“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.”
“Solvitur ambulando.” (“It is solved by walking.” St Augustine)
I spend a lot of time outside, praying. For whatever reason, I feel closer to God when I am in the middle of His Creation. My artwork is largely a reflection of that. Natural beauty inspires me, and the fact that God made it all inspires me that much more. My creativity is just as much an extension of that connectedness as my prayer life.
For a long time I thought I was strange, that I connected with God more outside than I did in the four walls of a church. That was, until I was deep in a research project on Irish scribal poetry for college and learned of the peregrinatio.
“Peregrinatio” is a Latin word that indicates a pilgrimage of some kind, usually spiritual. Come to learn that when the Christian church was in its’ infancy in the British isles, the idea took spectacular root among the monks and believers. For them, it tied in with much of their own ideas about travel — Ireland, especially, is rife with stories about ship journeys and wandering into the Otherworld, the realm of the faerie — and how one’s spirituality was not compartmentalized or separated from the rest of life, but integrated with the fabric of mundane existence. For these hardy believers, they adopted the peregrinatio and would often strike out with nothing but themselves and their faith, fully trusting in the Lord to not just provide, but meet them along the way.*
The act of creating art, I find, is very similar to beginning a journey. You have an idea, and strike out to see it through, often times not knowing exactly what may lay further down the path. In this, there is a lot of trust at work for the artist: trusting that they have the skills to complete it, trusting they will have the time to invest, trusting in their materials, their vision.
But how might the artistic vision be amplified—and for the Christian, the shine of their lamp of faith—to invite God into the journey at the start?
One of the hallmarks of the Celtic “peregrinatio” is the core belief that “you can’t expect to meet God at the end of your pilgrimage if you don’t invite Him with you at the very first step.” As my favored medium is pen an ink (fountain pens), I read a lot about different scribal and illuminating (ex. medieval codices, Book of Kells) traditions and fascinatingly, many Christian scribes made it a practice to pray or speak blessings over their materials before putting pen to page.
How might you invite God along on your journey?
Guest Blogger - Heather Stearns
Heather Stearns is an undomesticated Christian woman delightfully sketching the wilds of rural Washington and gifting others with Holy Spirit-led artwork. A self-taught artist, she works primarily with fountain pen and ink, colored pencil, and watercolor. You can see her latest sketches on Instagram @hsnakeart or buy selected work at her Etsy shop: http://hsnakeart.etsy.com.
Here you will find a mix of encouraging and inspirational articles written from members within the Community of Christian Creatives.