Ascent/Descent is a contemporary interpretation of the Virgin Mary as Jacob’s Ladder. This reading of Genesis 28 views Jacob’s vision of the stairway ascending to heaven as a pre-figuration of the Virgin Birth. Mary was the fulfillment of the LORD’s promise in this passage “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Through Jesus’ salvation (brought forth by Mary) we are able to ascend to heaven, and through Mary, Jesus descended to earth. Mary was the vehicle, the connection between heaven and earth which allowed salvation to come.
My newest Marian painting “Interrogatio: Inquiry” depicts that moment of questioning “How can this be?” when the angel announced the Christ’s coming to Mary at the Annunciation. Mary’s vulnerability before God is represented here by the nude female figure. The grand space of the architecture represents God’s overpowering presence. The architecture also becomes a metaphor for Mary herself, often referred to in medieval texts as the Temple or dwelling place of the Lord because of her role in the Incarnation.
In a similar way, I returned to the shapes and images from my time in Assisi many times. I felt a sense of mystery in the images of rhythms of dark and light. Through drawing and painting I explored the arches of an alleyway multiple times. For me it was not simple documentation of medieval architecture. To me these passageways were like my pilgrimages themselves -a path to something beyond what was visible.
The arch in this painting is called the “Porta Postierla”, which leads out of the clifftop town of Orvieto, Italy and down towards the train station. The road criss-crosses the path of the funicular which is the way most tourists arrive in Orvieto. But when I lived there I loved to use the slower, medieval path.
Since I recently began painting figures on metal leaf , I thought the “Red, White and Blue” exhibit would be a good moment to continue the challenge. In the drawings I leave the backgrond completely blank, allowing the lines to carry all of the expressive power of the figure. In a similar way, in the gold silhouettes I am using the gold for the negative space.
My newest series of Gold Silhouette paintings are meant to be contemporary icons, modern interpretations of traditional icons. Whether architecture or figure, even landscape, my work has always centered on a theme of convergence between heaven and earth. Similarly, these new mixed media pieces juxtapose the expressive minimalist quality of my figure drawings with the other-worldly materials of metal leaf and paint inspired by iconography.
After I painted the Historic Church of Saint Rose in Perrysburg last year, a local family suggested a painting of Saint Joseph Parish across the river as a special anniversary gift. Her parents were married at St. Joseph Parish in Maumee, Ohio. Since they are still parishioners there, she thought a painting of the historic church would be a memorable gift to celebrate their years together. The architecture of churches communicates the eternal, where God comes to earth…
One of the miracles of creative collaboration is the momentum it creates, continuing to create new work beyond what was originally envisioned. After the model session, once my drawing was photographed and titled and shared, Olivia wrote this poem in response to the drawing.
The figure in the mirror is attentive, ready, waiting, poised in the act of creating. Her world is not limited to the objects before her – the mirror, the window, the branch. Within them, through them, she sees more: she sees deeper into a physical world than would be considered possible at first glance
In 2016 an earthquake and aftershocks crumbled many parts of the town of Norcia, birthplace of Saint Benedict, founder of Western monasticism. The Monks of Norcia and their rebuilding become symbols of hope in the Catholic church.
The medieval city of Civita di Bagnoregio is a place of mysterious layers, buildings destroyed by earthquakes and time, where you can see the evolution of the centuries of construction and destruction. In the process of layering new paintings on top of old I found metaphors for both the place itself and memories of it.
Teaching and Art-Making. Teaching and Art-Making: Classical Education Paints A Door to the Past. Recent paintings and a return to teaching serve as a reminder of the past and…
The exteriors of local churches shape the landscape of daily life-about-town, but their interiors have helped shape spiritual lives for centuries. In Europe, cavernous sacred spaces were built for throngs of religious activity, but now hold only shadows of those presences. The shapes of archways reaching towards heaven, the rhythm of dark and light passing through complex spaces inspire a sense of quiet awe and shadowy mystery.
As a part of Park Street Arts, my series of architectural interiors will be on view at Park Street Church in the heart of Boston until October 19, 2013. This exhibit of paintings and prints is entitled Pilgrimage. The one-point perspective which dominates the compositions implies a destination. Our lives here on earth are the journey to that destination, a pilgrimage journey towards God.
The Feast of the Annunciation was moved to April 8 this year, since March 25 fell during Holy week. The Annunciation celebrates the moment when the angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will bear the Savior. This series of Annunciation master studies I have shared over the last months is about waiting, and the expectation of new life. At times this “new life” has been a metaphor for new beginnings, forgiveness, spiritual renewal, but in 2012 the time of waiting was literal, as I waited, in pregnancy, for my baby girl to be born…
On display now at the Ashland Public Library is a series of my prints and paintings entitled Convergence. The title “Convergence” has two origins, and these two meanings themselves “converge” in the paintings. In part, “convergence” describes how, in ecclesiastical architecture in particular, celestial and terrestrial converge in built space.
This Annunciation transcription will be included in the exhibit Compassion: The Good Samaritan, opening at Adams ArtSpace, Harvard College, Cambridge this weekend.
The Annunciation is the moment when God comes to earth – when human and divine come together to become incarnate in Jesus, Savior of the world. The Incarnation, God’s greatest act of compassion.
Appropriate to post another Annunciation transcription today, the Feast of the Archangels (Gabriel, Michael and Raphael). This particular Renaissance Annunciation infuses Classical architecture into the Biblical story of the Gabriel’s announcement to Mary. The painting also shows off the artists’ knowledge of perspective in the way that the artist places the angel in the foreground.
Another in my series of Annunciation transcriptions. The original Mannerist painting was completed in 1546 by Italian Domenico Beccafumi and is currently in the little town of Sarteano near Siena, Italy. I’m not always a fan of Mannerism, but I like the mirrored swooping curves in this painting and the sense of motion it creates, so different from the very still, stable Annunciations of Fra Angelico.
Another in my little “Annunciations from the Masters” series, from a predella by Fra Angelico, 15th century Florentine painter, who was also a Dominican brother. Graham Nickson of the New York Studio School says “the transcription endeavors to understand the nature of the original work.
What is the purpose of “copying” a work of art? Franklin Enspruch phrases it like this in a review of Wendy Artin’s series of watercolors of the Elgin Marbles: “She is at once paying the sculptures due homage, studying them for artistic clues, and using them to reach upward in ambition and scale.”
Somehow, in entering in to someone else’s creation, one often emerges at the other end with a clearer, renewed sense of voice and direction.
I love the brilliant blue and of Mary and her contemplative gaze in the Annunciation altarpiece by Ambrogio Lorenzetti. Lorenzetti was a Sienese painter in the first half of the 14th century and this work of his is presently housed in the Pinacoteca Nazionale in Siena, Italy. My version is tiny, only 6″ x 6″, but I’m looking for the contemplative quality he captures.
My latest studio project is making “transcriptions” of some of the classic Annunciation paintings of art history. The Annunciation has been one of my favorite images for many years. In seeking to make some of these images of Mary new in my paintings, I have taken on a studio exercise which is also a bit of a meditation.
These paintings are a metaphor for the struggle of my own experience to know Christ and seek to become more like his mother Mary. The metaphors in this poem, and others found throughout art history, continue to open my understanding of Christ’s relationship with his mother.
I am really thrilled to be featured on Creative Catalyst Production’s featured artist page. I’ve discussed my process before in artist talks or in conversation, but many of the questions I had never fully fleshed out in writing.
The theme of the winter issue of Ruminate magazine was “Sound and Silence”, and I was pleased that two of my prints and one of my paintings were chosen to as a visual representation of the theme. Sojourners Magazine’s Julie Polter recently said Ruminate has “staked a claim in the publishing borderlands where grit and religious devotion”.
I am pleased to be able to share the completed painting for Saint Thomas Aquinas Parish in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. I worked on this painting through the spring and finally finished in July. I love being able to share my love for church architecture with a living community. The painting has been printed into notecards for sale for the benefit of the parish.
This is the second post of my “sketchbook” from my visit to the Art Institute of Chicago.
French painter Jean-Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940) has always been recommended to me as a colorist, but in this painting “Vuillard’s Room at the Château des Clayes”, I really saw it for the first time. The warmth of the shadows, juxtaposed with the harsh cold gray of the raking sunlight.
I visited the Art Institute of Chicago on Thursday during my vacation for their Target-sponsored Free Thursday evenings. What a wonderful a gift to the people of Chicago city to offer free admission from 5-8pm once a week – there was a line to enter at 5:00 and the museum was packed with people all evening. The new wing is huge, with the capacity to give their spectacular collection of 20th century art the viewing space it deserves.
Cardus has just published another of my paintings in their online journal Comment.
Our Lady of the Barren Tree is an image of hope: the strange beauty of winter, in which it requries faith to believe that trees and grass are only “sleeping” and will return with new life and growth.
The tree, the vine, the branches – these images evoke the memory of Eve in the garden of Eden whose disobedience eventually brought on the exile of humanity from paradise. Eve’s disobedience was eventually redeemed in the act of Mary’s obedient “May it be to me as you have said”.
It is January, and rather cold, blah, and sleepy, so I thought I’d continue to share some images of my trip to Italy in November, as a brief mental “winter getaway”. The Gordon College in Italy program is housed in the convent of San Paolo, one of several convents that ring the perimeter of the volcanic mesa on which the ancient city of Orvieto sits.
I just received my work back from my exhibit at Rivier College in Nashua, New Hampshire. Sr. Theresa Couture did a really beautiful job curating and hanging the show, and I was very privileged to be able to exhibit and speak there for the November-December…
I am very excited about this new landscape painting from this beautiful summer day. The Cemetery is right on the Charles River and very beautiful. It is a very peaceful place to work — and attracts quite a bit of traffic as walkers from nearby offices take their lunch break. I hope to return to complete more paintings there as the year progresses.