Integrating art into prayer
If you have been looking at the July offerings by the Providence Spirituality & Conference Center, you will know that I am offering a retreat entitled “Journey with the Spirit through Art.” As you might guess from the title, the retreat will integrate art into the participants’ prayer journey.
About two weeks ago, I began pondering the ideal schedule for the retreat. I made multiple attempts to map out the ideal outline – these activities, those supplies, this time to work, that time to share, and lots of time for silent reflection. But I soon realized that my most basic question had to be – what do I really want to offer those who come?
During these same two weeks, I have been creating a few new art pieces. I am doing this because I have been asked to contribute some pieces to the Providence Associate silent auction, held in conjunction with their upcoming annual meeting. Now, I am a dabbler in art, with no formal art training. Yet, over the years, I have created quite a few pieces that I really like, pieces with energy; pieces which observers tell me draw them in; pieces with “soul,” so to speak. And over the same years, I have noticed that the “soul pieces” were created in a short amount of time, starting with no specific image in mind. I simply began with a mark of a pencil or a swipe of color and let each such mark tell me what the next one should be and what image wanted to emerge. I call this “process art” because the emphasis is on the doing of the art, not in achieving an end product.
Doing these two tasks simultaneously has led me to see more distinctly the analogy of “process art” and the work of the Spirit. I certainly do my best art when I let myself be led by some inner eye that seems to guide my next move. And, likewise, I do my best living, grace-filled and energetic living, when I let myself be led by the Spirit, my soul’s inner eye. Practicing “process art” continually calls me to a renewed commitment to “process living,” being attentive to the present and letting the present guide me into the future, at least to the next step into the future.
And so back to the retreat – my goal is to offer participants opportunities to do “process art” and with it, suggestions on how to let it guide them in identifying what they yearn for and how the Spirit is leading them to respond. I will also offer blocks of silent time for reflection and some shorter times for group sharing.
I invite you who are reading this blog to become a participant and journey into God with art. Learn more about the retreat here.