Stations of the Cross: the Weight of Dust
My eBook, Stations of the Cross: the Weight of Dust, is now available in the Kindle Store for download on any Kindle device, including the Kindle App on iPad and iPhone. This is the book that made me understand what it is to be an artist and expanded my understanding of the Jesus of scripture and Christian tradition. The next installation of the tiles themselves is at Eastern Mennonite University on April 14 -16.
Thanks to Martin Pigg, my editor, the book is formatted well and includes my poems and the excellent photos of the clay tiles by Ellen M. Martin.
God Shining Through
When I create a graphic image, it precedes the experience. The experience that followed the creation of this image was very dramatic and very human.
We can try to put God in a box. God still shines into our circumstances.
I was trying to connect by phone with my brother in South Carolina in the Veterans Home where he moved several months ago when he could no longer remain in the home he had built and loved. He suffers from dementia and is in and out of awareness. After a series of questions to which he answered “yes”, I spoke a question that I thought he would have to answer with more than one word. “Rich, what’s the best thing that has happened to you today?” There was a long silence and then in a strong deep voice he answered, “GOD”.
One word is all he needed. In it he spoke of whatever had brought him into the experience of God’s love “today”, but also of many years of attention to his faith and many people who have showed God’s love and care. In all he has lost, he still has “God” as his best “happening” in his life.
God can’t be shut up in a box. In difficult situations that seem to box us in or box God out, God keeps shining. I am thankful that my brother has people, places, and things that help God keep shining. I’m glad he reminded me that the best thing that has happened to me today is “God”.
The image God Shining is the artist’s effort. To use it, send me a message.
In my visual work I often use the circle to speak of soul. This image grew out of reading a Bonhoeffer quote in Christian Wiman’s recent book, My Bright Abyss: It will be the task of our generation not to seek ‘great’ things, but to save and preserve our souls out of the chaos, and to realize that it is the only thing we can carry as a ‘prize’ from the burning building.
There are two souls in the image, the yearning human and the very present God.
Thanks for respecting the artist and seeking permission to use.
I was at my chiropractor’s office, waiting, which doesn’t happen often. I noticed the carpet, picked up my cell phone camera and took a picture of it. I liked the colors and the texture. With my graphic app I drew a circle that echoed the green in the carpet. I applied a border in the same color. The yellow of the carpet became other graphic program brush stokes, and I added text without much thought but with great satisfaction. At home I was greeted by my extrovert son who alerted me to a Susan Cain Ted Talk on her work with the world of introverts, which my son knows I am. I immediately bought her book “Quiet” remembering the satisfaction of the graphic composition and its word “quiet”. It proved a life giving connection. I hope someday she reads and sees my little story because her book has given me many moments of joyous insight as I skipped around the book finding and honoring my life story.
Part of the series, Exile and Healing. Last one…maybe. :0)
Feel free to ask if you would like more information about the series.
Quiet is Golden
More of us should try it. If you wish to use this, let the artist know:ME. :0)
I think what inspired this piece is the cold-hot-cold pattern the weather has been offering me this first half of the year to date. I’m ready for a normal spring where I don’t have to decide which set of clothes to wash in preparation for the week.
I am an artist. Please ask permission if you wish to use the graphic.
Contingency - A provision for an event or circumstance that is possible but can not be predicted with certainty.
I came across this idea in my reading. I was puzzled how to connect this word with my faith as the writer had done with his. Later I was going through some of my stored images, and felt attracted to one that had felt unfinished. I added strong blue lines over the angel form and background and concluded it was complete. I thought to myself, this is The Contingency Angel, ready for all that is possible but not predictable in our lives. God communicates with us in all our circumstances, amid all the surrounding events. We connect to the angels among us by keeping our eyes and ears open to knowing, wherever and however it comes.
This is the work of an artist. I’m happy to share so please ask me. :0)
Prayer — An Admission
I pray, but with this disclaimer — prayer as discipline is my nemesis. I am more likely to slip into a discussion with God unannounced, attracted by the distraction of the moment. A beautiful sunset. A person in need. My own need. So I’m always looking for something to attract me to a disciplined prayer life, and I am prone to thinking I have found the book, the retreat, the method, the source that will discipline me. With this need to be good at prayer in mind, I bought the book by Christine Valters Paintner, LECTIO DEVINA, THE SACRED ART: Transforming words and images into heart centered prayer. Christine hosts a site called Abbey of the Arts, which has been important to my visual art exploration.
I got the book and made it all the way to page 41, “Creating an Opening Gesture and Ritual”. What she wrote in that section inspired my visual skills and I stopped to create the series of prayer images below. I spent quite a long time working on them, centering and adding borders, making changes in the figures, and adding text that draws on Christine’s words. I got busy printing off a set and in other ways exploring this way of getting into disciplined prayer.
I am using them daily…well almost daily. I’m not sure when I will get beyond page 42. For now I’m remembering these images and being attracted to prayer as I remember them. It’s enough discipline for now. Use them as you find valuable. Let the prayer discipline spread!
The images above are ones I created. If you want to use then please contact me. They are free but it is an encouragement to know someone cares. The words with the images are from the work of Christine Valters Paintner in her book as mentioned above. Her website is Abbey of the Arts.