“… the power of the Most High will overshadow you… ” Luke 1 verse 35
Whe we think of God, and
angels, and the Angel,
we suppose ineffable light.
So there is surprise in the air
when we see him bring to Mary,
in her lit room, a gift of darkness.
What is happening under that
huge wing of shade? In that mystery
what in-breaking wildness fills her?
She is astonished and afraid; even in
that secret twilight she bends her head,
hiding her face behind the curtain
Of her hair; she knows that
the rest of her life will mirror
this blaze, this sudden midnight.
Luci Shaw (1928- )
A Christian poet born in London, UK, Shaw studied at Wheaton College, Illinois and at the time of writing is Writer in Residence at Regent College, Vancouver, lecturing on art and spirituality, the Christian imagination, poetry-writing and journaling as an aid to artistic and spiritual growth. She has published ten volumes of poetry, numerous non-fiction books and has edited and collaborated on many other works, including several with Madeleine L’Engle. Typically her poems are quite short, less than a page often finding the touch of the eternal or other-worldly in natural details and themes.
Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859–1937)
An African-American artist born in Pittsburgh, PA and the first African-American painter to gain international acclaim. Tanner’s father, Benjamin Tucker Tanner was a minister, editor, and political activist and his mother Sarah Tanner had escaped slavery via the Underground Railroad. Although many artists refused to accept an African-American apprentice, in 1879 Tanner enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, becoming the only black student. His decision to attend the school came at an exciting time in the history of artistic institutional training. During a relatively short time at the Academy, Tanner developed a thorough knowledge of anatomy and an ability to transfer his understanding of the weight and structure of the human figure to the canvas. Although painting became a therapeutic source of release for him, lack of acceptance was painful. In his autobiography The Story of an Artist’s Life, Tanner describes the burden of racism. In 1891, in an attempt to gain artistic acceptance, Tanner left America for France. Except for occasional brief returns home, he spent the rest of his life there. Tanner’s body of work is not limited to one specific approach to painting. His works vary from meticulous attention to detail in some paintings to loose, expressive brushstrokes in others, often with both methods are employed simultaneously. The combination of these two techniques makes for a masterful balance of skillful precision and powerful expression. Tanner was also interested in the effects that colour could have in a painting with many of his paintings accentuating a specific area of the colour spectrum. Tanner often experimented with the importance of light in a composition. The source and intensity of light and shadow in his paintings create a physical, almost tangible space and atmosphere while adding emotion and mood to the environment.