Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Noah's Ark Sketch

I have been painting up a storm the past week, however because many of the paintings are either commissioned gifts or personal gifts I cannot share them just yet. Once the New Year rolls around I'll do a post with those illustrations.

In the meantime I have begun a sketch of Noah's Ark.

Noah's Ark, sketch two thirds completed.

Noah's Ark was one of my favorite tales to hear as a child. I was torn between drawing this and sketching, like, his brother Dave's Ark filled with unicorns, centaurs, and griffins. (We can assume Dave's Ark either crashed or landed on a desert island. Which then became the coolest island ever?). There are already so many illustrations of Noah's Ark, but we didn't even know about Dave until I made him up just now.

Last night as we were falling asleep I told Ryan I wanted to draw Noah's Ark and he requested I set it in space with a rocket ship and bubble helmets for Noah and all the animals. "That's not how the story goes." I told him. "Well, sure," he said. "Not yet."

This afternoon as I sketched out the Ark I briefly imagined a Winnebago and Noah manning the steering while wearing a pair of shades as the animals gleefully stuck their heads out the windows.

I stuck to the traditional telling for now. I might actually do some of the other sketches too.

I'm Christian myself, so I'll confess to a slight twinge of guilt when I think of setting Noah adrift in space as God destroys (planet Earth?) society in the hopes of starting over. However, Jews and Christians already borrowed the story from the Babylonians. The Babylonians described a raft, later the old testament bumped it up to an Ark. Really, credit doesn't even quite fall to the Babylonians. It's a story that exists throughout the world in many different cultures. Geologists have their theories and there is evidence of proven geological events that may have caused a catastrophic flood to give a foundation for our ancestors' fears.

Who's to say thousands of years from now humans won't be living on a distant star somewhere? Perhaps even then our future generations will credit Noah with saving us all. Bringing us to the stars with neat pairs of space traveling penguins, llamas, dogs, cats, bears, and foxes strapped in by zero gravity belts?

It's like faith through the telephone game. Some people and animals survived a natural disaster. How? They outlasted the danger. How? They happened to have shelter. How? They had a raft, no, an Ark, no a spaceship. Who organized the animals into pairs? Who cataloged them? Elephants and banana slugs living in harmony? How? Who cleaned up that mess?

To me, it doesn't matter. What does matter is humanity has survived earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, the ice age. Some person or people perked their ears up centuries ago and saw trouble on the horizon. For myself and my faith, some inner intuition lead them to higher grounds. And those people survived and had thanks in their hearts and wanted to give credit to someone. Enter Noah and his OCD menagerie. Okay, thank you Noah. And thank you to the many Noahs who had the foresight to sew coats and clothes when icy winds set in, who buried the dead to avoid disease, who grew crops to stay one step away from hunger.

Carving bones with bones. Today I saw a microphone that
 lets me talk like T-Pain...any time I want.
Faith is believing beyond uncertainty, reading between the lines of rad stories about guys parting seas with snake staffs and seeing a beloved Moses his people sought to paint as totally bad ass. However, the Hebrews being lead from slavery to salvation and nature granting survival to a few lucky individuals in time of hardship (natural selection) are certainly two miracles mankind has experienced. In my own personal feelings, I attribute them to God. A story about a dude losing his super human strength when his psycho ex girlfriend cuts his hair and then growing it back just long enough to destroy his abusers does not make the struggle of man and the helping hand of God less real for me.

It just makes it more fun to read.

Samson, she's just not that into you!

I don't know how we got here. I don't know if the scientific theories can ever really match with the old testament's explanations. I know I like talking to God when I'm troubled. Or see a car miss a squirrel by inches.

"Thank you Lord for sparing that squirrel. And thank you
especially Lord for granting that one squirrel I saw on the news
the ability to water ski. Truly your world is beautiful and we are grateful."

I do know that I love the story of Noah saving mankind, whether it be in a raft, an Ark, a Winnebago, or a space ship. I love that he spent all that time gathering the animals. It's like when Ripley went back for the cat in Alien.

All is lost, the water is rising, everyone's going to die. Wait--where's the dog?

And so I may do a series of Noah sketches after all. We'll see!


  1. Do hope you do - the various Ark variations, I mean! Also look forward to seeing the latest Pseudoctopus paintings and productions!

    Have a Happy Christmas you two - and love to Uncle Brendan too!

  2. Thank you Isobel! I hope you and Peter have a Happy Christmas as well! And all the cuddlies :) (Uncle Brendan sends his best, particularly to Cy Bear!)

  3. I love your illustration and certainly hope you develop your other ideas! Especially the one involving the Winnebago, haha.


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