Today’s post is by artist Robyn Sand Anderson.
Painting has become a very spiritual practice in my life. And, I believe it can be for you, even if you aren’t an artist.
My friend, Pastor Kathie Nycklemoe (ELCA, St. Stephen, Bloomington, MN), and I sometimes lead a retreat we call “Art & Soul.” She leads a couple of sessions on different ways of praying, like Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina. I lead a session using art as a way to pray or meditate and a hands-on session where everyone uses watercolors to paint their prayers. The movement of your brush and the swash of color across paper become a vehicle to open yourself up, to listen and to release. Color, movement and texture can speak of the Mystery that words can’t explain.
“Sacred Self” was created in 2012 for my exhibit called “The Suffering of Becoming.” This body of work explored what I had learned from living through my diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. RA is a chronic disease of great physical pain, exhaustion and muscle weakness. I painted four exhibits working through my experience of suffering and finding threads of hope. This painting began with a sense of deep, dark, primordial forest. In the midst of this darkness, pain and sorrow, I wanted to convey the presence of God that I experienced in the midst of my own suffering. Light in the darkness.
The presence of the Trinity became apparent in the steps I was taking to convey the Mystery of it all. Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier. In the center of the Holy Trinity, I placed a small, moving blue and white sphere of sacred life. Sacred Self. I knew God’s presence in my darkest moments and I knew in that Presence that we are all a precious, holy creation of God. God was with me in my suffering. Jesus, who suffered great pain, was with me in those darkest of moments. Finally, God’s Holy Spirit surrounded me and lifted me from my dark forest. In the creation of this painting, I experienced the thread of hope I needed.