Wednesday, August 13, 2008

More 'Elsie Anna Wood' Bible Art

Elsie Anna WoodBy popular demand we have two more samples of the Bible Art of 'Elsie Anna Wood' very kindly supplied by Dr Sandy Brewer. The first one is titled 'Jairus' daughter'. The second picture is 'Jesus stilling the storm'.

I've received a lot of emails from people wanting to know more about this artist and wanting to see more of her work. Sadly, there's only one book that's been written about this artist titled 'A Gift Returned With Love' which I believe is very hard to get hold of. This is surprising as she really sounds like a fascinating lady.
If I hear of any others books I'll let everyone know via the blog.

I would love to see an illustrated Bible using the Bible illustrations of artists from this era, Elsie Anna Wood, Harold Copping, Cicely Mary Barker, and William Hole etc. With an introduction by Sandy Brewer! Now that would be an illustrated children's Bible worth having!

Click on the pictures to see a larger image.

Related posts:
Elsie Anna Wood


deboraw said...

Graham, I almost missed them! Thank you for sharing. Deboraw

Paul Green said...

Jairus' Daughter is a lovely illustration-painting. The lighting, the use of colour and the animation of the figures. Some might find the colours too gaudy with pinks and yellows but I like the vibrant approach.
Jesus stillinmg the storm isn't quite as good. In fact it looks as if Jesus is surfing and waving to his fans. LOL I hope you appreciate the humor. I don't mean to trivialize the miracle.

deboraw said...

Graham, (and Paul g), I agree on both accounts. Proverbs 17:22 A cheerful heart is a good medicine; But a broken spirit drieth up the bones.
Smile. Deboraw

deboraw said...

As I looked at the 'Stilling the Storm' again, I think part of my ?problem is/was I like to take a 'closer look' and as is often the case, if you get too close you lose the perspective. If you were to hang the picture on the wall, (I don't know how large the original is, obviously, but...) and stand back away from it the effect would be much better, and I think very moving. Jairus' Daughter is very lovely, but would probably be more so if treated in the same fashion. Deboraw

Bible artist said...

When you view the 'Stilling the storm' from a distance in does look like a very shallow boat, or like you said Paul, a surfboard. But on closer inspection you notice that the two disciples on the left are stood up in the lower part of the boat. The reason why the boat is so low in the water is because, as the Bible says, " was already filling." (with water). Mark 4:37. You can see that the water is above the knees of the standing disciples. This amount of water would weigh the boat down low on the sea, as Wood very thoughtfully shows.

The design of the boat that Wood has used in this picture also answers the question "How could Jesus sleep in a boat half filled with water?" He slept on the raised platform which you can see Him standing on in this picture, this is the one part of the boat that would stay dry!
An unusual feature of this picture is the sun! Most artists that have illustrated this scene, (myself included), show a very dark sky. This combination of sun and storm is very possibly a phenomena that Wood witnessed on the Sea of Galilee during her time in Israel. It's worth taking note of details like this, especially when they've been painted by an artist living in the Holy Land. I continue to be amazed at the attention to detail in Woods pictures.

I do like the soft lighting in the 'Jairus' daughter' picture. There's a real warmth of color in all of Elsie Anna Wood's Bible art.

Paul Green said...

I think a wider perspective would have improved the "Stilling of the Storm". Had Wood lived in the 1960s her style would have been perfect for "Look & Learn" magazine.

Bible artist said...

Yes it would!

Nathan P. Daniel said...

Wow, I really like these works. Most of them look almost like a fresco. The more pastel color palette makes me think a bit of the Rococo style paintings. I also love her treatment of the figures in the scenes and her depiction of Jesus--almost having a "no, that's one of His disciples," look in some of the pieces, which seems so unusual but so correct.

The bit of open sky visible in the storm painting brings to mind the possible symbolism there. Jesus is calming the storm, and behind Him is clear skies--like He is the barrier of the storm; in another way, putting the clear sky or even sunlight behind Him symbolically reinforces His divinity--kind of like the sunlight in the Jarius painting, too.

deboraw said...

Graham, I continue to examine these pictures, and thank you (and your other commentors)for pointing out the different features. I am impressed each time I scrutinize the details pointed out. She does have an excellent style, and impressive knowledge that all seems to come together in her work. I'm still impressed. Deboraw

Bible artist said...

Yes very few artists depict Jesus in such a way that only the circumstances of the picture reveal which one He is! This is true of William Hole's depiction too.
Most artists feel 'safer' using the traditional image of Jesus.

There is so much in her pictures. I want to see more!

Christian said...

Dear Graham and fellow commentators;

May I point out that rarely did the people have the vibrant colors that we have today due to our use of chemical dyes. I really enjoy the softer colors as I think it more accurately protrays that fact. I am not saying that the colors were entirely devoid of richness but that such vividness would come with a new garment and only the rich would be able to wear such garments frequently. I have been really enjoying Ms. Wood's art. It is as Deboraw says, very moving.


Horseman said...

As indicated, perhaps such vibrant colors were uncommon for clothing back in those times. But using such colors in the art results in a better piece – art that reaches beyond the natural. Indeed, she is depicting what believers consider to be historical. But also, our Beliefs are so much more than mere history. I think the use of such vibrant color hints of dream and the spiritual, which for me is far more potent than the historical. I think the use of lighting also plays into the idea of making art that has a… spiritual feel to it.

Bible artist said...

That's a good point horseman.
Maybe some of the Bible illustrators of today, (like myself), in our quest for historical accuracy, miss opportunities to reach viewers on other levels. For instance, we don't use the symbolic props like the Bible artists of old. The composition of a picture is important too and can suggest much to the viewer as Sandy Brewer pointed out.
Lighting also, used in the right way, has the ability to draw the attention to a particular character in a picture like Henry Ossawa Tanner's picture of Jesus with Nicodemus, and as you mentioned horseman, the right colors can be potent also!
Maybe it's the thoughtful inclusion of all these elements that separates Bible illustration from true Bible Art!

deboraw said...

Graham, I have been pondering on the last few posts and find them interesting. So many things go into a picture. This is one reason I always feels so incompetent at drawing a Bible illustration. The
history of color in clothing for example. As Christian indicated, only the rich (usually) could afford vibrant colors (not that the vibrant colors didn't exist) which in a painting can be used to show wealth, and position. The poor usually would have the 'second' dye lot. I'm not sure if that is the correct term, but the 'dyer' would reuse (for a lesser price)for the poor the same dye used for the rich, in many cases. There are so many different perspectives. Question, oh great Bible illustrator,(smile) where would the presentation of Jesus have been (as well as the circumcision) found in:Luke 2:21 And when eight days were fulfilled for circumcising him, his name was called JESUS, which was so called by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
And in what part of the temple would the following event (with Simeon and Anna) have taken place?
Luke 2:22 And when the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were fulfilled, they brought him up to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord

Levi says he thinks he can find a picture for me of the temple, which I can use in my (ancient--I'm surprised Dr. Rittenmeyer hasn't been clamoring at my door for this artifact of ancient history, but...)my projector. I want to paint it onto a white sheet and use it as a backdrop)--but where does it take place and what setting would I use? I know the temple is supposed to be white marble,but does it for example have the ? circular steps in front? Well, it's just an idee, and I'm just looking for some way to go from the abstract to the physical. Suggestions? Deboraw

deboraw said...

My apologies, I just realized I misspelled Dr. Leen Ritmeyer's name. Very embarrassed face. My mother's last last name was Cloutier, and it is unbelievable what some of the spellings (and pronunciations) she got. However, I apologize anyway. Deboraw

Bible artist said...

Hi Deboraw
Don't be put off by the details that some Bible artists include in their work. My pictures are sometimes criticized for being too busy, and this is a valid criticism. It's important that the adding of historical details doesn't detract from the story.
The most important thing is that the story is clearly told. Simple is best!
Elsie Anna Wood strikes a good balance between story-telling and historical detail.

As to the location of the presenting of Jesus; William Hole shows the dedication of Jesus taking place at the foot of the 15 semicircular steps just outside of the Nicanor Gate. I've not looked into this but that suggestion sounds reasonable to me.
Yes, the semicircular steps were in front of the Nicanor Gate which was in front of the white and gold Temple. I would make life easy and just draw 15 semicircular steps onto your back drop.

deboraw said...

Graham, Well, you know it is my motto if there is a hard way to do a thing, I will find it. Smile. I saw the one by William Hole, and that one is rather intimidating. I don't think I would live long enough to reproduce--even in line form--anything close to that. Where would Jesus (at 12yrs.) have been? I was scrutinizing your last post, and it appears to be in a room at the temple. The colors seem to be just a wee bit more subtle, but very nice. Deboraw

Bible artist said...

Good question Deboraw!
There's actually 7 months between the two pictures on the latest post, (Jesus in the Temple). The first one, which you ask the question about, was done back in February. I was under the impression when I illustrated that picture that there were rooms in the Temple complex off the main court. It wasn't until March that I was introduced to Leen Ritmeyer's book 'The Quest'. Since then, I've read the book and studied sections of it several times! So, when I came to draw the second picture displayed on the post this week I had a much better understanding of the Temple layout.

There were four chambers off the Women's Court but they had very specific uses.
They were not used for informal discussions. So where did they go to debate issues in the heat of the day? There were Herodian Porticoes around all four sides of the women's court that were used to shelter from both the hot sun and the rain in winter. It's possible that the 12 year old Jesus sat and discussed the scriptures with the teachers here.

This might make your job a little easier too Deboraw as you could paint a row of Roman columns on your back drop.

deboraw said...

Graham, As I look at the pictures on the other post (what did Herod's temple look like) and William Hole's picture again, instead of the Byzantine colors it should have been white marble, right? Do any other of the model reconstructions show where the porticoes would be(or are)? Trying to peer at a computer screen with these pathetic glasses makes up for all of your 'making life easier' tips--lol. Deboraw

Bible artist said...

Hi Deboraw
No, instead of the Byzantine tiling it was probably local stone, as this is the Nicanor Gate that we are looking at. Only the priests would stand next to the Temple itself as it stood in the Temple court.

For an idea of what the porticoes might have looked like, click on the 'Jerusalem Archaeological Park' listed among the 'Bible Archaeology Sites' on the blog.
When you're on the site select the 'Virtual Reconstruction Model' and then the '360 Degrees Panoramas' from the drop down menu.
Finally, select the top one in the list.

You are now stood in the Temple complex and you can have a look around! Hope that helps!

Bible artist said...

Or, if you have a look at the picture on 'The Ascension' post, you can clearly see the Nicanor gate in front of the Temple.

Remember that we don't know exactly what the Nicanor gate looked like. Each model is a slightly different design, as is my picture. But we do know that it was built in the 'Classical Roman' style.

deboraw said...

Thanks Graham. That's the first time I had been there, and it sure is interesting. I'm always impressed with the size of these buildings, and they didn't even have our 'power' equipment. No cranes and etc. Deboraw

Bible artist said...

Yes, I was amazed too by the size of the temple complex. The Temple too was enormous!

Cyndy said...

Providence Litho holds current (up-to-date) copyrights on 36 of Elsie Anna Wood's illustrations. I haven't seen all of them, but I have quite a few that were published on Sunday School leaflets or lesson pamphlets. has more than 4500 images from the Providence Collection now but unfortunately the tags don't identify which ones are Elsie Anna Wood's illustrations so I haven't been able to sort out which ones are hers, if any. They only recently acquired the collection tho so maybe they will add the artist names eventually.

Jo said...

I have a painting called Shepherd, Sheep and Wolf by Elsie Anna Wood. The writing below the title says "Painted in the meat market at Nazareth, and on the hill above the town. The good shepherd prepared to give his life for the sheep. St. John 10:7-15." Can any one tell me about this?
Thank you.

Bible artist said...

I seem to remember hearing that Providence bought the rights to have artists copy EAW's pictures, (not to use the originals themselves), so although they might look like EAW's pictures, if they're from the providence collection, they probably aren't. That always seemed a very strange arrangement to me!

I've forwarded your email on to Dr Sandy Brewer as she's the expert on EAW's pictures. If I get a reply I'll post it here.

Anonymous said...

Paz a ustedes,
Como me gustarìa poder adquirir esa Biblia ilustrada o al menos las ilustraciones.
En realidad necesito figuras bìblicas hiperrealista -como las de esta artista evanélica- para el franelògrafo. Me ayùdan?
Bendiciones a ella y a ustedes.

Bible artist said...

Gracias Esther, por desgracia fotos Elsie Anna madera no está disponible todavía, en una Biblia, sino que se habla de un ser publicado. Hay carteles disponibles por orden de detención europea a la venta en Internet. Trate de Ebay.
muchas bendiciones