During this time of lockdowns and social distancing, I’ve felt this need to do something to help. Monday, I felt the call to let you all in on this. But let me start from the beginning, so you can understand my request.
Last week, as COVID-19 ramped up in the United States, I remembered that I’d seen a painting in the Accademia or maybe it was Scuola Grande di Rocco (or maybe both) where the artist had created the painting as an act of devotion. I am pretty sure it was Tintoretto, but I have a vague memory of seeing also seeing a Tiepolo.
At the time, I thought little about it and moved on to the next painting. But, now I remember it.
And I thought, what if I created a painting as an act of prayer to spare us from this current plague?
I’ve entered into this very slowly and meditatively. First, the idea, then the next day, an idea of how to begin. I reset my little altar in my studio (a figurine of Mary, a candle, feather, shells, gemstones and seedpods), took the Anglican prayer beads that Br. Tom from Mt. Calvary monastery made and prayed a variation of the Rosary. Then I painted the base layer.
Sunday, the moment morning prayer was finished (on Facebook live with my church Good Samaritan Episcopal Church), I went into my studio, lit the candle and started writing prayers all over the canvas. It took an hour of writing to fill the 36” by 36”.
Yesterday, Monday, I fell the call to let you all in on this.
Would you like to add a prayer to the canvas? I will write them all out onto translucent paper and glue them onto the canvas.
It doesn’t matter if you are Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Wiccan, Muslim, agnostic, atheist, whatever. But I think the more we come together and wish for good in this world, the more the world will incline to it, whether the act of prayer provokes us into action, or by some other divine act or ripple effect.
I don’t know what this painting will look like … I have half an idea of painting a Madonna of Mercy, perhaps to one side with people petitioning her. But it’s not solidified yet, and it won’t be as each step is determined to be revealed in slow and prayerful time. It could end up as an abstract.
If you’d like me to add your prayer to the painting, message me, email me or write in the comments below. I'll need them by Friday, March 20 so I can add them to the painting over the weekend.