Saturday, March 30, 2019


All the stewing, panicking, sketching, painting, and crying is done. My 2019 Station of the Cross piece is complete. Today it was hung in the church along with all the other artists' pieces. They will remain in the church nave through Easter, maybe beyond.

In January I settled on an image and started sketching.
As usual there were many pieces that blew me away. Some are professional; some are not; all are full of heart and soul. The concepts and compositions are never predictable. The only consistent aspect is the size - 24x30, framed and ready to hang. Media include classic painters tools like acrylic and oil, as well as sharpees, colored pencil and paper collage. Mine, of course, is done in cloth.

I tried to abstract the idea, and avoid attempts at realism.
We have a "Starving Artists" dinner of simple soup. Each artist describes something about their piece - the process, their thoughts on that particular station and their final interpretation of it. Yep, tears are cried.

I taught myself foundation piecing in an attempt at greater abstraction.
The stories told are simply great stories. Some are carefully composed. Some shoot from the hip. Some are political. Some are historical. Some of us are (ahem) older. Some artists are as young as 11 (and his was magnificent). All are full of contemplation and spirit.

Once I determined the rough composition, I used this paper-folding technique to enlarge my sketch to 24x30.
Here is part of what I wrote:

As I prepared my art piece, I visualized Jesus in his last hours on earth literally lifting the cross on which he would be executed, in the most painful and demeaning way. I remembered that Jesus told his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. (Matt 16:24).” And then, one Sunday morning, I saw youth of our parish in the procession, one carrying the cross. I see them every Sunday, but on this particular Sunday, I paid attention.

My process can be chaotic
Each Sunday they put on their albs, tighten the cinctures around their waists and lift the cross, the torch and the Gospel for all to see. They call us to worship together in a way that moves me.

It moves me to think more about what it means to take up the cross. Many have gone before me, taking up their crosses in a visible, painful and important way. You know who I’m talking about: people like Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa, Rachel Carson, Viktor Frankl, Christine Blasey Ford. 

Applying a facing to one figure

This piece was inspired by Cowen Harter’s photograph, as well as my own memory of this procession. I used cotton, linen, and silk to depict the procession into church, but more broadly, all those who have taken up their cross for me. This piece is dedicated especially to those unnamed and unknown, those who will remain faceless.

I am feeling lighter. I have been making clothes. Sort of a relief. And, yes, I'll probably make one again next year. It has become my lenten practice. It is (now) a given that I will stew, panic, sketch, paint and cry. That's a pretty good fit for Lent.