Community Group Nights!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This upcoming Tuesday, June 2nd, we will be having our monthly Artist Community Group Night.  For those of you who haven't had a chance to make it out to one of these nights yet, I would highly recommend it.  This is a time where we get to build deeper relationships with other artists from our community at Trinity, encourage one another, and talk about what we have been working on lately.  

This evening will begin at around 8:00PM at either Carroll Street Cafe or Octane.  If you can find room in your schedule we would love to see you there!  

Also allow me to take this opportunity to make a quick commercial for our 5X15 night that shall be taking place up at the Trinity Monday June 8th.  15 artists from our church have signed up to share with you some of their art or things that have inspired them in their art, each having only 5 minutes to share. There will be musicians sharing some of their music, photographers presenting a few photographs, poetry reading, a viewing of a short film, and so much more.  You will not want to miss this evening.  Again this goes down June 8th at 7:30PM at Trinity Vineyard.

Come to the Artist Community Night June 2nd 8PM at Octane or Carroll Street Cafe
Come to the 5X15 Night June 8th 7:30PM at Trinity Vineyard

God Bless


Beauty, Uglyness and Splendor

Rembrandt van Rijn, Lighting Study of an Elderly Woman in a White Cap  c. 1640

One of the hot topics at the last symposium was the need to understand the "ugly" parts of life in order to fully appreciate the beautiful.  In other words, there is a time and a place to dwell on the dark, difficult and unattractive.  In our journey as Christians, this is certainly important as well.  We cannot fully appreciate the resurrection and hope of Easter season until we have understood the dark humanity of the Lenten season.  We can relish in the light and beauty of Christ because we, ourselves, are far from that.  

As Kris often says, if he didn't preach from the Lectionary, he would probably stick to the easier (more "attractive" parts of Scripture).  I think this applies to my art-making.  I find that it's easier to showcase the beautiful and maybe even "safe" things in my paintings.  But my goal as an artist shouldn't be to stay "safe" in my work.  There may be times in your art-making where showing the ugly, the wounded, the scarred, the imperfections, the seams, the unattractive... is exactly what you and the world around you needs to see, in order to highlight pure and untainted beauty.

Can anyone think of examples of artwork that is meant to show off the 'ugly'?  Anyone exploring these themes in their own work?   

Two artists come to mind immediately for me: Rembrandt van Rijn and Laura Moriarity. 
Rembrandt's paintings, drawings and etchings are often attributed to being "timeless."  Most critics would agree it's largely due to his attention to capturing raw humanity in each piece.  His portraits often show off saggy skin, and in some cases - very unattractive double chins!  His color palette consists of deep shades of reds, browns and blacks.  Rembrandt was interested in capturing the deep emotions that give way to the ups and downs of life.  And that often meant trying to capture all the flaws.   

Another artist comes to mind: Laura Moriarity.  Laura builds up layers and layers of wax (which gets to be pretty expensive).  She covers up all of her colors and patterns and eventually scrapes it all off to make very 'ugly' installations.  Then, she'll shave off parts of the works to showcase the rings of colored wax beneath.  It's fascinating.  And I think it's a great example of purposefully making ugly art that makes you squeal with delight at the little spots of beauty.  It's magical.  And it's lavish.  Here's a video of her at work:

As we create in the last few days of the Easter season, let us be challenged to think about the beauty and splendor of God, without avoiding or forgetting the contrast of our own uglyness.  And as Jeff put it so well: "We get to marvel at the Good Creation through the effort of ordinary artists who are here among our community.  God is good.  He delights when we share with one another."  The good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly.  


The Artists Library

The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript that dates to somewhere around 800A.D. by Irish monks in tough times. We're kinda doing what they are doing. Ok. Not really. 

Yep.  We have established a resource library out of my office in trinity for our little community.  You can access books, film, cd's, novels, etc. by dropping in during my office hours.
 Inspiration takes cues and triggers.  We know that by seeing other people's artistic efforts we can draw on their expressions and sometimes be so moved to act in response.  

It's also important for us, as a friend of mine recently pointed out, to know the "classics" peripheral to our discipline.  A library is a great place to begin familiarizing yourself with these "classics".  

If you are a painter, consider the efforts of the writer.  If you are a writer consider the efforts of the musician.  If you are an architect, consider the work of a dancer and so forth.  There is something about witnessing someone's process outside your own that allows you to be inspired without the natural temptation of competition entering into the experience.  Sometimes I look at paintings in a museum and I honestly get irritated by a feeling of competition.  Where does that spirit come from?  I tell you it hinders my ability to accept their gift of expression that rests before my eyes.  I know when I sit in a Symphony performance however, I rest in knowing this is not in my realm of expertise.  That my only concern is to explore;  to be silent, listen attentively and wonder.  This is the power of being inspired by the expressions peripheral to our own. 

We will get the great opportunity of this at 5X15 Night.  We get to marvel at the Good Creation through the efforts of ordinary artists who are here among our community.  God is good.  He delights in us when we share with one another. 


Continuing Community

Thanks to all of those that made it out to the Symposium on Faith & Art last Monday, it truly was a very special evening.  It is exciting to see so many of you seeking to grow as artists and joining in this wonderful community within our church.  I hope you took the time to meet someone you perhaps had not yet met and also that this evening was as inspiring and encouraging to you as it was for me.  To all those who were unable to attend, you were greatly missed, and we hope you can make it to the next Symposium coming up sometime in August.  

The topic of this last Symposium, for those unable to attend, was Beauty and Splendor.  I think this is such an important topic for us to consider as believing artists.  Jeffery Guy gave us some insight into this topic by reminding us about our nature and purpose as believing artists.  

I would really encourage everyone within our community to use this blog as a forum to continue our discussions from that evening, and even let this be a venue to share what you have been working on. 
So with that being said I would like to submit a question for discussion:

As Believing Artists, how does beauty shape your creative processes?

Also I would like to remind everyone of the 5X15 night coming up on Monday June 8th at 7:30.  This evening will be an opportunity for you, the community, to share and hear what others do.  You can read something, act, dance, give a presentation of your artwork, sing a song, but you only get 5 minutes and there are only 15 slots available, so be sure to email Jeffery Guy or myself if you would be interested, and let us know what you would be planning to share.  Remember space is limited so email one of us ASAP!

Trinity Artist Community groups meet the first Tuesday of every month at either Octane or Carroll Street Cafe.  This gives us a chance to further build relationships with our fellow artists up at the church, share what we have been doing, and encourage one another in our artistic endeavors.

Finally, I would like to share with you a prayer found in the Book of Common Prayer, that I think is really quite appropriate for us, in this community:

O God, whom saints & angels delight to worship in heaven: Be ever present with your servants who seek through art & music to perfect the praises offered by your people on earth; & grant to them even now glimpses of your beauty, & make them worthy at length to behold it unveiled for evermore; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Christ be with you as you create.