Friday, January 30, 2015


Endless Chicago winter time means short grey days bookended with icy darkness. The landscape is not so lovely as an artistic black and white photo. As the sun is concealed far behind an oppressive layer of clouds, there are no defining shadows to give our view interesting contrast.
In the endless miasma we see only a photocopy of a faded photocopy of colorless tree shapes and building facades punctuated by passages of faded snow.
photo credit: Diana Wood 2010

Time to get out of the house and go in search of green life and humid oxygen soaked air. I spent a day at the Garfield Park Conservatory with my oils, brushes and traveling easel.
What a relief! As soon as I get some images scanned I will post more.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

my new glasses

I came across this funny story that I had illustrated for SRA/McGraw-Hill's Reading Mastery program a few years ago. The toymaker has to mend a number of broken toys brought to her shop and can't see what she is doing. A visiting child points out to her that a pair of bright yellow(!)glasses are in her pocket. Wow, she puts them on and all the repairs are clear and possible now.
And that is how I feel with my new glasses. Wow.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

what is it like to be visually handicapped

Now I know what it feels like, looks like, and how one struggles when visually handicapped. Although I am not permanently handicapped to the harsher degree that many others are, I am  sympathetic having lived in a blurry strained world for the past six weeks.
I lost my best prescription glasses on a Frontier Airline flight to Denver in early December. No efforts with customer service have helped to reclaim them so I have had to wait until I could get a new pair along with new eye exams.

Meanwhile, as I was waiting for the new glasses I was under a final deadline to finish the series of Old Testament paintings for my church. I had agreed to have them all finished by the beginning of January.  Monday, January 20th was my very last day to add details and adjustments to the art.
This is an illustration for a story in a reading series that was published by SRA/McGraw-Hill's Reading Mastery.
I have been wearing glasses since I was 10 years old. I am very nearsighted and have severe astigmatism. With my astigmatism as a handicap, the computer is very hard to figure out. The text and pixelated forms are not only blurry, but they change shape in a frenzied dance, waving and doubling back and forth. I love spending time at my desktop reading blogs and looking at art sites. I haven't been able to do that in a while. Hence the lack of posting on this blog also. I can't be sure that I spell correctly when it is all wavy and blurred.
Eye of Christ detail from Easter Vigil series.

I painted the figure of Christ for the last of the Old Testament series with this handicap. To do this work I had to stand nose to the canvas and paint very slowly. With my nearsighted vision I can see detail pretty well if I am 5 inches from the subject. That describes how I have been working for the past six weeks, standing nose to the canvas, unable to step back and judge my progress.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Prayer for Artists

From The Book of Common Prayer 
(17. For Church Musicians and Artists)
O God, whom saints and angels delight to worship in heaven: Be ever present with your servants who seek through art and music to perfect the praises offered by your people on earth; and grant to them even now glimpses of your beauty, and make them worthy at length to behold it unveiled for evermore; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

I have been working on this painting for my church for weeks, (actually 3 years for the full project). In two more days I will call it finished. A series of devotional  chapters on each of the Old Testament scriptures are being written by various authors and a professional photographer is being hired to take pictures of the entire project, all 10 canvases.  A booklet with Scriptures and explanations for each of the paintings including all the research references and symbolism that we worked with will be produced for Lent. This project has been worked on for a very long time and will be quite a satisfying conclusion to my Lenten journey.
The face of Jesus Christ triumphant and resurrected is the last part of the project for me to complete and I have put hours and days of time and prayer into this work.

(Here is the last big canvas in my living room ready to go back to the church).

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Image of my New Year's Day

First shiny new day of the year 2015, bright promise gift wrappings of the new year are still surrounding the day.
I am contemplating this image: Jesus Christ Pantocrator (Detail from deesis mosaic) from Hagia Sophia  for two reasons; I received a copy as icon for a Christmas gift from my family, and I am painting today on the last of the Old Testament Vigil paintings for my church. I need a Christ face reference to work from as I finish this part of the canvas.

Searching to express the good the true and the beautiful.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Sunday in Advent

While attending a Christmas concert on the third Sunday of Advent. Sketching the luminous stained glass windows, a brilliant rose window with the afternoon sun streaming in. Unearthly voices singing ancient Carols echoing perfectly inside a turn of the century Neo-Gothic stone church in St. Charles, Illinois. *Drawing with my cell phone app, Samsung for Galaxy Sketchbook Pro.* 

Let all mortal flesh keep silence, 
And with fear and trembling stand; 
Ponder nothing earthly minded, 
For with blessing in His hand, 
Christ our God to earth descendeth, 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

inner eye

"To me, to paint is to practice the "Presence of God" in the process of creating. Whether I have a market for my work is secondary to the practice of the "art of seeing" that is fundamental to my being. I urge you to do the same: whether your "art" be painting, writing, theatre, dance, music-or being a first responder, or a nurse, or an engineer-develop your "inner eye" and create with faith."
Makoto Fujimura  Toward Culture Care: 

*update here is another link to Makoto Fujimura's writing.

Sunday, November 30, 2014



Besides the autumn poets sing,
A few prosaic days
A little this side of the snow
And that side of the haze.
Emily Dickinson

Saturday, November 29, 2014

pale yellow peeking

It is early evening, the sky has been heavy with dark grey clouds all day. As the sun is setting, a brilliant burst of yellow light peeks out from beneath the dark blanket.

The scene reminded me of this poem by T.S.Eliot and as I reread it, I discovered that the time of day is not only the same but it is also October.
The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot
LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
And then there is this part:
The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,        
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,   
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.