As I rest in a pre-dawn reverie a series of images emerge layered upon one another. The first is one of my favourite paintings of William Holman Hunt: “The Light of the World”. The glow of the lamp extends to light my tanned, blue pedicured feet. The thought comes: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119). I am walking the seawall at night. As I look up, stars dot the night sky. Behind me the ‘pearl necklace’ of the Lion’s Gate Bridge shines across the dark water. The stars turn into tiny orange fires from a poem by Denise Levertov. This is how some of my best paintings have come about. A narrative emerges from a series of images collaged in my mind by the Spirit.
This may not ever become a painting. I have more ideas than I could possibly get enfleshed in paint. But I know why I half dream today as turn over again. This is a nodal day; a day I waited for: a rare meeting with a professor about my future after graduation in the spring.
The years of workshops and book study groups that have been my praxis to balance my academics have all but dried up. In this time when I could look forward to planning new series of workshops there seem to be no open doors. My last book study group had to be cancelled for lack of attendance. Both of my creative expressions of painting and writing are mostly solitary activities, whether in the sunlit studio or the dark room and lamp lit desk. These are both my default and my scaffolding undergirded by the Spirit’s inner work.
Just when I will graduate with a Masters of Art in Spiritual Formation, all that I have worked for seems to have disappeared. The Shellseekers Art + Soul contemplation and creativity workshops are my passion. It is not like I can now just look in the newspaper and find a job. The path of an artist is an organic thing. Yet the path is lit for a little ways ahead. I will paint and write. It is what I do. That does not change. A door ahead will be opened for me to pass these on to others I am sure. Faith and fear are opposites. I have a choice.
Life Interrupts Sleep (DS 2015)
The middle of the night again
Life interrupts sleep
Much to contemplate these days
Oh to stave of the desire to weep
The poetic and the mundane
Compete with images of fear and pain
Traffic noises and bumps in the dark
Arise my fair one and see what is stark
A list is made
To empty the mind
Of worries real and of future cost
I must retrieve what was lost
A degree almost earned
Benefits of two decades fall away
A car scraped
An iced driveway
Painting is a thing of the recent past
Writing is slow and creaking
To mask the grief
Of your absence
“The Light of the World” 1851-53
William Holman Hunt