Friday, July 12, 2013

Prayers Without Words Part 3


This is one of the newer pieces.  I had Holy Cross Monastery in mind when I painted it, thinking of how that community opens its arms to all the souls who come there for respite, refreshment, or challenge.  People show up from many places, in various conditions and are made to feel welcome Hospitality is such an important practice - whether it's on a deeper level, considering how we treat refugees, immigrants, "the other", or even more frequently, how we make anyone around us feel welcome and important. How do we support those whose paths cross ours?
Think of a time when you have truly felt overwhelmed.  It often builds slowly, you may feel like you've got this one, you're ok, but stuff just keeps happening and pretty soon, you are buried.  Everything comes crashing down on you.  You might experience suffocation, panic attacks.  Often when we've been through something like that, we at least know that we survive and come out the other side.  We might be able to call out, to say the one prayer we can speak - "Help!"  We might just be able to go limp and let the wave wash over us, trusting that a silent prayer has been heard.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Prayers Without Words Part 2

These hot humid summer days I find myself dreaming of water.  I look for opportunities to take it in, be in it, listen to it.  There is the physical need for water, of course; and beyond that there are all the metaphorical and symbolic images of unquenchable thirst that we experience in our lives. 

When I wanted to paint this thirst, my inner eye saw deep desert orange, hot, unrelenting.  I used to live in a semi desert climate- and actually the middle of the day was white hot, burning your eyes, making you want to hide.  But now, orange comes to mind.  I see this vulnerable self that is composed largely of water, but the inside is as hot and dry as the outside.


We can become dulled by everyday struggles, we stop seeing and perceiving in creative ways. When we are able to interrupt our routines, either through vacation, retreat, or making small intentional changes in our patterns, we may find our brighter selves, the ones we thought we knew, coming out again.
The tarnish builds up so insidiously that we often aren't aware of how much we are in  need of refreshment.

What does your thirst feel like?  What are you doing to refresh yourself?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Prayers Without Words - A Series

It seems odd to write a lot of words about a series of paintings entitled Prayers Without Words, and yet, I feel compelled to do so.  I guess my hope is that the pieces might be more useful to viewers if they have a little background and explanation.

I began this series while on a yoga retreat four years ago.  In preparation to head off to the monastery I decided to add a compass and ruler to my usual art supplies. Usually my inclination is to paint saints, angels, more representational pieces.  But what developed on this occasion was a series of 15 simple abstract pieces. I found myself meditating on various prayer situations, trying to see how they might be  envisioned  in color, circle, and line. 

The completed paintings were very small -  2 1/2" by 3", and I had left no border for framing them.  Over the past four years I've given some away, thought about how I might rework them, add to them.  I've even made some into larger water colors or acrylic paintings.  When I took a painting course at Omega with Jeanne Carbonetti in May, I showed them to her and she encouraged me to mat and frame them.  For the past six weeks I've been redoing the original ones in a 4" size, and have come up with nine more.  The originals were rectangular; the new ones are square.  They are matted in 8" by 8" black frames.

I'll post a few at a time.  I find myself thinking of other prayers to add - some come with an image, some, like "Love", I need more time to envision.  If you have prayers that you would like to see in this format, let me know, and I'll see what I can do.

The first one is Community.  I chose mostly bright colors, circles that intersect in all kinds of ways, big ones, little ones.  There are small areas of discordant color - as there are in all relationships.

The second one  is Solitude.  We each have various needs for community and solitude.  It is in solitude where we find the quiet and space to figure out who we are, what we bring to the community.  For myself, I need a lot of solitude.  I find I get lost without it.  And yet I love to be in full community, too - to rejoin those wild wonderful, sometimes messy circles.

May you know yourself and honor yourself to find the balance you need for community and solitude.