ram). 


The Judeo-Christian and Islamic religions share a common patriarch: Abraham or Ibrahim. In similar anecdotes, they tell the story of his devotion to his faith that will serve as an example to later generations.

The anecdotes begin in the same manner: God bids Abraham / Ibrahim to go to the mountains to sacrifice his only son to Him. With a heavy heart, Abraham/Ibrahim leads Isaac (in the Judeo-Christian take) or Ishmael (in the Islamic story) to the sacrificial altar, but--having proven the man's exceptional devotion--God sends an angel to intervene. The boy is released, and a sheep (or lamb or ram) is found nearby and is sacrificed in thanksgiving.

Last October, I was tasked to make a small illustration for Manila Bulletin, a local newspaper, in celebration of the Eid-al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice. It is a sacred day for our Muslim brothers and sisters, based on Ibrahim's story above. It was rather challenging to paint this because I had to do justice to this sacred theme the best I could given my Catholic background, and also because I wanted to make the painting relevant not only in an Islamic sense, but also to other people.

At first I had a vague idea of the theme and its rituals. So, I decided to focus on the origins of this day rather than on the traditions, so that a reader can remember where it all began--a lot of Filipinos are familiar with the parallel Abraham story because the majority are Catholics. I also used this painting to try emulating the techniques of a favorite artist of mine, Jan van Eyck. As you might know from my previous posts, I usually try to adapt a technique or two from my favorite artists for inspiration. Exploring their handling of subject or material sometimes helps develop my output.

I drew some sketches of the composition, along with some of the smaller details (which I'll show it to you if I had courage enough to do so!)

Here are some images of Jan van Eyck's work, which I got from this very useful website called
Closer to Van Eyck: Rediscovering the Ghent Altarpiece
, which features that masterpiece by the brothers Jan and Hubert van Eyck. Whenever I look at these pictures very carefully, the amount and skill in every detail really takes my breath away.

What I really like about his style is his absolute mastery of the details, and in my opinion, he is amongst the pioneers of hyperrealism. Although I don't particularly aim for his degree of hyperrealism, as it is really quite above my present skills, I want to learn how he handles details and colors. I still have so many techniques to learn even after graduating from art school.

I tried to make my painting as accessible as possible for the three religions that shares Abraham as a patriarch, but there is a hint of old Moorish ornamentation. I wonder if you can see the nod to the many religions that sprouted from him in the bush below.


The second painting! One will be on display on December 8th, in a show called "Fornever Friends: An Exhibit of Unlikely Friendships," organized by Ang INK (Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan, or Illustrators for Children). It's one of my first experiments with painting on wood, done with acrylics. This was also inspired by Jan van Eyck, since I'm pretty obsessed with him at the moment. It's a small work, at 7 x 10 inches, so I had to pay a lot of attention to the small details.

The theme was about opposite characters or subjects striking up odd friendships. For that, I chose a devil and an angel dancing together, holding hands. They're surrounded by other little demons, perhaps wanting to join the dance, or just plain curious about this odd couple.

This would be my second non-academic exhibit.

Here's the poster designed by one of my colleagues. 


We also had the chance to visit our College school, which happens to be the venue of our exhibit. How we really miss this place.

You could also visit my work here on Behance! I am still wondering how to sell some of those works.

1 comment:

Rima Staines said...

Beautiful paintings Jericho. I particularly like the Dance of Tolerance. I see the three branches in the first painting bearing a cross, crescent and menorah ;) ...
Wishing you both a magical wintertime and may this coming year bring you adventure and creative happenings x Rima