Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Village Cross

The story behind this drawing had been already recounted in my epic post called Summer in Vilnius, but I can hardly imagine anybody able to read that one through beside myself, Diana and a couple of martyrs who decided to bore themselves to death in the name of art, so here it is in a more exclusive form. Besides, when I was writing that post, the reproduction of the artwork still hadn't been ready for publishing, only some photos where you could see the work in progress and the finished drawing.

The drawing represents a "village cross" in Avižieniai, a rural outskirt of Vilnius. As I wrote before, I had already seen this place during my winter trip to Vilnius, but back then it had been all covered with snow and I had barely noticed it. Now it appeared before me in all its glory, captivating me with its simple beauty and peaceful quietness.

Having noticed my interest, Diana briefly introduced me to the history of this place. There was no church in Avižieniai, so the local community decided to gather the money and build this simple cross as a modest tribute to the Lord. The cross has been surrounded by a short wooden fence with some hydrangeas inside, which at first made me think it was a grave or a memorial of some sorts (here in Georgia the graves are usually surrounded by individual fences, with flowers growing inside, so that was a natural thing to think).

When one of the sunny days of my vacation I decided to draw something in the open air, this beautiful place was the first thing to come to my mind. I was so eager to draw it, that couldn't wait for the proper lighting: the sun wasn't in the right position yet, casting awkward shadows on the cross. I still made a rough sketch just to feel the proportions and "breathe" the atmosphere of this lovely site. Diana was beside me, as always, sharing my enthusiasm, taking some photos and greeting the neighbors curiously passing by.

Later, when the lighting was more suitable for this particular scenery, I came back and took some pictures to be used later as reference: since I had no easel and no place to sit, I couldn't make a detailed drawing in the open air, so I decided to finish the job some other time, at home.

Franciszka, Diana's mother, liked the sketch so much that she asked me to leave it to her, so that she could boast to everyone, what a talented son-in-law she had. But I wanted to leave her something more valuable than a simple sketch on a rough paper, so a few days later I took a sheet of Canson Vivaldi Crème paper, settled in front of Diana's monitor and started drawing a more detailed version of The Village Cross, based on my previous sketch and the reference photos made earlier.

A few hours later the drawing had been finished, but it wasn't quite ready to be given away -- I had to scan it for my website (and this blog) and frame it. Diana's scanner had died on her a long time ago, so we had to go to her work to scan the artwork. Then we went to the framing shop, located in the Old Town of Vilnius, and ordered the frame. It fitted the artwork perfectly, and now I could leave it to Franciszka in a proper state.

That's the whole story behind The Village Cross; I hope you found it interesting. And here's your "reward" for being patient: the scanned artwork itself.


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