Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Many thanks and warmest wishes to all of you who have followed my art journey on Grander Joy of Spirit in 2009. God bless and I'm wishing you much joy on Christmas and during holiday time! More to come soon!

Friday, December 18, 2009

My Visit with Mary Magdalene

A mother and her two children in front of the reliquary

Newly renovated stained glass windows at St. Thomas Aquinas church
the French relic of Mary Magdalene positioned atop a limousine for the outdoor procession
both relic and priests were escorted by bagpipers in front...
...and a mariachi band behind them

worshippers carried religious banners and images through the streets of Brooklyn

after the outdoor procession one of the French priests assisted with the dedication service
as the Knights of Columbus, congregation, and guests looked on
and while a soloist led a gorgeous rendition of "Jerusalem" upstairs in the sanctuary...
...the mariachi band simultaneously celebrated at a coffee and cake reception downstairs

and Madonna and Child were placed in a position of honor during it all

It may not be everyone's tradition to venerate the relics of saints, and forgive me also if I miss aspects of it which are of special significance to you if it is your own religious tradition, but I was so taken with this joy-filled, reverent celebration over the first visit of a relic of Mary Magdalene to this country from southern France! It was so special for me in fact, that I have had to digest it for weeks before I could cull my photos of it's procession, just to try to share with you in pictures what it was like to be there in person in November when this relic came with several priests from Frejus-Toulon, France to St. Thomas Aquinas Church in my neighborhood.

If sometimes it is unfair in life, and it's not until after we are gone that someone sees how special we were; if it crosses cultures to try to answer just one celebration in our memory; if it's just centuries later, and it's Brooklyn, New York, then my visit with Mary Magdalene was huge in it's importance and its influence only on Mona Conner. If it was just me, I was joined by hundreds of others who paid respects to her as well. And if you were there, it was hard after just one day's visit to see the wonderful celebration come to an end and the relic packed for it's next location on it's tour around the U.S. It's not only Catholics or specific religions who are impacted by saints. They are still being created today, and they walk among us.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

White Madonna & Child Niche, Aix-en-Provence, progress

36" x 24", further progress with my pastel on Wallis paper

I made some further progress on Wallis paper and I'm feeling better about it, but still exploring options.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

White Madonna & Child Niche, Aix-en-Provence

two views of the 36" x 24" pastel-in-progress on Wallis paper

Experimentation is an important aspect of being an artist. I've made a start on the white Madonna and Child on a pastel surface that is new to me, Wallis paper, and I'm struggling a bit to get used to it since I'm learning that it has a more abrasive, less smooth texture than La Carte, and it doesn't 'grab' the pastel in the same way. I also wound up showing more of the Madonna than I had plotted out, simply because it was such a large sheet.

In reading about these two pastel surfaces, I learned that Wallis paper has an abrasive made with white aluminum oxide, while La Carte is coated with finely ground vegetable flake and cork, giving it a more velvety feel to the touch.

If can locate some La Carte tomorrow, I may start another version, cropped as originally planned. I'll probably give both versions a whirl until I see what feels the most comfortable to me for this subject matter.