How an Artist can Seek Creativity and Inspiration

4 04 2011

Nearly every artist I meet acknowledges a need for inspiration to guide creativity. The application of every stroke of charcoal or paint must be guided by a picture in the mind of the artist of what he is aiming to create. Sometimes the creation of the work of art involves a carefully thought out, obviously reasoned approach and sometimes it is or more intuitive and spontaneous. However, as long as the process is the realization of an idea and not just a random process without any thought of what the result will be (as with a chimpanzee throwing paint at a canvas) then the artists is employing his intellect and is making decisions about the form he creates. Artists need inspiration in both the formation of the original ideas; and in the decisions about how it will be best achieved. Read the rest of this entry »





Praying with the Cosmos – the Ancient Treasury of the Divine Office I

23 02 2011


An ancient beautiful prayer that leads us to joy, and opens us up to inspiration and creativity; part 1, part 2 here
The Divine Office (also called the Liturgy of the Hours), is one of the four pillars of the spiritual life of the new liturgical movement. This is the first in a regular series that highlight the riches of the the liturgy of the Church and how it is at the root of Western culture.

‘The Mass is a precious jewel and that jewel has its setting, which is the Divine Office. The Divine Office also has its setting, which is the cosmos.’ Read the rest of this entry »





Discerning My Vocation as an Artist

21 05 2010


How I came to be doing what I always dreamed of
I have had e-mails from people asking how they can become an artist. One response to this is to describe the training I would recommend for those who are in a position to go out and get it. I have done this here. However, this is only part of it (even if you accept my ideas and are in a position to pay for the training I recommend). It was more important for me first to discern what God wants me to do. I did not decide to become an artist until I was in my late twenties (I am now 47 in case you were wondering!).  That I have been able to do so is, I believe, down to inspired guidance. Read the rest of this entry »





The Dynamic of Prayer with Baroque Sacred Art

22 04 2010

Have you ever had the experience of walking into an art gallery and being struck by a wonderful painting on the far side of the room. You are so captivated by it that you want to get closer. As you approach it, something strange happens. The image goes out of focus and dissolves into a mass of broad brushstrokes and unity of the image is lost. Then, in order to get a unified picture of the whole you have to recede again. The painting is likely to be an Old Master produced in the style of the 17th-century baroque, perhaps a Velazquez, or a Ribera, or perhaps later artists who retained this stylistic effect, such as John Singer Sargent. Read the rest of this entry »





The Path to Heaven is a Triple Helix…

19 04 2010

…And it passes through an octagonal portal. Liturgy, the formal worship of the Church – the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours – is the ‘source and summit of Christian life’. We are made by God to be united with him in heaven in a state of perfect and perpetual bliss, a perfect exchange of love. All the saints in heaven are experiencing this and liturgy is what they do. It is what we all are made to do; this how it is the summit of human existence. Our earthly liturgy is a supernatural step into the heavenly liturgy, this unchanging yet dynamic heavenly drama of love between God and the saints; and the node, the point at which all of the cosmos is in contact with the supernatural is Christ, present in the Eucharist. It is more fantastic than anything ever imagined in a sci-fi drama. There is no need to watch Dr Who to see a space-time vortex, when I take communion at Mass (assuming I am in the proper state of grace) I pass through one. And there’s no worry about hostile aliens, that battle is fought and won. Read the rest of this entry »





Creativity in Science through Beauty

11 04 2010

Liturgical science?

In the Canticle of Daniel, chanted on Lauds Sunday Week 1and all feast days in the Divine Office, all of creation is called to give praise to God. The frosts hail and snow, wind and rain and all the other inanimate aspects of creation listed in this canticle do not give praise to God literally, but through their beauty they direct our praise to God. The cosmos is made for us. Through it, we perceive the Creator. In this sense the whole of Creation is ordered liturgically, in that it directs us to God and we give Him thanks, praise and glory. That thanks and praise of man is expressed most perfectly in the liturgy.

Well it seems that we could modify this canticle in accordance with the discoveries of particle physics, perhaps adding the line: ‘Oh you multiplets of hadronic particles, give praise to the Lord. To Him be highest glory and praise forever.’ Read the rest of this entry »





Praying With Visual Imagery

8 04 2010

Personal experiences on praying with visual imagery

When I first started painting icons I was, of course, interested in knowing as well how they related to prayer. I was referred by others (though not my icon painting teacher) to books that were intended as instruction manuals in visual prayer. I read a couple and perhaps I chose badly, but I struggled with them. One the one hand, they seemed to be suggesting some sort of meditative process in which one spent long quiet periods staring at an icon and experiencing it, so to speak, allowing thoughts and feelings to occur to me. Being by nature an Englishman of the stiff-upper-lip temperament (and happy to be so) I was suspicious of this. I had finally found a traditional method of teaching art that didn’t rely on splashing my emotions on paper, and here I was being told that in the end, the art I was learning to produce was in fact intended to speak to us through a heightened language of emotion. Furthermore, the language used to articulate the methods always seemed to employ what struck me as pseudo-mystical expressions and which,  I suspected, were being used to hide the fact that they weren’t really saying very much. Read the rest of this entry »