When Paintings Become Prayers
Oct 20, 2022
I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God. It changes me.--C.S. Lewis
Can a painting become a prayer? Or can a prayer become a painting? This is my challenge for the 2022 25 Days of Minis Collection. Why? In the last 2-3 years, my work has become more and more intertwined with my faith. I wanted to know what would happen if I went further still. This first began by inviting God into the studio space. Allowing Him to have a say in my process and practice. I found myself asking Him what I should do next for a piece or how I should start a work, etc. I have asked for help in finding collage materials and juggling the balance between life and work. I’ve prayed a lot about my work. The results have been a deeper joy in the studio, a sense of wholeness, more understanding and acceptance of myself as well as a more intimate relationship with God.
It reminds me of Brother Lawrence…
“There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful, than that of a continual conversation with God; those only can comprehend it who practice and experience it.”
As I picked out the images I felt inspired to paint for this upcoming collection, I noticed that they all evoked in me a desire to pray, or have conservations with God. Praying through the work. I got the idea to base the collage for each piece on the prayers that flowed from spending time with each image. I decided to include each prayer as part of the collage layout, which was a very bold and vulnerable move on my part. It is like opening up my personal diary for the world to see. I hesitated with this idea at first. Am I inserting too much of myself into the work? Will this chosen design element work? That’s a lot of text! What will people think?
It would be so much easier to just do what I’ve done before, but I’ve learned to listen to the intuitive pull of a new idea and not let the fear of the “new” discourage implementation. As an artist, I’ve started recognizing what voices to ignore and what voices to follow. While scary and unknown, this idea felt “right,” so I plunged in, trusting my Studio Partner with the results.
As I’ve begun this new collage design process, I’ve discovered something really sweet. Rather than delving into the work with my focus completely on the end result, I’ve slowed down and taken great care to consider how the image I want to paint brings me closer to the Creator and closer to the nuances of my story. I’m digging through the various layers of my experience…thoughts, emotions, experiences, beliefs, laying them out for God and I to look at together and asking Him to help me make it into art. Each prayer and image-meditation has its own tone and mood, just as complex as the layers of myself. It's definitely my most personal collection I've created thus far.
Will I continue in this process for future works? Who knows! Well, I know who knows, but He’s waiting for me to complete this task first. Ha.
If you haven’t signed up for the 25 Days of Minis daily email, you can do so by clicking here. I can’t wait to show you this collection.