Saturday, October 4, 2014


Ah, we received much needed rain these past few days. After an almost precipitation-free September, it is good for the skies to open up. Today looks like an late November day where the trees are yellowed, the sky is grey and cloudy. Let's not skip over October's foliage.

The effect of wearing priestly clerics is rather awesome. Last week, I stopped at the health club after saying a mass at a local nursing home. It was as if everyone was congratulating me because they have only seen me in gym wear. The basic black still communicates something deep.

I also wore clerics on the subway on my way to church. A few more strangers began conversations and were exceedingly kind to me. It is amazing those who will go out of their way to say something kind.

Later in the day I was taking photographs of the foliage while wearing clerics. The camera and clerics made me very approachable. I realize how seldom I see priests in clerics in Boston anymore. The wearing of the clerics still has a tremendous effect upon the faithful and the general public.

I'm very happy to be singing again. On the subway, I notice that I am humming many of the Arabic songs I learned in Jordan, but right now we are practicing for our Advent concert. This chorus is a far cry from our Ammani choir. These past years, the real Christmas gift has been performing in concerts as a gift to the people of God.

Classes are going well and I'm learning a great deal. We are drawing contour images in one of the classes. We also progressed through geometric images. I can see that all these techniques work as fundamentals. The painting class is also going well as I'm understanding more about color mixing and matching and acquiring new techniques.

Regarding art, many questions are being raised.

Many people are painting in abstract. They say that they can't do faces or robes or landscapes so they paint in abstract. I wonder what that is about. I would imagine that drawing and painting in realist methods are the primary ways of learning to be an artist. Wouldn't you learn realism first and then loosen it up to paint in abstractions?

Then I wonder if painting is simply choosing which paint to apply on canvas. It seems that is what some of my colleagues are doing. They point out a tree that looks like a rock and they spend a lot of time reworking their craft. I have to be patient as I seek to understand what they are doing.

Many seem fascinated by greys and blacks. These colors do not lift me up but so many people are painting with those colors. Colors that I find dark and dreary seem to be the rage. I don't think I can ever go that route, but I do wonder why current artists are attracted to it.

It raises for me the question: Am I painting for myself or for others? I think a delicately balanced answer is needed because an artist wants to move his or her work so it needs an appeal value. Some colleagues want to paint on enormous canvasses, which limits their commercial value because few people have that amount of wall space available for a painting. These pieces are available for the corporate world.

A professor the other day spoke about drawing with paint versus painting. Her explanation was satisfactory, but I still want to ponder the distinction. In a world where there are rules and then there are no rules where any technique can be used, is there anything wrong with drawing with paint? I don't have the answer. I just see distinctions that are meaningful to me at the moment.

Last night I went to the First Friday Arts Festival and gazed upon many pieces of art. I'm learning what I like and do not like and I'm seeing techniques behind the finished product. Preference is the defining rule.

As I play with painting, I wonder who I am? I certainly like brighter colors that have an impressionist style to them. Smaller canvasses seem more prudent to the way I want to paint right now. I have not developed a technique that works to my advantage and I can see the way that I will evolve is still not captured in the way that others are producing their art. It is a great process of self-discovery. It helps me bring down my illusions so I can see what is possible in the next steps.

I had a terrific conversation with an artist and art educator. I liked the way he and his studio partner brought in moods into their art. His style was close to what I like. As we talked, he said beware of the narcissists in the art world because there are many. I've discovered that already. He has sound and prudent advice all around. Some of it goes back to the question I was drawing at earlier. Is art merely to please the artist (and is that narcissistic?) or is it designed to please others? There does have to be a balance it seems. I want my art to be like my homilies. They are there to move and inspire people.

Oh well, another leg of the journey.

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