Sometimes we turn to art to express feelings we can’t put into words.
I painted this watercolor over a decade ago. It’s titled, Supplication.
For the little children….we pray.
The flowers, the beauty, I have tended and photographed and painted aren’t outside my door any more. Some may be arriving in containers soon…
But, in the meantime, this has been the visual joy to greet me every morning when I take out Clyde, my toy poodle.
It’s on the edge of the yard of an empty house beside the parsonage at the end of our shared driveway. I was aware of some Christian symbolism attached to this enduring, flowering shrub, so, I googled it this morning. Rose Of Sharon
Now, its Enduring Presence means even more.
-Anne Morrow Lindberg
Surrounded by packing boxes in all different states of neediness, I walked out on them this morning. There is more beauty happening outside than I can keep up with. Not that my flower gardens are beautiful this year. They aren’t really. Because of the upcoming move, I didn’t go to any nurseries this spring, I’m behind in weed pulling and there has been no filling in with colorful annuals. But still, it is a thing of beauty to me and I felt like it was passing me by. I had to stop and lose myself in just a bit of it. That’s all it took. Restorative healing is so potent in the garden.
So, I brought some of it inside.
A new feature on my blog will be Guest Artists. People, processes and art that have had an impact on me that I want to share with my readers. Here’s the first Guest Artist Post. Enjoy!
I met Stacy earlier this year during an online Lenten retreat with Christine Valters Paintner. I loved her artwork and her process.
She creates mandalas in two different ways – by hand, mostly using a combination of watercolors, acrylics, gel pens, dimensional paint and swarovski crystals, and digitally, utilizing source images such as photographs taken, existing hand-drawn artwork, or images which are made from National Geographic pages that have been treated with a cleaning product called citra solv.
Her digital explorations began when she enrolled in Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Contemplative Practice. She wanted to find a way to incorporate the nature images she was receiving into a mandala format and began using Kaleidoscope Kreator
Learn more about Stacy’s journey here.
See more of Stacy’s inspiring artwork at a magic mom and her mandalas
For the last 8 years, my husband has brought home left-over Easter Lilies from our church. One does not need a green thumb to have these repeat, fragrant celebrations. Some of ours waited patiently in their little plastic green pots for over a year while renovation of our house took longer than expected. But don’t expect them to bloom at Easter. Their glory days will be in July. Yes, I took these photos or ours last summer .
Some say, Easter Lilies in July? I don’t think I like that.
Not me. I love the symbolism of continued transformation.
I welcome its gift anytime of the year.
Don’t have a home church you can take Easter Lilies from?
Most will be happy to share out of their abundance
I had previously read and benefitted from Christine’s book, the Artist’s Rule and her invitation to combine visual and expressive arts during an on-line Lenten Soul Of A Pilgrim Journey called to me.
We were encouraged to make an art journal and begin a daily practice of art-making and journaling.
We set a prayer intention.
We were asked to create within a sacred circle or mandala and then record awarenesses into our journals.This is more about what is revealed from the process than working towards a pre-determined end result.
Here are a few of mine:
So many people I know are beginning again.
One has joined the Navy. He leaves Feb. 1 for Michigan. He’s 28.
One just phoned this morning. “Let’s get together. I’ve sold my house and I’m moving to Cary in two weeks to start my new job.” She’s 58.
One is adjusting to assisted living. Not able to live independently any longer. She’s 88.
Today, I am thinking of these people, these brave, supple souls, as I mat and frame what has become my favorite image from 2011.
It is an image of a butterfly-weed seed pod. This native, NC plant is the sole host plant for Monarchs. It is the only plant the Monarch female lays her eggs, the only plant the Monarch caterpillars eat and the only plant the Monarch butterflies use for nectar.
It shows transforming seeds being born out of a dying seed pod, resembling hands raised in surrender and praise. It fills me with hope. Hope, I wanted to share with you.
Always, we begin again. No matter our age.
All endings are beginnings…just ask the caterpillar.
My current fascination is the Monarch and its fall migration. Two years ago I planted butterfly weed and as promised, the Monarchs came. The above photo is of a butterfly weed seed pod, which is essential to the life of the Monarch.
I see it as being from ground zero and holds the core essence of a remarkable cycle of new life, rebirth, transformation and connectedness. To me, it symbolizes the courage, unfailing spirit and hope of those affected by 9/11.
The butterfly weed is the only plant the Monarch lays her eggs, the only plant the monarch caterpillars eat and the only flower the monarch butterfly uses for nectar.
Within a few weeks the Monarch Butterfly emerges from its chrysalis.
As I have listened to the 9/11 survivor stories, one of the prevailing themes I hear is, “I see life differently now. Life is precious. The people in my life…precious. I don’t take anything for granted anymore.”
In the Monarch, is the spirit to to begin again, to continue, to be transformed.
Christ is alive, and goes before us
to show and share what love can do.
This is the day of new beginnings;
our God is making all things new.
Do you recognize the above watercolor?
The header of this blog shows it in process.
Because my stats indicate the most frequently visited posts are the watercolor demonstrations, the following several weeks will show the behind-the-scene steps of Clothed In Majesty & Light, No. 9 in the All About Iris Series.
Easter Sunday is the most attended church service of the year. Or, maybe it’s Christmas Eve. Either way, people who don’t normally come to church, come those two times. And for good reason. They’re celebrations.
Not so for Ash Wednesday. And definitely, not so for Maundy Thursday, which was last night and fresh in my heart and mind. One person’s comment, after inquiring and being told what these services entail, sums up why.
That sounds like a downer.
Believe me, I understand. Many times, when my husband has been taking down his black bible and putting on his black suit, I have asked, “Do I need to go?”
Suffering is not my first choice.
During my Lenten journey a few years ago, I painted this watercolor. Each Maundy Thursday since, I bring it out from its hiding place and place it on a table we have to walk by in our home.
It’s the center of a triptych. The other two panels are more torn. I can only leave it up for the day before putting it away again. But, it won’t be put away.
Do I need to go?
In the chilly, early morning darkness this Sunday I will huddle together with others in the Presbyterian Courtyard in our little town to witness the Son rising. We will go out to breakfast and later over lunch we will say how wonderful it was to see so many at the eleven o’clock service.
This Easter, in celebration of all things new, I have a new watercolor to share with you…until then…in confident knowledge, we wait and we hope.