Creation of icons based on the Book of Revelation

The Influence of Mary?

Today was my day for being in situ at St. Mary’s as the resident artist.  What a day of delightful discoveries, friendship, warmth, a commission- even two and a proposal of marriage.  Can’t be bad. I am wondering if it is the influence of Mary whom I have just started working on as the companion icon for the Christ recently completed.  She is a mischievous lady, I have decided but full of wonderful discoveries.

The sun was shining and for the first part of the morning I took my table outside and worked in the beautiful churchyard with robins, squirrels and a pair of doves for company.  But not for long.  Many people pass by the church on the way into town and as I sat ensconced outside there was a marvellous opportunity for many conversations, smiles of hello and good friendship.

There are people who work at St. Mary’s who continually stun me with their depth of character, faith and belief.  Ordinary people with not so ordinary lives: complications, problems, tragedies and much fun too.  We all have  issues yet here  are these people working in this community of fellowship and able to, little by little as they get to know me and I they, having confidence to share.  This has been so good for me too as I am intensely private but have discovered how sometimes just a little bit of letting go of my own worries at times has been warmly accepted and understood and compared to similar difficulties.  Thank you dear ones for being just as you are and allowing me to be just as I am.  This is beauty indeed.

A family comes by and the little boy is curious about my lady.  We have a conversation and I explain about the green sankir on the faces and why the baby Jesus is to be painted as an older child, due to the wisdom of the  Christ child.  They return later to see what progress I have made – not much and they are quite amazed at how long the work will take.  I am brought the best cappucino of the week from the refectory and have  more conversations with staff, one of which was so enlightening and positive I am almost taking off with happiness because of it.

My lovely old friend the architect comes by and brings his coffee and chair to sit with me whilst I work.  He shows me some sketches extrapolated from a fragment of a sculpture of Eros and some incredible griffins he has sketched which would have sat next to Eros.  He is like me, just so enthralled by all the process and the history, the art, sculpture and creative work in general.

At my left appear a recent commissioner for a watercolour – see dear Rabbit Paula below – bearing a bunch of tulips and white roses and a card.  She has been so delighted by the picture.  Her son waits patiently behind ready to discuss a pair of commissions of Archangel Michael he is wanting.  We reach agreement over one but I am unsure of the other – we are deciding between two images at the moment for that one but the work will begin in earnest over the weekend and I am ecstatic about it as I love Archangel Michael and the Michaelangelo which is one of the images he would like.

Another new friend pops by, a delightful Hindu man who regularly comes to pray in the church and then goes to the Catholic church to pray before returning home.  His name means ‘tears of the ice of the moon’ – wow, so incredible.  It turns out he knows my commissioner for Arch. Michael. Then begins a discussion with the architect about the origins of the  Three Wise Men and who they actually were.  The young man wanting the St. Michael paintings  is full of knowledge about them and I discover they were Zoroastrian astronomers. His mother tells me he has a room full of bibles and is in the process of collecting a copy of all the different versions he can. How could anyone not love doing the work I do when I meet such incredible people all the time.  People are works of art in themselves and it is such a joy to discover all this richness right under my artist’s eye.

The conversation gets confused and I find that my Hindu friend is offering proposals of marriage! He thought, when I said I was working on ‘Mary’ today, that I was getting married and he was upset as he had lost his chance!  Dark clouds coalesce and my friends help me indoors and we wrap up the craziness of the conversation.

As I eat my lunch one of the bell ringers comes in and starts taking pictures with my camera so I can use them in my blog.  She is a tremendously gifted photographer and decided my camera was ace and went off taking pictures all over the church.  Falling over one of the display boards she snaps a picture of a part of one of the windows and decides it is the best one of that window she has taken.  And beautiful it is too – here it is below:

God is great!

4 responses

  1. Oh my, such wonders….

    April 11, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    • My dear cowboy Dominican lawyer friend,

      Ordinary people have depths and wonders that are truly sublime. One does not have to seek it out in extraordinary ways, everything is right in front of us. The kindgdom of heaven is already here, we just have to see it.

      Constantina Artist in Residence: St. Mary the Virgin, Aylesbury icon gallery blog @constantina777


      April 12, 2012 at 8:16 am

  2. ray barnes

    Truly heartwarming post Constantina. I have to say your presence on Wednesdays is one of the things which makes my brass-cleaning a pleasure as well as a chore.
    I too think the little bit of the West window is absolutely fabulous. My favourite face of all.
    I don’t know who took the photograph but it is very very good.

    April 11, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    • Dear Ray The photographer took many images of parts of your gleaming bird also! I will post them in another blog. Remind me to tell you about St. Francis and the recovery of joy in all things. If anyone can transform a chore into a joy it is St. Francis. I love him so!

      Constantina Artist in Residence: St. Mary the Virgin, Aylesbury icon gallery blog @constantina777


      April 12, 2012 at 8:13 am

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