Friday, March 12, 2010


It is good to be thinking of the stark contrasts between self expression in art and icon writing. One of the differences that stands out to me is that the icon writer submits himself to the Holy Spirit through prayer, whereas the artist whose aim is to express only what is in himself serves self and usually can never go or grow beyond self.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Going beyond ourselves

I was recently given a book of reflections of Dom Augustin Guillerand, a Carthusian Monk. Here is one line of his that means very much to this conversation about beauty:

"We must continually look for the essential beauty behind the external beauty of things."

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

"Into Great Silence" a new film that can't be missed

If you can catagorize yourself as one who is searching then this film isn't to be missed. This is a film which is not a 'film' at all in the way we think of films. It is a catagory that most of us are unfamiliar with in which the content, the subject is the writer, the director, with no editing to shape 'a story'. The camera is there to record the process of waiting for revelation of one's own interior to awaken in the silence of life's deep mystery, of the mystery of God and of man's journey to his final hour. I can't express my experience of the film very well except to say that it really is a meditation in film form. You'll have to see it for yourself!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Prints Now Available

Prints are now available for all the artwork you see in the slideshow on in the sidebar. More images will be added by the end of the week that will be available as prints. The standard size for the prints is approx. 12 x 16, but bigger sizes are available, just email me your request. Look in the sidebar for prices and shipping info. Pass the word along to your friends!

Friday, December 14, 2007

A New Website

There's a new website you should check out, its called The Art of Culture. Click the link in the sidebar to the right. This website is trying to make available art, in different forms. It is a jumble of art forms, but ones that will probably appeal to you.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Ted Crisman Art Gallery Online

For the first time I am offering my artwork for sale online. Using this blog is the first step in a larger plan... I hope people will spread the word.

Scrolling Slideshow...
In the sidebar you'll see a scrolling slideshow of my artwork. You can stop the slideshow by putting your pointer on the artwork and clicking the pause button which will appear. You can also see each piece blown up by simply clicking the piece.

To purchase artwork..
Email me at and specify the painting(s), your shipping information, phone number and I will contact you to get your payment information.

Here is a list (as they are appear in the slide show) of titles, sizes and prices. All prices include artwork, frame, ground Ups or FedEx shipping and handling. Please allow two weeks for orders to be processed.

1. Flowers in Vase (prints only)
2. Looking Back 16 X 20 $2200
3. Apples and Vase 14 X 18 $1400
4. The Mill Bridge 14 X 18 $1600
5. A Shepherd's Life 24 X 30 (study) $600
6. Peonies 12 X 24 $1400
7. Pears and Apples 9 X 12 $1000
8. Roses 12 X 16 $1200 (no frame)
9. Pears 9 X 12 $1900

I am also offering Archival Quality Prints of all the works shown here. Prints will be available in approx. two weeks. Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Gap

There is a common experience among artists one I have recently come up against. I defer to John Paul the Great's expression of this experience in his Letter to Artists.

"A fruitful alliance between the Gospel and art

6. Every genuine artistic intuition goes beyond what the senses perceive and, reaching beneath reality's surface, strives to interpret its hidden mystery. The intuition itself springs from the depths of the human soul, where the desire to give meaning to one's own life is joined by the fleeting vision of beauty and of the mysterious unity of things. All artists experience the unbridgeable gap which lies between the work of their hands, however successful it may be, and the dazzling perfection of the beauty glimpsed in the ardour of the creative moment: what they manage to express in their painting, their sculpting, their creating is no more than a glimmer of the splendour which flared for a moment before the eyes of their spirit.

Believers find nothing strange in this: they know that they have had a momentary glimpse of the abyss of light which has its original wellspring in God. Is it in any way surprising that this leaves the spirit overwhelmed as it were, so that it can only stammer in reply? True artists above all are ready to acknowledge their limits and to make their own the words of the Apostle Paul, according to whom "God does not dwell in shrines made by human hands" so that "we ought not to think that the Deity is like gold or silver or stone, a representation by human art and imagination" (Acts 17:24, 29). If the intimate reality of things is always "beyond" the powers of human perception, how much more so is God in the depths of his unfathomable mystery!"

How many of us have this experience: there is something burning in you and you want to create an image to capture that fleeting moment. Such a human moment! As Cardinal Stafford said once in an essay on artists that we are windows through which God's glory can shine through to the world which hungers for the vision of the infinite, the Lord.

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?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Thank you St. Benedict

My wife and I had the opportunity to visit a Cistercian monastery recently. I want to share some of the experience we had.

It isn't everyday that one has the privilege to get a glimpse into the world of a cloistered monastery. One of the most striking features of their world is the unity of vision, its all encompassing power. The beauty of it is the timelessness of the way of life that has been passed down and the intense commitment to the gospel. But in the monastery these things are made into art. Most striking is of course the architecture and the prayer life. The public may enter the church, but is confined to two small nooks on either side of the sanctuary. I can't describe the church well. It was made of stone and brick, very simple, neat, Roman arches, stained glass done by a dutchman. You can go to and there you can view some of the monastery.

Prayer. I had the sense that I was in a place sacred, intimate. We were in the chapel for Midday prayer. I have prayed Midday prayer before, but never with an entire religious community of monks. It was as if all the times I'd prayed it prior were just shadows of the real thing. Their life depends on prayer, feeds on prayer. If you took prayer away there would be no life. The mass and the liturgy of the hours are like a frame on which their life is built. It is hard for me to put into words, but in that moment I felt that I was hearing mother church praying on my behalf to the Lord.

Overall, I experienced the abbey as a huge work of art right down to the dirt which has been fashioned by God, nature and the monks. It has been a joint effort of God and man, God inspiring and man answering in prayer. It is evident, though, that their prayer doesn't cease, but has been embodied in their work. This is the beauty of the monastic life. It is a manifestation of the Church, a rich meditation on man's desire to be one with God.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Keep it REAL

This line from the Holy Father's Letter to Artists rocked me: "Not all are called to be artists in the specific sense of the term. Yet, as Genesis has it, all men and women are entrusted with the task of crafting their own life: in a certain sense, they are to make of it a work of art, a masterpiece." Those last words, if understood in light of the universal call of holiness, are intense and loaded; they are a meditation on the beauty of the soul created out of love and called to love every moment. The connections between art and this notion are rich. What does it mean to be an artist if not one who can express the weal and woe of their journey. Authentic art, I believe, is an expression of one's own journey. Have you ever taken in art that left you wondering what the point was or maybe the work was completely uninspiring? To illustrate this point think of trying to describe Venice Italy to someone when you've never been there yourself. How convincing would it be listening to you describe the temperment of a Venetian?

I'll end with Tarkovsky because he has a wonderful ability to synthesize his experience, his thought when it comes to this topic of truth and artistic vision:

"The striving for perfection leads an artist to make spiritual discoveries, to exert the utmost moral effort. Aspiration towards the absolute is the moving force in the development of mankind. For me the idea of realism in art is linked with that force. Art is realistic when it strives to express an ethical ideal. Realism is a striving for the truth, and truth is always beautiful. Here the aesthetic coincides with the ethical."