Art as Prayer

July 30, 2010

"Art is a medium for prayer."

Making art on our day of silence

The “Praying with Imagination” retreat allowed time for making art, both alone and in groups led by our artist-in-residence, Peggy.  Art can be another contemplative practice for enlivening our senses and deepening our spirituality.  Peggy taught us how to make bound blank books, which she described as “containers.” 

I made these blank books as containers for the expression of my art.

One of my goals for the retreat was to practice portrait photography.  I wanted to make a photograph of each participant, portraits that would reveal (not steal) a small slice of their souls and spirits.  I find it very challenging to make compelling photographs of people.  It’s difficult to intrude with your camera and still be sensitive to the subject’s privacy.  I’m sure I tread on a few toes.  I still have a lot to learn about portrait photography, but I was pleased with the way I captured the depth of character of some of my retreat colleagues.

My “final” art project was a slide show of photos documenting my experiences during the week-long retreat.  I presented it after our farewell banquet.  But I wanted to explore painting and drawing, too, and I did find some time to do some sketches and watercolor paintings.

My watercolor paintings

Ink drawing from one of my flower photos

Painting copied from a favorite print and another ink drawing

More sketches

I was so inspired by my fellow artists.  Here is some of their spectacular work:

Peggy's handmade book

Rose's calligraphy and handmade books

Anna's calligraphy and handmade books

A page from Barbara's Journey Daybook