Last year was so busy I neglected updating my blog in favor of being in the studio and making, packing and shipping art to shows. I also read a book, The Artist's Rule: nurturing your creative soul with monastic wisdom. The title for this post is from that book that Christine Valters Paintner references from St. Benedict's Rule. The assurance is that no matter what disappointments or unfulfilled goals are true for me, this year, this month, this day, hour and moment, always I begin again. . . .
Though I usually rebel against rules, the thoughts expressed in the book actually gave me a lot of freedom to consider my inner artist and embrace my inner monk. Though I've never lived in a monastery or been a monk, I identify with the contemplative temperament of that calling. I have come to embrace my tendency toward contemplation and the need for stillness and quiet which enhances my artwork. I have a fresh acceptance that my temperament is God-given and He delights in me.
There is always a time, however, for moving out of the inward mode and back into the world. Last year was the year many opportunities opened for me to show my work in galleries outside my own locality.
In September, White Stone Gallery, Philadelphia, PA, curated Unearthed and Revealed: ancient and contemporary discoveries. This show references the unearthing of the Dead Sea Scrolls and illuminates the longevity, integrity and value of Scripture preserved under the earth. The Signatures in the Sand series, also included, was inspired by the neutral palette of sienna, black and grey sand that appeared briefly then washed away leaving impermanent brush strokes revealed on the shore at Flagler Beach, FL. I embraced their beauty and imagined them saying to me: listen, simplify and appreciate the uniqueness of every moment in time.
Concurrently, my Alma Mater, Manchester University, N. Manchester, IN hosted a combined show of three series of mixed media images titled, Visual Renderings of the Word. The artwork was hung alongside the display of sculptural crèche scenes from the university’s collection which complemented the Biblically inspired paintings and brought a spiritual presence on campus.
With these shows ending in January, and holidays passed, I begin again with new work. I've been in the studio since January 3, but am struggling with the work so far. When that happens I know I just have to keep painting and let it happen. Perhaps going inward again in contemplation will bring fresh inspiration and prepare me for the work yet to come in the new year.