This blog has been packed up and moved to The (Almost) Daily Office on The (Almost) Daily News website. Visit me there, resubscribe (if you will) and I will enjoy connecting with you at my very own home.
Scrolling through my photographs this morning (this one was taken Feb. 26, the last shot of that day) I stopped to look at this one. The bright red (or orange, dark reds or golds) of the common House Finch never fails to stop me in my tracks. I appreciate his beauty — common though it is.
I looked at this elegant gentleman and my mind flew to the opening words from our Sunday worship service.
Whenever I hear Father Totman say these words, it makes me feel proud. It swells my heart with the joy of community, of togetherness, of duty, journey and hope.
I hope these words will inspire you, also.
Today I learned that my iconography teacher, Bernadette Weber, has passed away. I will never forget her.
The following is a re-posting of the original blog post, documenting our first meeting.
(Originally posted Sept. 24, 2009)
After church last Sunday a dear friend and I visited the studio of a local iconographer, Bernadette Weber. It was all part of the ARTrails of Southwest Washington Studio Tour (last chance this weekend) but we were on a mission to see just this one studio.
When Bonnie Jean and I entered the studio I felt my knees give and I could hear the force of Bonnie Jean’s indrawn breath match my own.
We knew we had entered a place were holy things happen.
We were surrounded by images of saints and angels, of joy and sorrow — and if there is a category of joyful sorrow, then that too. Bernadette had three or four pieces in various stages of completion, dirty brushes strewn about, half-finished drawings, well-used paint jars, rosaries galore, every inch of wall space covered with color and gold and shine. It was overwhelming and humbling, but welcoming.
It was a Gift to have been allowed inside her studio.
I found myself asking her, “So how do I get to be your student? Are you taking students? What do I do? How much money do I need to get started? When can I start? I need to do this!”
It’s very uncharacteristic of me to be so bold, so pushy (okay, in this situation anyway, I’m well aware that I can be pushy in others!)
But Bernadette seemed to be familiar with my brand of enthusiasm. She told a story of a man who had walked into her studio and shouted, “I MUST do this! How do I start? I want to start NOW!”
“The essential feature of the icon is a presence of the unutterable that flows out of a material form.” -Fr. Egon Sendler SJ
I can’t wait to get started. Would you mind if I took you on this journey with me?
Later, while I was her student, I blogged about my journey: A Journey Into Icon Writing Begins Tomorrow (here you can see an icon Bernadette wrote featuring St. Catherine of Siena, one of my favorite saints); Day One Icons: Blessing, Gesso-ing and Preparation; Day 3 of Icon Writing; Day 4 of Icon Writing; Missing Jesus Face; Day 6 of Icon Writing: I Love My Jesus; and this is my favorite, featuring Bernadette’s spiritual teaching, Day 7: Icon Writing with Jesus; and my last post before I gave my mother the icon for Christmas, The Same Jesus; my next planned icon, An Angel, Raphael.
I have gathered these links together for my own use, mainly. I don’t expect anyone to click through them. But it was quite a journey. Bernadette led me into the very heart of the Spirit within.
You are honored, Bernadette. Thank you.
(Note: I hope that you will forgive the liberties I have taken with the Psalter reading for today. I added my own caps to the words ‘King,’ ‘He,’ ‘Master,’ and ‘Him,’ because when I read this passage this morning, that is how my heart read those words.)
Note: I am playing catch up with my Lenten posts. With the results of the Great Backyard Bird Count coming in, it was a hectic work week for me. I can look back on this day in my Momento iPhone app to see what I was up to, what I was doing or talking about on my blogs, Facebook and Twitter.
On this day I was fielding calls and emails from readers, telling me about the birds in their own backyard or asking questions … which I LOVE!
Also, a little Pine Siskin was found dead at my bird feeders, prompting me to take down all of my feeders and sanitize them thoroughly. Even though it was obvious that the bird had died from injuries, you never know if she acquired those injuries because she was sick and therefore slow to avoid the claws of a feral cat or the talons of a hawk.
A reminder that it is our duty to care for God’s creation is never out of place, especially during the Lenten season.
God’s grace to you, my friends.