Sacred Heart Series – Part 1

I’m keeping very busy with commissioned artwork!  I feel very blessed this year with multiple projects scheduled out.  I will post my new work as I complete each project.

In general, I work during the same hours each day.  I set out to complete a specific portion of a project during those hours, such as all the flesh tones in a painting.  Occasionally, I have time left-over after I have completed my planned work.  Often, I spend this time putting in bids for freelance art projects online.

Today, I did all of those things and still had time left over.  Not quite enough time to work on a webcomic page, but certainly enough for a single image.  So I put some time into a series that I had been planning for several weeks: my own vision of the Sacred Heart.

Sacred Heart Series

In general, artists who work with this image have kept to the same highly simplified and stylized image of a heart.  Remembering my anatomically accurate (but still simplified) version of Ariadne’s heart (see below), I began to wonder how an anatomically accurate icon would function.

Dionysus and Ariadne

I started with a simple sketch of Jesus exposing his heart (below, left), just as Dionysus is exposing Ariadne’s heart.  I quickly realized that the inclusion of Jesus’ face, hands and body are unnecessary — so quickly that I didn’t even finish inking the sketch.  The heart functions better on its own, where we can focus on its suffering and storminess.

Sacred Heart sketchJesus with Sacred Heart sketch

Seeing the heart by itself (right) validated my experiment.  To me, everything the heart is supposed to symbolize came alive — a truly suffering heart that is at once aflame with love for humanity.  My version is no better nor more valid than the traditional one.  But it is a strong version, IMO.

The new drawing itself is quite large to accommodate all the details….

Dean with Sacred Heart

I refer to this work as the “Sacred Heart Series,” because I intend to produce a lot of different images based on this concept.  I have already created Immaculate Heart and Sorrowful Heart drawings based on this design, although they are not included in this post.  My goal is to explore all three images in a variety of media.

Today, I produced linocut prints based on the Sacred Heart.  (You can read about my linocut process here.)  I tried a few different paper and ink combinations.  I’m super-pleased with the results and can’t wait to continue this exploration!

Sacred Heart Black on Gray Sacred Heart Black on Pink Sacred Heart Red on Blue Sacred Heart Red on Gray

Speaking of series, this would be a good time to remind you of my Art With a Curveball workshop, coming up May 13th at 6pm.  We will be exploring the fine tradition of working in series, and we will even work together to evolve our art concepts.  Full details can be found here.  Sign up today!

Art With a Curveball flyer

2 thoughts on “Sacred Heart Series – Part 1

  1. Hey Dean,
    Well first of all congrats on having such a busy and successful year so far, looks like a lot is going on! You seem to be pretty organised about your work too, which helps I guess, you do seem to be very productive at the moment which I’m slightly envious of ;-). I love the clarity of vision there is in your work and this sacred heart is a fine example of that, it’s so strong and conveys a lot of energy without any clutter to dilute the power of the image – bravo mister!

    • With these commissions, I do feel like I’m “harvesting” after years and years of planting. I don’t know how long it will be like this, nor what the next phase of my artistic journey will ask of me. So I’m putting energy into non-commissioned work as well the paying projects. Working in series is helping with that, because I’m getting a lot of mileage out of singular ideas.

      I appreciate your comment that there isn’t “clutter” in the Sacred Heart design. It’s always a fine line between realistic and fussy, and I was constantly fretting about packing in too many flames, how many thorns, too many arteries, etc. I’m glad there seems to be a good balance! Looking forward to posting more in this series….

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