My weblog ELECTRON BLUE, which concentrated on science and mathematics, ran from 2004-2008. This weblog, which is more art-oriented, is its successor. Please visit the archives of ELECTRON BLUE using the link to the right.

Sun, 14 Dec, 2008

The Photons of Pentecost

Welcome to the new re-creation of the Pyracantha Weblog. The name of this blog is inspired by my day job as a signmaker at Trader Joe's, where I often do signs advertising nutritious fruits and vegetables. I hope that the art and writing which I will be posting here will be nutritious too. My main subject will be visual art, including painting, graphic design, comics, and other media, but I will also be writing about philosophical, religious, literary, and other topics. There might be a bit or two about science and mathematics, too. There will be plenty of my art to look at, and I hope to post images of significant pieces as they are completed.

This picture, "The Photons of Pentecost," has been in development for 2 years. I did the original design digitally in 2006, and then drew it onto the canvas in pencil. Then it languished for two years, stuck in my studio while I neglected it for other projects. I finally decided to finish it so that I could show it at my annual exhibition at DarkoverCon in the Baltimore area.

I don't usually paint on canvas. The reason I used it was that it was real cheap. I could get lots of already stretched canvases on sale. But these canvases were primed with a rather non-absorbent primer, and keeping the paint from sliding around was a problem. I used an airbrush for the background, and the spray didn't stick either. So I struggled with the technical problems, but finally managed to do more or less what I had envisioned. The digital version is more luminous than the final, since, after all, it shows itself on a glowing screen rather than paper or paint. I did my best to match the colors anyway.

The idea of the Photons of Pentecost came from a theological/scientific question. Well, perhaps it's a scientific/mythical question. Some of you readers may be familiar with the Biblical New Testament of Pentecost, where the Holy Spirit descends onto the apostles of Christ in the form of tongues of fire. (Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2) The question is, what happened to the photons (quanta of light/energy) emitted by these divine flames? Were they just ordinary photons such as come from the sun or a flame? Or were they divine photons which had a special status rather like the Catholic Eucharist, a "real presence" of God in the material world?

Scientifically, of course, this question makes no sense. The flames of Pentecost were not real, they were a symbolic literary event, so no photons were emitted. Everything in the Bible, and in religion in general, belongs in the realm of "things made up by people" and so there was no connection between the photons of Pentecost, which cannot be measured and thus don't exist, and real photons, which are measurable and exist.

If any of you remember my old essays from ELECTRON BLUE (July 2006) you know that I believe in a "real" mythical world, in which Pentecost, the photons, the Apostles, and their miracles exist in their own coherent and logical universe. That's the world I'm most happy with, and that's the world that I hope shows up in my paintings. Even with the technical problems, a painting belongs to the "real" material world. It's something which conveys information from the mythical world into the material world, and even scientific types can look at it without compromising their principles.

Posted at 2:38 am | link