Tis the season of Advent! I am so excited that you're here. My hope is that within our "12 Artworks of Christmas" series that we join together in the season of anticipation.
Week-by-week, we'll explore Jake's artworks that reflect the Creator who desires to be with us.
This season, I am resting in the amazing miracle of Christmas: that a God so unfathomably big would make himself small for our sake; wrapped as a newborn that we may see ourselves in Him; born a sacrifice, the One to bear it all -- all because He loves us.
Not all future blogs in this series will be this long, but this being the introduction to the next few weeks, I wanted to set the tone and share with you what you can expect. The artworks you'll see here are familiar to you, I'm sure, as you've faithfully followed Jake's work for a while now. My hope is to reveal new things about these works; things you might not have seen or known before; the inspiration behind their creation as well as thoughts from Jake as he's meditated on their messages. Allow yourself to be immersed in the images; wrapped in a holy communion with the Spirit.
As always, please share these blogs with someone you think would love the content and invite them to join in the Truth and Beauty of this season!
Ushering Him In,
The Sojourner's Rose
Notice the Sojourner in the middle: us, represented as a ship passing through this world. The Sojourner, at the center of the cross (an image of the cross formed between North, South, East and West) represents that it is our place that Christ took.
Jake discovered that Italian Navy men were responsible for coining the names of the eight winds (which you'll see written in Italian on banners wrapping over the four points of the rose and around the bodies of angels). This is a nod to the time when the compass rose was refined in Italy around 1200 AD.
The phrase encircling the compass is Jake's charge to the sojourner to remind us that faithfully following God will lead us in the right direction.
To read the full description of this piece in the gallery, click here.
It Is Well with My Soul
The first of his hymn series, Jake chose this one because of the immense power and weight of glory it has carried for over a hundred years. To many of us, it reminds us of someone we love dearly since this hymn is often sung at funerals. It is comforting as we sing the words in the midst of trial, restoring our hearts to peace: "it is well! It is well with my soul!" How glorious that we get to join the choir of saints, singing alongside them these words, knowing they are true!
Jake chose to set the scene of this hymn on an ocean of calligraphic script to intentionally place the viewer in the scene where the words of this hymn were originally inspired. Don't know the full story behind the hymn? Click here to read in the gallery.
His Eye is on the Sparrow
To some, this season can be a reminder of what is lost; people that we wish were near whether they've died or represent a broken or hurting relationship in our life.
"Why should I feel discouraged,
Why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely,
And long for heaven, heaven, and home..."
The words of this hymn remind us that God is near us always despite feelings of loneliness or sorrow. And isn't it amazing that Christ was born to be near you, and that through his Spirit, he is ever with to you?
Jake takes the lyrics of this hymn and circumvents the sparrow to say that God encircles us with his promises each moment of every day and that nothing happens to us without His knowing.
All three pieces above are done using a dip pen with hand ground ink on calfskin vellum. The variances in color shown on each one reflect the velvety texture of their originals. When reproducing these for collection, we were sure to color-match them to their originals to include as much of the natural beauty of the materials as possible.