I began painting regularly in 1998, as a form of Art as Meditation, which was a daily requirement in the doctoral of ministry program I participated in and graduated from at the University of Creation Spirituality, in Oakland, CA, founded by theologian Matthew Fox. My first Art as Meditation course was taught by Adriana Diaz, author of Freeing the Creative Spirit – Drawing on the Power of Art to Tap the Magic and Wisdom Within.
Something about the hands on and “all in” experience of painting resonates with my spiritual journey and the way I do life. It’s messy, surprising, playful, and meditative. Painting and creating now for more than 23 years has taught me that life resembles the artist’s process. You begin with one thing in mind and by the time it fully manifests on the canvas, it’s only a dim reflection of the idea or spark that ignited the whole process.
Painting always stretches my imagination and skill, while demanding patience and attention to details – much like life. As I wrote in a letter to my mom having created a painting for her called Rooted in the Moon, after receiving news of her terminal cancer diagnosis in 2007, “…my paintings are really prayers. Every time I sit in front of my easel, it is in a way, a coming to my knees. When I begin a painting for someone, I start by bringing them into my heart and mind. So, I began by envisioning you and me wrapped in the light of Love. I stay with that image until silence seeps up and the boundaries between me and you and the Divine disappear and there is only One. From that place I let the painting emerge. With each brush of color, I prayed healing, light and love surround you. I hope you feel these things every time you look at your painting.” Oftentimes, a painting I’m working on will give rise to words and poetry.
I feel you slipping away
And I grasp at every moment
Wanting to be young with you again
And now I want to
Pull you close
But you belong more to God than to me
Falling to my knees
My head meets the ground
And I relinquish my grip
so you can
All my paintings, whether inspired by another or from my own experience, come from this meditative place, this holy ground in the depths of my being. I do not sketch or draw out what I expect to paint, but let the painting emerge from the hidden heart of the Universe that we all share. I hope they bring joy, light, love, and peace to all who encounter and resonate with them.