Saturday, July 27, 2013

Day Six: Seven Posts in Seven Days

I love art. Once upon a time I had planned to be an art therapist. It was a solid excuse to take oodles of art classes but avoid majoring in art history. It is hard to draw or paint with children around the house, but maybe someday I will find the time to pick it back up again. I certainly was not a master, but I love painting and sketching. Not oil paints. I find that I'd rather it dry quicker than that, but acrylic and pencil are my mediums.

I think I love art museums more than I love to draw or paint. There are some intense emotions to be found on those hallowed grounds. Today I was missing being able to sit and sketch (unfortunately, the link above seems embarrassing to me now. I needed to keep practicing to improve. My painting has evolved a bit since that album, but not the pencil. Yikes. I am a phenom when it comes to staying in the lines of my children's coloring books. Watch out, y'all.)

Once I went to confession, and the priest hearing confessions and I really did not get along well, but fortunate for me, there was a screen between us! When it came time to give me penance, he asked me what I loved to do. I told him I loved to draw. My penance was to draw in adoration for an hour. I cried nearly the entire time, and it changed the way I thought about prayer. While I taught Totus Tuus, I often told the kids that God gave us the voices we had to praise him so good or bad, we better let him hear it. (If you have never been to daily Mass during Totus Tuus, it is the most remarkable thing to hear all of those children singing their hearts out. There may or may not be bribery involved.) It had never occurred to me to use my talents to communicate with God. So I do.

I am excited about returning to perpetual adoration, as I mentioned yesterday. I will probably go pick up a fresh notebook and some pencils, because I have some praying to do!

On a related note, I thought I would share my favorite paintings with you. They are not religious in nature, but it is truly beautiful to recognize the talent God puts in our hands.

Chuck Close
Self Portrait

If you ever want to read about overcoming adversity, read about Close. His story is just darn fascinating. I am in awe of his work. 

Ivan Albright
That Which I Should Have Done I Did Not Do

Trust. There are two things that I would begrudgingly live in Chicago for: this pizza place near the Art Institute and this painting. The photo does not do it justice. I got to show this and a few other paintings of his to my parents a few years ago and it was the closest thing to a pilgrimage I have ever been on. If I had an entire day to stare at it I would. His work is remarkable.

Van Gogh
Starry Night

Yep. It is cliche', but I don't care. My very first trip to an art museum was to the one in Kansas City, and they have a small Van Gogh and I stared at that thing for twenty minutes before they made me move on with the group. No one evokes emotion with the stroke of a paint brush like Van Gogh. No one. 

We all have talents and things that are a source of joy. Know what yours is and do not forget it. I am not Van Gogh, Albright or Close, but I feel a connection to God when I am using my body to do things He created me to do. Find yours. 


  1. I am sad to say that I haven't picked up a pencil to draw in a very long time, except to entertain a child who was coloring. I, too, am a Van Gogh fan, but the artist whose work brought me to tears was Erte'. (Oddly, that was in Chicago, too!) Art Deco paintings bring me joy and I'm overwhelmed by their beauty. Erte' and Mucha are my favorites. One of the most surprising artists I've ever seen is Norman Rockwell. I had only seen his work in print (magazines etc) but the actual paintings reveal those "glossy" things I'd thought they were to be full of gorgeous brush strokes and texture. I was amazed! Sorry I rambled... it's something that I could talk about for a long time :)

  2. I am really sad that neither of you have done anything for too long. You don't know how often I walk by the sketch pads (only every time I am at Wally World by myself)and tell myself I am going to buy one. I am not an artist at all. I just feel like I need to draw. Stupid, I know. So I go downstairs and manipulate fabric.

  3. Not stupid. I do the same thing. If I had any sort of sewing ability, I would be all over quilting. I would fit right in. My fabric stash would be awesome! Rockwell's paintings are incredibly impressive in person. Photos don't seem to catch the contrast well enough.


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