All artists experience the unbridgeable gap which lies between the work of their hands, however successful it may be, and the dazzling perfection of the beauty glimpsed in the ardour of the creative moment: what they manage to express in their painting, their sculpting, their creating is no more than a glimmer of the splendour which flared for a moment before the eyes of their spirit.

Believers find nothing strange in this: they know that they have had a momentary glimpse of the abyss of light which has its original wellspring in God. Is it in any way surprising that this leaves the spirit overwhelmed as it were, so that it can only stammer in reply?

- Pope St. John Paul II, Letter to Artists

Saturday, October 4, 2014

If I'm not mistaken....

... The next Round of Words in 80 Days begins this Monday. I'll be posting my "goalposts" here on Sundays and Wednesdays, although I probably will be reporting my statuses as of Fridays/Saturdays and Tuesdays, or so—something that allows me to schedule my posts and not worry so much about missing deadlines. 

Now here's the hard part. I don't really want to talk about my goals. I like to play it close to the vest. But I recognize that part of the success of an activity like ROW80 depends on sharing—out loud, publicly, concretely. So I'll say this much: I have one particular work in progress, and two "crutch" pieces in case I get blocked, to which I'm devoting my ROW80 goal of 1000 words a day. I fully expect to have to ramp up to that daily count, and I expect lots of days playing catch-up. 

This is ambitious for me. It's a relatively high count for what my lifestyle allows, and I'm focusing on specific projects rather than the very fun, very free goal of writing anything, so long as I'm writing. 

I'm excited. 

One thousand words a day. Starting Monday. 


This summer, as every summer, the fireflies came to remind us to be young and full of wonder. Two of our little ones took special delight in spying and stalking fireflies in the dusk, and if I could draw figures of people worth a darn I might have included them in this page.

Before I started I dabbed a few dots if rubber cement here and there. I drew some of the details in with a combination of colored pencils and watercolor pencils. The tree trunks are brown India ink. The tree tops are watercolor. The whole thing got a wash of dark blue and black watercolor in top and green and black watercolor in the bottom. Somewhere along the way it also got an unintended water wash (somebody spilled something) so there's also some watercolor repair in there. After all that, I took off the rubber cement and dotted the white spots with yellow highlighter and little black specks. I might have gotten fancier with the lettering if I weren't so impatient to be done. As it is, I used a fine point Sharpie for the main text, some alphabet stamps for the stand-out words, with black ink and yellow pigment stamp pads. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My Beginning

None can sense more deeply than you artists, ingenious creators of beauty that you are, something of the pathos with which God at the dawn of creation looked upon the work of his hands. A glimmer of that feeling has shone so often in your eyes when—like the artists of every age—captivated by the hidden power of sounds and words, colours and shapes, you have admired the work of your inspiration, sensing in it some echo of the mystery of creation with which God, the sole creator of all things, has wished in some way to associate you.

More of Pope St John Paul II's letter to artists. 

I've been mildly obsessed with art journals and artist trading cards for a while, rather out of proportion to my artistic ability and training (none, really, in that second count). But in obedience to the creative need that is in everyone, I slowly began to indulge in an art journal. 

Still learning. 

But I wanted to share, because that's what you do with art: you feel some impulse of beauty, you attempt to make it manifest, and then you communicate the attempt. 

Many, but not all, of my early pages are from a calendar plan I had for my journal, inspired by this series of art journal prompts and by the liturgical year. Thus, this page was started in January, the month devoted to the Holy Name of Jesus:

And this page was a spinoff of a craft project with the kids from February—something I saw on The Crafty Crow?

These are the first few pages I will call "done"—several others are started, and though they never seem to be realized beyond that "glimmer" of what's in my head, I'm looking forward to "finishing" and sharing them. 

Have you used the journal prompts linked above? Or maybe some other seasonal inspiration? What did you make? Do tell, or leave a link if you like.