January 2010 - Vol. 36
Endurance and Faithfulness: an artist's year-long journey begins.
by Marianne Kantert
Last summer I planned a year-long art series to explore the theme “endurance and faithfulness.” I was looking forward to this project with pleasant anticipation – with a sense of adventure. I purchased the necessary materials –12 panels of acrylic glass, 12 small notebooks, and paint – but at the first of September 2009, the day I wanted to start, I began to procrastinate. This first step was already an experience – getting started was not as easy for me as planning something.
A monthly plan
from conception to completion
A written journal
of the experience
At present I don’t have any precise idea how I might eventually use the panels, the notebooks, and the photos. For me this is part of the beauty of the project. My goal is not so much to produce outstanding or exciting paintings but to stay tuned to the project – to endure and be faithful, day-in and day-out. Time is an important element of the project, an important part of the creation.
During the first month, after I had painted several portraits on the panel, a woman remarked, “How can you do this – painting over each day’s beautiful image? Why would you want to keep covering up each day’s image with the next one?” She was quite upset about it. I realized that for me the important thing was the goal I had set out to accomplish and the freedom to let go of my attachment to these images, and to consider how I perceive what is seen and unseen. All of my daily paintings are still there on each month’s panel, even though I cannot see them anymore or show them to anyone. I don’t need them to be visible to know they are there. I can let go of wanting all of them to be visible.
The hidden beauty
of endurance and faithfulness
I have now completed four months out of twelve, and I have managed not missing a day, even if some day’s paintings were only short 5 to 12 minute sketches. This daily exercise feels right to me. In the process I am learning a lot about endurance and growing in skill and competence. I’m also learning a lot about the practice of daily faithfulness. It’s hard work, sometimes fun and sometimes not, but it is strengthening. I’m learning a lot about myself: my limits, my strengths, my interests, and my ability to focus and stay the course.
Endurance and faithfulness – gifts and strengths for daily life. Thanks be to God who calls us to these.
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