Monday, March 26, 2007

A story in Adoremus Bulletin

Some of you may already be familiar with Adoremus Bulletin edited by Helen Hull Hitchcock. It is dedicated to issues related to the Liturgy. Helen discovered my blog one day and read about the restoration project we had recently completed. She and I emailed a bit and I showed her pictures and then we talked on the phone. Come to find out she has ties to the Monadnock region and Keene in particular. She was so excited about the artwork and the good news about St. Bernard's Parish that she wanted to share it with her readers. A little story about the restoration project can be found in the March issue at She also is interested in the existence and goals of ArtSolidarity. It is fun to make connections and share dreams and visions with people like Helen, an intelligent, determined, art conscious woman. God is always moving sometimes seen and sometimes, most times, unseen which requires acts of faith and reminding ourselves that he wants us to depend on Him.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Determination...On your mark, get set, ...!

I am in the midst of the agonizing aspect of a commission. It goes without saying that one of the hardest exercises is to make something from nothing or to take something like love and convey, without words as in a painting, its character and quality. I always grapple with the composition and the colors prior to getting in too deep. And in the process of getting into a work I usually encounter the fear of not achieving my desire and of ending up with a dud. After I accept that I may end up with a dud there can come a shot of determination. (One of my favorite professors in college said that if something is worth doing it's worth doing badly.) Being serious and thorough about the composition is key for me otherwise I find that the result is much more out of my control.

After having begun the commission, I reflected on the process (as usually happens) and it struck me how relevant the whole paradigm of creating art and achieving union in one's life is. More than anything, I see that persistence and fearlessness are absolutely key. How can I achieve if I don't push ahead? You know what I mean! We wring our hands over the state of affairs meanwhile doing NOTHING. DOING is key. eg. I don't pray enough. My prayer is dull. What am I to do? answer: pray more. pray better. . . Ask for the grace first, beg for the grace, now get going. Don't delay. Begin, whatever IT is, begin.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The soul of my soul?

I was wondering today about our modern life. One aspect jumped out at me, the miniscule amount of time many of us spend in reflection. I know this topic is nothing new, but I have to admit that it kind of jolted me. It jolted me because I was thinking how intense and imposing modern life is and yet how little we have time to consider some of the deep realities we face, some wonderful and some, well, harrowing. I 'walked' a circle in these thoughts for a time and came back where I was bound to come back to, prayer. Lately I keep settling on the inner life and its relation to artistic creativity.

Can we overemphasize the inner life of man? Where will our deepest longings, our yearnings, our wanderings, or wonderings, and even our cravings be satisfied here on earth? St. Augustine knew from experience that the soul is restless indeed, yet the restlessness has its remedy. Catherine Doherty, speaking of prayer, said "prayer is the soul of my soul." From where do we receive our strength (when there is none), our convictions, our inspirations? Are we truly humble? Humble. Humble. Grasp it. Humble. Humility not self determination. When was the last time I asked Christ what he wanted me to do in a particular area? Asked for his help? Do I trust him with what I am involved with?

Art comes from within. Have you ever heard it said that you can learn alot about a culture, a people by their art? That principle is the outer edge of the onion, at the heart of it is the artist. Are we products of our envirionments or creators of it? And what is the soul of MY soul?