Inklings Semester Project
Dr. Mark Hall
2 May 2002
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
An Application in Light
Background of the Work
Growing up around
my Dad's churches, I spent a lot of time looking
at windows. Not through windows, as is expected
with most daydreaming lads, but rather at them.
The stained glass windows that spanned the wall
of the sanctuaries filled the church with colored
light. The carefully designed mosaic of color
created various Biblical scenes, but when the
light passed through, a new world was created
in my mind. The images became more real, but
at the same time, less real. It was like looking
through a colored marble, or a piece of colored
glass. I saw the same things, but slightly different.
the properties and mysteries of myth this semester,
I experienced similar feelings. Myth took me
to another place. George MacDonald, C.S. Lewis,
Charles Williams, and J.R.R. Tolkien all brokered
in literary myth. Their stories became the vehicle
through which life was clearer, and ultimately,
more abundant. This journey changed my reality
as I began to see life differently.
with stained glass has always been with me.
I always wanted to make stained glass. I felt
that I had the vision necessary to make glass
masterpieces. I chose this art form as my semester
project because it was the only way to convey
the image in my head. I have attempted to create
pictures with meaning with the help of light.
Art of Light
The stained glass
works are 8 x 10 plexi-glass panels. There are
five pictures that represent four main story
beats: (1) the condition of Narnia - "Narnia
Discovered," (2) the evil within Narnia
- "Dark Stronghold," (3) the price
that was paid - "Cold Stone Alter,"
and (4) the redemption - "Dewy Grass."
There is also a title panel introducing the
series. As you view the stained glass panels,
please find daylight. Their colors are best
presented when seen in a full-spectrum light.
A desk lamp or ceiling light is too harsh, and
it can unevenly distribute light. Place the
panels in a window during the day for best results.
I will briefly
explain each panel. The first panel is the most
familiar to Lewis fans. It depicts the wardrobe
leading into a snowy Narnia. I used a white
dual tone for a three dimensional snowy hill
effect. I put the lamp post just beyond the
wardrobe inside Narnia. I especially liked the
green trees in the distance. This panel was
my first attempt so my colors were a little
thick, and my lead lines were blobby.
The next panel
is of the witch's castle. I created it dark,
but the hint of light coming through the doorway
made it a bit inviting. I originally wanted
to incorporate the witch, perhaps with Edmund
and the turkish delight, but I opted for a general
icon to represent the condition of evil in Narnia.
I had to do this one twice. I originally forgot
to remove the protective plastic film from the
plastic panel. The setback was okay because
it turned out better the second time.
The third picture
in the story is the crucifixion of Aslan. This
is my favorite picture. Aslan is willingly lying
on a stone alter with the witch celebrating
over him with a knife. If you look closely,
I can see some hidden symbolism. Within the
chaos and horror of the scene, are three crosses
behind the witch. This represents the forethought
God had with His plan. The witch is a black
figure with no face. She is obviously unaware
of role she is playing in her own demise. I
found that this panel really jumps out at me.
The vibrant colors in the sky, in contrast with
the warmer colors of Aslan, make a poweful statement.
Lastly is the
scene of redemption. Edmund and Aslan are walking
and talking in the dewy grass. No one knows
what they talked about, but like us, he is accepted
back. The silhouettes of Aslan and Edmund are
placed against the rising sun and amidst the
green grass. The green of the grass represents
new life while the rising sun represents a new
day. In my opinion, this part of the book is
the most profound passage found among Lewis'
To make the stained
glass look, I used a liquid color base that
solidifies over time. It is available at most
hobby and craft stores. The leading is also
a liquid base, although it contains no lead.
I personally designed each panel to symbolize
each important aspect of the story. The layout
and color selection were important in recreating
what image was in my mind.
I first drew the
pictures on a computer program and printed them
onto paper. This allowed me to test color schemes
before printing in black and white. With the
black and white print out, I traced the picture
on plastic overlays. With this line drawing,
I was able to trace it onto the final plastic
panel with liquid lead. When it dried, I began
the coloring process. It took several days to
finish just one, but I am very pleased with
how they turned out.
I hope to someday
work with real stained glass. I would love to
continue this story in a series in glass. I
think these pictures would be great for a school
or nursery. I am now inspired to continue in
the medium of stained glass. The process, from
what I hear, is long and involved, but well
worth the effort. I can think of no greater
means to capture the feel of myth except through
the experience of stained glass