Saturday, November 26, 2016

heard her speak

   It was the miniaturist Ambreen Butt who talked about the lengthy steps making her art. The wessel was a paper surface made of gluing fine cotton to silk - then flattening the sheet with pressured passes of a conch shell. Top to bottom and right to left - over all. Brushes were made from squirrel tail hair put in a pigeon shaft. Tiny distinct marks placed in layers to create the intended pattern. 
    She described the intimacy of working. Sitting on the floor with her painting in her lap, taking the time to do it. "A very meditative process," she said. 
     As she continued about her ideas, she kept coming back to the layers, the process. The words that came to my mind were TEDIOUS and INTENTIONAL and ENGAGED and IMMERSED.   
    Mylar plastic sheets with the slight brushed on layer of transparent acrylic paint. Something for the watercolor strokes to rest upon.     
    Outline drawings of people. Her pushing a threaded needle through the layers of plastic. "piercing the layers with thread" for the six foot tall creation.  
    Gentle mark making with pencils shaved careful to a point for her work "Ideas Of Rightness And Wrongness." How she had trained to apply slight pressure in those graphite drawings.      


    My mind drifting to the nylon thread stitched under burlap and around the tree branch. Selecting shapes from materials I have chopped apart - squashed dirty plastic bottles and slivered aluminum. Laying out arrangements on the burlap screen. The absence of music - shuffling shoes on the floor - my mind engaged - drinking in - floating on - what will click what the materials will speak - the arrangement being next to butted up against another shape. The opened bent back flanges of soda can remind me of The One, like a bird, like a star, his presence  wanting to be right next to mine - active - influencing  leading  cheering and molding our dance together. Mashed and stripped long bean pods from Shanklin Street - a rust fuzzy layer from inside a carpet pad - sunglasses in a bottle. I am placed   where his ways   can be remembered. His hands shaping my heart to receive his mercy and laughter.      
    Ambreen's talk on Saturday left me feeling KINDRED to those important steps of making - what I call lemteyoso.  
   I told her afterwards that "all the time you put into the producing the work will not be appreciated by the audience. But I am glad you told us about the steps and their importance to you." I shook her hand and blessed her. She smiled. And gave me her signature.  
    Collages for me. Arabic letters and resin for her.

bean pods 

fuzzy rust

 me in bottle

being next to another shape

untitled collage
karl marxhausen

Pakistani artist Ambreen Butt website:



Monday, November 21, 2016

pods pine needles twisted metal burlap

eighteen years ago i remember stowing plastic debris in a bag, looking along the main street curb. see knit glove (left) and can (below).
shapes were first arranged into a design, then glued to the cardboard. works were christened with a lifenote that the Lord brought to me. over the years these works have spoken purpose from the Lord.
two weeks ago i was stirred up by bean pods (above, below) from an autumn branch laid out like lace across an asphalt road. the dark brown outer covering had been crushed apart by the tires of passing cars. my heart lept. carefully the exotic pressings were laid between paper towels and loaded in my truck. mmm. wow. scooped up bright orange fresh pine needles where root school once stood. excited. when i got home i located burlap from the days i worked with the youth group. found nylon fish line and needles for stitching.   double click on image to enlarge.

then, finding the right straight tree branches to top the burlap (below). seated in the warm sun outside. needle and fish line stitch ed over under through burlap, securing the surface to the branch. four units ready to use (next).

with pliers in hand mater ials were twisted and cut into smaller sections. what came to mind was making resistance bend. the pruner sliced bottles, chunks of alu minum and steel into strips. the ac tivity of breaking apart that which restrains reminded me how stubborn mind-locks can be, my own bull-headed ways, the way tears have released buried pain from my own past,
occasions when jesus infused my soul with his embracing accepting restoring peace.

dirt was washed off items outside in a tub of water.
fabric and items laid on burlap and set aside. designs are set out to be looked over, come back and look again.

Two minute studio view.
torn plastic (below) reminds me of a bird or the holy spirit. yes!! rigid shape is glued to burlap and secured in place with cloth espins until it dries.

flowing arc of colors: silver, blue, silver, gray, red. paint can lids propped out with wood block under the edge. broken fountain drink lid, candy wrapper (below). i like this arrangement. i approve their fellowship and dancing. the rest the the design --- waits.

in crinkled tin (below) i see figure approaching with arms up, robe flowing, face towards me. crafted felt behind make the figure float outward. now the tin becomes someone else to me. partial lifenote is already a love=note to me. one who lifts and supports and tears up my eyes with joy.
profile of singing face (next) cut from fabric of graduation cap.  (below) gray silhouette to the right, rejoicing, dancing, amidst praises and jubilee to the Lord. scrip tures say the Lord inhabits the praises of His people. his life giving hope nourishing depression dispersing presence manifests and lifts our mental and physical state when we sing and speak and lift his name and extol him and exalt and magnify and enlarge and enjoy his personality. 2nd chronicles 20 verse 15 through 29 (old testament) describes a battle the Lord wins, defeating three armies against Judah, when the people spoke words and sang melodies lifting up their praises to their Lord and Savior, with the Lord doing all the fighting Himself.  Let - Me - Tell - You - Something      LE-M-TE-YO-SO       (lem-tay-yoh-soh)

Monday, October 24, 2016

autumn placements

Meadow East
Acrylic, plein air, January 2006
Sharon Kamprath

Acrylic on watercolor paper, 12 x 9, 2009
David Kohl, West Linn, Oregon

Scene Looking East of North Jefferson
Acylic on panel, 4 x 6, plein air, 2005
Sharon Kamprath, Seward, Nebraska

Acrylic on watercolor paper, 12 x 9, 2009
Aaron Brandt, Knob Noster, Missouri

Hogan Creek 2,
Acrylic, 11 x 14, 2010
Sharon Kamprath, Seward, Nebraska

Acrylic and panel, 2005
Sid Kamprath, Seward, Nebraska

Acrylic on panel, plein air, 2005
David Kohl, West Linn, Oregon

Autumn, Monroe Creek #1
Acrylic, plein air, 14 x 11, 2009
Sharon Kamprath, Seward, Nebraska

Monroe Creek #2
Acrylic, plein air, 11 x 14, 2009
Sharon Kamprath, Seward, Nebraska

Simeon Holding Baby Jesus
Acrylic on panel, 2004
Marie Lodwig, Lincoln, Nebraska

Saratoga Moment
Acrylic on panel, 2005
Sharon Kamprath


Friday, October 21, 2016

prepared site

One Saturday I met a man who had known my father. He and my dad became friends and colleagues while teaching at Concordia University in Seward. But before they ever met --- Harvey Lange was impressed by the mural Reinhold Marxhausen painted on the east wall of the Brommer Dining Hall. (Drawing sketch, next. Estate photo, an excerpt from The Witness, January 1953. Golden Embers 1953 yearbook photo, page 62)

Marxy, as he was known on campus, had depicted "God's majestic hand," Lange told the Alumni Gathering on Homecoming weekend. The Aid Association for Lutherans printed the color image of the mural for its 1953 calendar. Double click to enlarge images.

Both Harvey and his wife Carol were very struck by that painting. As of yet they had not met Marxhausen. Lange wrote to Marxy and paid him 100 dollars to do a Christmas painting.

The work measured 36 by 24 inches. It consisted of a blazing flame in the shape of the Holy Spirit, a shaft of light which pierced through a night sky of blue. The earth below was black. Marxy told Lange the swirling figures within the light were based on figures Van Gogh had done. In the foreground one could make out the little town of Bethlehem. Marxy called the piece "a radiant hallelujah chorus."

Marxy told Harvey Lange that the painting was not on canvas but on hard masonite. He painted it with auto lacquer. Which made the work child proof. Nothing would mess up the painted surface.

From the same photos --- that the Concordia repository now has on Reinhold Marxhausen --- I recognize the white garage behind my father, the sidewalk that had been recently poured, the same one Dad had us boys draw in. There were cars in the background, across the street in the gravel parking lot, that years later would become the Campus Center. Our address was 199 College Avenue. The yard where my brother Paul and I played. My dad painted the hallelujah chorus around 1960. Later, when our family moved over to Columbia and Lincoln, that white house and the white garage would become the first Art Annex for the college in 1965. Still later, the same building was torn down to make way for the Dorcas dorm.

In 1964 Harvey and Carol Lange moved to Seward, Nebraska. They lived at 2nd and Moffitt. Harvey taught Religion classes at Concordia.

During the early 60's Dad built a studio behind our house on Columbia, in order to assemble the mosaic murals for the Nebraska State Capitol.

In 1977 Marxy gave Lange a welded sculpture he had made called "Victory." It depicted a germinating seed pushing through clods of earth. A motif Marxhausen used to represent Christ's resurrection from the dead. Marxy had created the piece when he was at Mills College in 1962. He only asked that the work be always available for any exhibit that came up.

When his illness had taken hold of Marxy, his wife Dorris told Harvey not to expect much conversation from him. Determined, Lange brought up the subject with Marxy. What he got instead was a conversation about the need for visual arts within the church. Congregations have a minister of music. They should consider having a minister of art.

Lange conferred with collegue Chuck Dull. Dull had started the Director of Christian Education (DCE) program at Concordia University. At one time this ministry did not exist. Then the program became established at Concordia and it continues to this day to send out qualified workers to serve congregations.

Lange foresaw a foundation for Concordia Teachers College. A liturgical art faculty. He had seen the what Arlen Meyer had done over the years for the St. John Church in Seward - visually celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Marxy had created sculptures for the church narthex, which corresponded with the pastor's sermon. Lange could see a program established to foster liturgical art. Lange said it was paramount to get input from churches and then design a means for carrying it out.

Lange asked Arlen Meyer to bring this idea before the Art Department. To hire a part-time person. The reply was that their hands were already full. After much consideration the Board of Regents approved it.

It turns out that Harvey Lange, the man I have now met, has greatly helped to fund the Center for the Liturgical Arts for the past twelve years. The Center began in 2003 under Ken Schmidt. It continued under Mike Strand and now Mark Anschutz.  Who knew? I had not. But I know now.

Harvey Lange acknowledges the hand of the Lord.

Yes yes yes yes. That is to say, some One is leading. The hand of the Lord is leading. I believe Marxy was led to Seward. And he followed. The Lord led him toward each project. The Brommer mural, the State Capitol murals, stardust on the David Letterman show --- Marxy, being both a teacher and a learner himself. The creating process as a believer and as an artist is about listening, honoring, being led, and giving thanks to that Hand of God - For He IS ABLE.

Soon ground will be broken on what once was the Marxhausen property. It was gifted to the university by the family. A new facility for the Center. Impossible things have become possible. It is the activity of our engaged Lord.

Harvey Lange is correct. What is going on it truly miraculous!!!!!

Three minutes. In 2013 the house where my brother and I grew up was still standing at 540 North Columbia in Seward, Nebraska. My mother Dorris still lived at the Arbors in Lincoln. My father was laid to rest in 2011. His grand daughter, my niece, Anne Marxhausen resided at the house and took care of the property. This was how the yard and studio looked back then. Anne had her own projects going on in the studio. You can see the landscaping and greenery my mother had planted. Aspens tall and seedlings from the Poconos in Jersey.

Three minutes. In 2016 the Marxhausen property was given to Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska. The former house was taken down and the lot prepared as the future site of the Center for Liturgical Arts. Plans have been drawn up to include the existing Reinhold Marxhausen studio, and to build additional studios on the same lot.  

Actual drawings of the planned center (photos by Paul Marxhausen)

X-ray view, side elevations, note the echo of the existing studio, 

 floor plan

site plan, smaller square is existing studio.

The front door will be what Marxy did for the 540 North Columbia house, gorgeous in satin polyurethane.

administrative desk in the basement of Jesse Hall.

Worship song. Karl Marxhausen (1989) Four minutes.
"Celebration is more heart than head, more faith than sight, more confession than consumption as we live under God's promise in Christ. We are the Lord's. Here is the Celebration."  Harvey Lange     (1971 Tower yearbook, page 86)Lange

Right photo, "Harvey Lange was making an intense point to my brother Karl.  It was great to talk with Harvey and Carol and understand the depth of their commitment to the CLA project."    Paul Marxhausen

Karl Marxhausen interview with Harvey Lange, Saturday, October 8th, 2016. Phone conversation, October 20th, 2016.