Coloured pencil on pastel board, 80 x 60 cm.
The original subject for this drawing was a camp fire that my eldest stepson Matthew had made while we were fishing at Brushy Lagoon (a popular angling spot near Launceston), a couple of years ago. To set the record straight, the cans, nails, cartridge shells and cigarette butts did not come with the original fire place depicted in this drawing!
When I looked at the fire I had visions of the fire on Easter Friday morning where Peter had stood and denied that he knew Jesus, not once, but three times. I also saw the fire for what it was and thought that it would make a good drawing with two meanings, secular and religious. But maybe the two are closely related.
But I see this as a strong symbolic image.
The cross made from four sticks in the middle reminds me of Christ and his desire to spread His word to the four corners of the earth. Although the sticks have been attacked by the fire they still remain intact and point in a particular direction. Around the fire are strewn objects that represent the abuse of our bodies, our environment and our Creator. The nails used to crucify Christ, spent cartridge shells (war) and two vices that take a terrible toll on the health and well-being of our society are scattered on the ground. The beer cans are green to remind us of the way we treat our environment, consuming as much as possible with little regard to the state of the planet. Two symbols appear on the largest rock, that of the Trinity and the Cross, a type of graffiti. The dark background symbolizes the uncertainties that lay ahead.
The chalice of Christ is half-buried, a symbol of His rejection by society.
The central part of the fire represents Hell, the fire that never goes out.
Peter denied Christ three times but was forgiven and later became the first head of His church on earth. Our society continues to head in a secular direction. Are we becoming more like Peter on that cold, Friday morning so long ago?
You are free to interpret this drawing as you wish. I welcome any thoughts. This is not a comfortable work to look at once you’ve known its intent, but the role of an artist is to tell it as they think things are.
This is not a drawing of hope, but a wake up call.