Today’s post is from the artist Robyn Sand Anderson.


In 2015, I created a series of paintings interpreting Arvo Pårt’s “Magnificat & Sieben Antiphonen”. I had interpreted music with paint a few years prior and found it to be particularly fulfilling. I seem to see certain colors with certain notes, chords or voices. I made the decision to try another grouping and consulted Dr. Brian Schmidt, a friend from our previous congregation in New Ulm, MN. I had worked with him on Buxtehude’s Member Jesu Nostri when he was choral conductor at Duke University Chapel. He suggested Arvo Pårt’s Magnificat grouping, which his South Dakota Chorale had performed. I listened to the CD and was moved to interpret it.

This painting is the first of eight and is named “Magnificat”. I listened to the music multiple times, letting it wash over me, waiting for visuals that come from it. I usually see a certain color or two, sometimes an image or symbol, texture or movement. Sometimes I will sketch, sometimes I just start with a color and see where it takes me. One decision leads to another. It involves a lot of “listening” and waiting, but also a step forward and sometimes back. Like Advent. We wait. We listen. We boldly take a step forward. Sometimes it works, and sometimes we need to step back and wait. Discern. Listen. And then we see glimpses of beauty, of light in the darkness.

I am in a book club right now and we are reading “Neither Wolf Nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder” by Kent Nerburn which speaks to this opening up to our Creator.

Listening and waiting. Two things that are very hard for us to do, yet there is great Beauty waiting for us there.