Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Art and Soul -Churches Old and New

Above are a series of 5 churches that I just completed as a commission for one of my wonderful collectors.  

I am going to talk a teensy bit about religion here.   I get a little nervous doing this because it is such a personal and passionate subject for so many.   Please don't be put off.   It is hard for me to seperate my art - I paint all kinds of faiths and walks of the soul and I truly respect them all sooooo.........

This lovely lady had written and asked what I thought about doing five small churches measuring 8 x10.
She so beautifully said-
"I know that people connect so much with churches, it provides peace, tranquility, comfort, spirituality & so much more. I also love the history of churches. Each church was built for a specific need."

Although I have always been deeply spiritual and faithful in my own way, I have never been all that religious.   However, painting all these churches along with a lot of other stuff going on, I felt a deep need to go to church this last week.   My husband and I found a couple in the area that appealed to us so I picked one.  I picked it because it seemed community oriented and their mission statement was about loving one another.   After all it was the week of brotherly love here.  
We went on Friday and it was okay... but I really like old churches, I like to just sit inside of them.  This church was new new new.   It had kind of prefab art work and push button candles.  They didn't have that part of the service where you wish the people around you Peace.   I read on their website that they took it out of the service because of The Swine Flu.   Then when we got to the car we got accused of dinging the car next to us - which we didn't.   I tried to stay with my brotherly love.

For Easter Sunday we tried the other church and it was so wonderful.   The choir was amazing!   The candles were real.   It was a small and very old Cathedral and the artwork and the beauty was so enriching.   And everyone was so warm and friendly.   They had the wishing each other Peace part- we even shook hands!
Just sitting in there with the sunlight coming in through these old stained glass windows was an experience. 
Afterwards we walked around the city taking pictures of other old churches in the area and then went had brunch.  What a great day!

Now about these paintings.   Above in this order:  St. Peter's Basilica Vatican City, Rome (detail); The Cathedral of Holy Mary of the Assumption in Siena, Italy (detail); The Cathedral of Holy Mary of the Assumption Siena, Italy (full view); St. Michael's Chicago; The Cathedral of the Incarnation Garden City, NY

At first I was so overwhelmed with the prospect of putting these big cathedrals and churches on these tiny little canvases but I got the hang of it.   I gridded the pictures and just highlighted with a marker a limited number of angles and details to include and that gave me the confidence and focus I needed.  

It has been a while since I have painted structures but it came back to me and was a lot of fun. 


  1. Amazing (can you not tell that I'm a fan :) Your church story made me smile.

  2. Beautiful! We have a church that we found when we first moved here about 6 years ago. It's a beautiful old chapel that has been standing for over 100 years. It is up on a hill and you can look down onto the city lights at night. Gorgeous stained glass windows everywhere and you will absolutely feel the peace and warmth of the church immediately as you walk in. I love it and glad we found it!

  3. They're wonderful! The old cathedrals have an air about them - a sense of being.

  4. I love old churches and cathedrals -- always so stately with their building practices of an era gone by, and often anchoring a stretch of vintage downtown. And as you so clearly demonstrate, they do make such lovely subject matter....

  5. Wow!! These are gorgeous!!!I wish I could paint architecture so well! Welcome home to CHURCH!! I go to an old church which is over 150 years old. It has beautiful stained glass windows and architecture-real candles the whole thing. Its all about the smells and bells for me! Your work is beautiful!