Friday, March 18, 2011

Some Thoughts on the Evolution of My Work: Subject Matter

I began painting simply what was around me... my environment. While in college, living in the country, I painted landscapes. Upon moving to the city after graduation I began painting cityscapes. Coming from a devout Christian home, and trying to be one myself, I had a certain interest in painting religious scenes, but never did anything with it until St. Mary's.

My first religious painting was a large oil painting of the Annunciation, which I painted while in seminary. It was a reasonably successful work and I ended up selling it some years later. I dabbled with religious works while in seminary doing some that were good, and some that were not so good. The reason I started painting religious works was simply because I was in seminary and I thought I should give it a try.

After the seminary I went back to painting secular work, probably because of the bad taste seminary and the church left in my mouth... perhaps also because I was not so pleased with the few religious pieces I tried. It wasn't until ordination that I went back to exploring religious themes - icons.

Icons were something that I always wanted to try, and since I had to give up my art studio when I got married, I needed something I could do in our apartment that did not have the bad fumes associated with oil paints. So it was partly for utilitarian reasons that I started doing them. But also because I still wanted to explore Christian art. Particularly I wanted a way to aesthetically combine the two great interest of my life: art and religion.

Icons helped me learn to enjoy painting religious works for their own sake. Even if were not a priest or in the ordained ministry I would still paint them as well as other religious works, because now I appreciate them for what they are themselves, and as a way to meditate on and involve myself in the great stories and themes of the Christian faith.

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