I started painting icons in 2011 while I was a member of the Common Friars from 2009-2013. Our collective work was about being more connected: to ourselves, each other, our surrounding community and the land. This manifested itself as a place called “The Good Earth Farm” where we held weekly services and meals, and grew produce for our community and local food pantries.
My friend, and fellow farmer, Paul often posed the question, “how do we become people who, in Jesus’s words, ‘consider the lilies of the field’?
This became the focus of my first attempt at an icon entitled: “Christ: Consider the Lilies.”
Iconography has since become a practice of more considerations: of color and light, of brush stroke and form, symbol and meaning. I am trying to become a better painter.
However, I do not wish to approach Iconography as an art form that simply follows an inherited tradition, knowledge and practice. I want it to be a creative process, meditation, and practice that brings about new self knowledge for the viewer and myself. Who are the saints that are among us here and now?
I feel the need for new images. In some icons I wish to embrace the traditional forms and image but for many icons the image needs re-shaping, re-imagining, and re-wondering.
I was not taught by a traditional Iconographer, and so to some, I am breaking many rules. There are icons here that people may find theologically unsound and wrong, or for others, helpful and inspiring. I think both reactions are important. My hope is that these icons do what all art can potentially do, which is, to create more dialogue.
By transcending our biases, listening and having inner silence about our convictions, our inherited traditions, or our favorite ideas we can become open to the patterns of work, knowledge and experience we may not have seen in the other or buried in ourselves.
The other may have something to teach us about what we know, about who God is, the world we live in and who are our neighbors. This is the real work of being human and of art. Being more present.
It is an ongoing journey of spirituality, craft, and considering lilies.