Dove and Blue Boat

I has been a pleasure getting to know artist Andy Brooke (portfolio here) since his families recent relocation to Scotland.

He walked into the orbit of Quartz during lockdown. So, despite living in Dumfries, and the odd meeting with other artists professionally through the Stove Network, his first contacts with Quartz were online followed up with sporadic chats over coffee following as the precautions taken to protect the vulnerable in our communities varied. Interesting times!

Andy has been facing the challenges of working on one of the physically largest commissions he has undertaken so far. He did this during Covid, after moving house, and whilst living across the border from the country it has been be installed in. For it he has translated a design by painter James Dodds into stained glass, and this has recently been installed so you can see the light rippling through the image to wash against the walls of the hall – perhaps we will find a video for a follow up post!

Dove and Blue Boatis an updated and very topical version of an ark – a sanctuary in troubled times – with the biblical dove bearing an olive branch of peace from out of the sun. James says he like to think the window depicting a small vernacular blue boat and dove represents love, community, hope and salvation, from the hardship and anxieties of climate change, pandemic and war.

“Former boatbuilder James Dodds’ paintings of traditional boats evoke a deep human need for safety in troubled times”,

says Belinda Bamber in her article in Perspective magazine “Love is a Boat”

The boat is a type that would have been built locally, a type that James helped build when he was an apprentice boatbuilder. The boat has come to signify many things to him. He says “the boat is a vessel that carries my artistic ideas. For the refugee a boat can represent a way to be carried to safety. For a religious person a boat can represent a place of worship and salvation.”

The Holy Spirit is often represented as a dove. In the famous paintings by Piero della Francesca and Leonardo Da Vinci of the Baptism of Christ the dove flies straight down from the heavens. The dove is also a symbol of peace, with its olive branch it offers Noah hope when adrift in the great flood. The Ark is a sanctuary in the turbulent seas. The boat is an ancient symbol for the Church and still resonates. The word Nave comes from the Latin “Navis” for ship, and is still the word used in some churches for the central portion of the building they meet in.

For my part, it was a privilege to work on a window designed by an artist I admire, for a contemporary church building. The building itself is a dynamic addition to the traditional Victorian church it abuts.

Making the window was a kind of spiritual journey itself –  with the highs and lows experienced by us all as we go through this earthly life!

Andy Brooke

Keep your eyes open for more work by Andy, and keep up with his current work in Lincluden by following his blog here. (visit his website to read more and about the making of the window here)

The stained glass window in it's setting. The morern hall complimenting the traditional stone building.

0 replies on “Dove and Blue Boat”

Thanks a lot for this Simon – it has been a privilege to become part of the Quartz group and find like-minded folk who are also trying to reflect the glory of God’s creation in their everyday lives.
The window was a way of doing this in unusually concentrated form! Usually life is more mundane, but we are still always looking for significant beautiful moments.

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