THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch10 – part 2

THE SIGN – Wilderness East of the Lake of GalileeCG-book-cover-w

The patchy sail was drawing well on a westerly breeze. The inland sea was not too choppy and the sky was slightly overcast. The boat was an old one and double the price of its original value. Cornelius was at first speculatively concerned about a growing pool of water along its transom even after Jacob’s assurance that all boats leak. But seeing that it was manageable with Trax bailing the water out every so often, Cornelius forgot his initial nervousness. Cestus was on the tiller and quite adept in handling a boat since he grew up in a fishing village. He chose two other men, Nacob, the Syrian and Lyca, the Cypran.

It was around noon when they reached the eastern shore. There were six other boats drawn up on the pebbly beach. Cornelius was amazed of what he could only describe as a multitude which has gathered with more still coming.

After working their way through the throng, Cornelius found Jesus on the tallest hill surrounded by his closest followers. As they came closer, it was Jesus who came forward to greet them. Though some faces showed disapproval.

“Welcome my friends.” Jesus said.

Cornelius took a step closer. “Teacher, I have grave news. John the Baptist is dead!”

“Yes, I know. His followers came to me yesterday. Be not concerned, Cornelius. His death was not in vain.”

“Teacher! All these people…?”

“Yes! I came here to be with my disciples in solitude and to ask of my Father in heaven of his will. When we arrived many have already gathered. I received my answer.”

Then Jacob asked, “Rabbi? What is the answer?”

Jesus turned to Jacob, “Do you not see?”

Jesus then beckoned them all to follow him to a ridge where they can see the hills and valleys covered with milling people. Cornelius calculated that there may be about eight even ten thousand people that have gathered.

“What do you see?”

A number of his followers called out their answers, “a multitude…”; “a nation…”; “followers of Jesus…”; and so on. Cornelius even heard someone, a Zealot, more than likely, call out “…an army for God!”

Jesus raised his hand and everyone went silent. “Do you know what I see?” Everyone seemed to lean toward him in anticipation. In a quiet voice, he said, “Sheep with no shepherd.” Then he slowly walked back to the encampment.

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The story continues on in my next post.

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Sketching from the Neck Up #3

Phone Booth in the Countryside

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I truly appreciate the many photographers throughout the world that have contributed their work in the internet. I found an e-magazine that featured 40 of the “Most Beautiful Pictures of Villages around the World”. Of course, I could not help saving several landscape photographs that would make neat sketch/illustration subjects. Today’s subject is an English country landscape. How did I know it was English? Check out the only distinctive RED object across the country lane from the village church. That is clearly a phone booth, which is rarely seen these days, except maybe in England.

So, I thought how neat would this illustration be if I included an English phone booth in the foreground. I found a good photograph and sketched it out into an illustration. I have to say, I had fun with this project. By the way, if anyone recognizes this English village, please email me back, so that I can pinpoint it in Google Earth.

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Sketching from the Neck Up #2

Waiting for an Order

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It was just one of those days, as I was heading home, when I noticed a group of young people waiting on the sidewalk with their bicycles. They all wore the deep pink shirt uniforms of the delivery service of Foodpanda. This was evident from the bulky insulated delivery boxes strapped on the back ends of their bicycles which also were colored a deep pink with a big smiling smiling panda. I have been noticing a lot of them lately through out Bonifacio Global City. According to their website, Foodpanda is the leading global online food delivery marketplace. They have provided users to conveniently discover food around their neighbourhood and directly order their favourite meals online or via their mobile phones. Headquartered in Berlin, Germany, they operate in more than 40 countries across 5 continents. In the Philippines, foodpanda was launched in June 2014 and has since grown to over 1,000 partner restaurants nationwide. [Click here to check out their website]

Anyway, these guys and a gal had their noses in their cell phones. My guess was, they were waiting for orders or playing games. I asked my companion to get his own cell phone out and take a quick picture (after I asked permission, of course).

When I got home, I went straight to work on my Photoshop program. The subject I chose was a young man sitting on the sidewalk with his bicycle propped up behind him. I decided to keep this illustration simple. The first thing I did was cropped out the subject I wanted to focus on. Then, I made the picture go transparent about 50%. After which, I more or less free handed the outline which started out rough. Then, I re-did the outline with cleaner lines. From there, I implemented some Photoshop magic and got the results that I was looking for. The final touch was the pink color of both the bag and the rider’s shirt.

Foodpanda anybody? Enjoy!

An Alleyway Somewhere in EuropeEU-alley-with-steps-w.jpg

Because of my spinal condition, the chances of me ever going to Europe is realistically quite slim. But I am not really depressed about it. I thank the Lord for Google Earth where sometimes I can spend hours touring different parts of the world. One of the features that I appreciate about Google Earth is that contributors had posted thousands upon thousands of photographs of their travels; a great number of which I saved. Well, I was going over those pictures to pick my next drawing exercise. One picture jumped out at me. It was a picture of a quaint alleyway with brick steps going up. Unfortunately, I am not exactly sure where this picture was shot. But I remember was that this place was somewhere in a village in Eastern Europe.

 

This drawing was somewhat a challenge. The photograph was in low resolution and somewhat pixelated. Drawing the outline was a little time-consuming but I managed to get it done in about three hours. In the original photo, it was empty of people. So, I sketched in a man up the alley. All in all, the outline looked good and this gave me inspiration to play with different mediums. Photoshop have a neat filter feature called the Paint Daubs that I wanted to experiment with. It looked pretty good. I wish I could have painted it myself but Photoshop gets all the credit.

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In my next drawing, I used the outline and super imposed it over another image of a brown crumpled parchment. I then applied Photoshop’s charcoal filter and then finished it with light shadows.
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THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch10 – part 1

THE SIGN – Wilderness East of the Lake of GalileeCG-book-cover-w

“Where is Jesus now?” Cornelius asked as he walked into his house after some hard riding.

Jacob goes to the table and pulls out the map of Galilee. “A great number of people seem to be heading to this part here.” Jacob circles an area south-east of Bethsaida. “I remember that area as a boy. From the lake shore up, it is quite hilly. Hardly any trees, mostly dried brown grass especially at this time of the year.”

Cornelius studied the map. “Too far to walk and if we are to be incognito we cannot bring horses. Did you say that Jesus has been going back and forth across the lake lately?”

“Yes,” said Jacob. Then he knowingly looked up at Cornelius. “We need a boat!”
Cornelius called for Cestus. A minute later, Cestus marched in and snapped to attention. “Sir!”

Cornelius hands a bag of coins, “Go to town and acquire us a boat. Bring two of our men who know how to handle it. We leave in two hours!” Cestus left.

“Well, I better pack some things.” Jacob gets up but then he pauses and peered toward a curtained off alcove.

Cornelius followed his gaze and noticed a slight movement on the curtain. He looked down and could just make out little dirty toes just sticking out.

Cornelius humorously ask, “What are we to do with young Trax? Hmmm?”

“Oh, I think we should leave him behind,” Jacob joins the jest. “He will be a troublesome handful in the boat!” They heard an obvious groan behind the curtain.

Jacob quickly pulls the curtain aside to reveal a startled Trax. “Behold,” Jacob exaggerates. “A spy among us!” They both laughed at Trax’s concerned face.

“How can we leave behind such a resourceful spy?” Cornelius laughingly declares.

Trax’s face quickly brightens. “I can come!”

“Come,” Jacob leads the lad toward the other room. “We have much to pack.”
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The story continues on in my next post.

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Johann Q

Sketching from the Neck Up #1

The Interactive Statuette

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In my world of being a quadriplegic, I have developed an aesthetic appreciation of my surroundings. I look at an object and say to myself, “that would make a good sketch!” I thought about trying to teach myself to sketch and paint using my mouth. After all, there are many PWD artists out there who do exactly that. However, most of those artists have enough muscles in their backs to support their heads, so that they can beautifully manipulate pencils/brushes to create fantastic masterpieces. Here lies my dilemma. Even if I can hold a pencil in my mouth, I am unable to execute the right pencil strokes for sketching. I hated the thought that I could not sketch. Fortunately, by God’s grace, there is a digital solution for me.

One day, a social media penpal of mine from Norway posted a picture of a snow clad tree that I liked. I opened up my Photoshop program and using my camera mouse setup, I proceeded to manually sketch the tree. When I say “manually”, I mean I tried my darndest to avoid using Photoshop’s magical features that automatically transform a photograph into a sketched out drawing. Okay, I cheated just a little.

Anyway, after a number of practice runs, another idea popped into my head to publish my sketches/illustrations into my blog titled “Sketching from the Neck Up”. In fact, that title was actually coined by my wife, Mavis, who is a genius in this kind of thing. As my first subject, I focused on a statuette that I noticed a bunch of little kids having so much fun with. It was a concrete interactive statuette of an oversized chameleon perched on a black boulder. I called it interactive mainly because built on the chameleon sides and tail are almost 400 little rollers each of which had 4 color facets (green, yellow, blue and red). A nearby teacher of the kids would call out saying that the chameleon is standing by a specific fruit like an apple or a banana. She would ask what color would the chameleon be and the kids would laughingly turn each of the multicolored rollers to either red or yellow. This statuette can be found at the 28th Terra Park, Bonifacio Global City. Come and check it out for yourself. Be a kid again and enjoy.

PWD – person with disability

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THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch9 – part 8

SALOME’S DANCE – Machaerus, PereaCG-book-cover-w

Cornelius knew all too well what was really at stake. Herod Antipas have friends in Tiberius Caesar’s court. Pilate, though still supported by the emperor, received communication from him of his displeasure regarding the aqueduct project in Jerusalem. Apparently, Pilate plans to bring water into the city using Roman engineering as a way to better the relationship between Rome and the Jews had an opposite effect. Pilate had used the Temple tax revenue to finance it. The Jewish leadership was in an uproar. Herod saw his opportunity to try to regain the governorship of Judea. With his help, the Jewish leadership sent communique through those in court that were no friends of Pilate. This incident opened up Pandora’s box for Pontus Pilate. The Jews have gained a political advantage over him which is causing him to tread lightly.

“I have decided to grant you a leave of absence. I am in agreement of your assessments in regards to this other preacher and miracle worker, Jesus of Nazareth. His large followings cannot be ignored. Though, as you have reported, he has no political ambitions, yet his activities do provide tremendous political advantage for those who would exploit it. Centurion, I do not want to be caught unaware. You, at least, are already known to him. You will follow him closely. If there is any indication that this preacher will be used to bolster a revolt, you will report back to me. Tribune Arturos will fill in the other details. Now, before your misplaced sense of fairness gets the better of you, Centurion, I think it best that you leave here now. Dismissed!”

Cornelius snapped to attention, saluted and made a sharp about face. As he and the tribune were about to walk out, two household guards entered. One was carrying a tray with a covered bundle and trailing behind him were droplets of blood. Cornelius need not stare for he knew what it was. His professionalism maintained a passive appearance as they marched out of the ballroom. But in his mind, he voiced to the heavens, ‘I am sorry, my friend.’

“Cornelius, the governor will be going down to the coastal city of Caesarea to oversee the final phase of the construction of our military port. Flavius and the whole cohort will be garrisoned there sometime this month. In two months from now, the governor will be in Jerusalem for this big Jewish celebration… Passover, I think… Security is going to be very tight for us, there. I hear that the whole country will be congregating there for at least two weeks.” Arturos motioned to stop just under the big palace doors. “You will be on your own. You better keep some men with you.”

“Cestus and six others is all I will need. I will also still use the Capernaum house as my base of operation.”

“Then, it is settled,” Arturos smiled. “I was worried back there for a moment, Centurion. I would hate to lose such an able loyal soldier as yourself and… a good mentor and friend.”

Both men laughed and grasped each other’s right forearms. Then Cornelius descended the short flight of stairs and was about to mount his steed when a woman’s voice called out to him. He turned to see Pheobe run past an amused Arturos. He met her at the bottom of the stone steps.

“The Lady Procula sent me to give you this!” She hands over a small but heavy bag of coins. Pheobe leans close to whisper, “She says to use this in any way you feel fit to help the Nazarene. For myself, I hope to see you again soon.” She places her hand on his arm. “Please take care!” Then she turns and walks back up the steps and stood by an already beaming Arturos.

When Cornelius mounted his horse, Flavius hands the reins over to him with a mirthful smile. As Cornelius rode out into the night, followed by Cestus and six others, Cornelius could not help but smile in the darkness.

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The story continues on in my next post 2-3 day from now.

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THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch9 – part 7

SALOME’S DANCE – Machaerus, PereaCG-book-cover-w

Reluctantly, Pilate addressed Herod about this matter. “My lord Antipas, may I have a word with you?”

“Certainly, my dear governor,” Herod said as he lead Pilate to a quieter alcove for a private talk.

Cornelius and Tribune Arturos took their position not far from the governor.

“My dear Antipas, I was hoping to broach this subject of the Baptist with you. Would it not be prudent for you to hand him over to us? There are some among my… ahem… officials that are quite interested in interrogating this John the Baptist further.”

“Alas. It is out of my hands,” responded Herod. “I have given my vow that she may have anything in my power to give. It is regrettable but culture and tradition dictates that I must fulfill my vow.”

When Pilate returned to his divan, shaking his head negatively, Procula coldly stood and left the party followed by Pheobe and a number of ladies. Pheobe looked back to Cornelius with a wave.

Cornelius seethe with the thought that a righteous man… a prophet of God… and a friend would lose his life needlessly. With no plan formed in his mind, he started moving purposely toward the exit with his hand tightly grasping his sheathed sword.

“Centurion!” Cornelius halted and turned to find that it was the governor who called him. “Come! Attend to me.”

“Sir!” Cornelius snapped to attention. Then he followed the governor and the tribune out to the same balcony where he talked with Pheobe.

“I think it best that you stay standing at attention, Centurion.”

“Sir!”

Pilate circled him with amusement.

“I wonder, Centurion, how you would have fared against Herod’s hired guards if you did manage to stop the execution in time?” Pilate then sat at a bench looking at him up and down. “Yes. I think you would do well, for a time by yourself. I would even venture to speculate that the men you commanded outside would not think twice to mutiny and come to your aid. But then, what would that have left me? Mmmm…? A renegade cohort… outlawed… hiring yourselves out as mercenaries… No, Centurion. I cannot spare you. At ease, Centurion.”

Cornelius relaxed his posture but kept looking forward.

“Besides, how would I explain this to your father?” Cornelius questioningly gazed down at Pilate. “Oh, yes. I know your father. He wrote me sometime back that you were with the Italian contingent. He as well as your commander had appraised me on your strong sense of fair play. This has served you well, so far. But I have to rein you in, this time. As much as you would like to save the life of that desert preacher,” Pilate raised his hand for silence as Cornelius was about to object. “I am sure he is innocent, but I have to consider the bigger picture. This region is too volatile. Herod and I, at least, must have the appearance of a unified front.”

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The story continues on in my next post 2-3 day from now.

If you are interested in reading the entire ebook, you can find my ebook in Amazon.com for only $1.99. Just click the link below.

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Johann Q