Last night I offered the first of nine liturgical paintings as part of a commissioning project with Holy Family HTX UMC. The painting was displayed in the Ash Wednesday services and I had the privilege of sharing with participants about the work and my process for completing it. It was surreal.
All of the liturgical paintings I'm creating as a part of the commissioning will begin with words. The words that served as the foundation for this painting were: "remember you are dust + to dust you shall return". The painting was also inspired by lyrics from music I was listening to, + lines from a Howard Thurman poem about the season of Lent.
The painting was a reflection on the dual encounter that the season emphasizes: our own mortality + the deep need for God's redeeming love and life in Jesus Christ.
The line of color, breaking up the rich layers of purple on top of warm yellows, browns, reds and blacks, represents our mortal lives within the expansivness of eternity.
Music was an important part of my process. There were very few moments, if any at all, in complete silence. The last marks were made to the soundtrack of "Saturn" by Sleeping at Last, which I had on constant repeat. Following are four lines specifically I mediated on as I completed this piece:
You taught me the courage of stars before you left
How light carries on endlessly even after death
With stillness of breath you explain the infinite
How rare and beautiful it is to even exist.
The past couple of months have been AMAZING!
One of my favorite things to do in life is to travel. I am happies when on my adventures-- reading the many rich pages of this book that is the world, learning + soaking up all the brilliance of humanity + creation I possibly can. Each trip restores my hope, expands my ability to see + forms the artist I am, as I live, breathe + work to love well each place I enter.
Throughout my travels the past 2 months, from New Orleans to Nashville, Gulfport, NYC, London, and culminating with time Paris where I immersed myself in art, conversations + studies about the black imagination + the great legacy of dreamers + creatives that are a part of my ancestry --
a theme embodied in the work I encountered during a tour of Studio Be in New Orleans continues to resonate with me:
"I am my ancestors wildest dreams."
This theme that has stuck with me, + has its roots in the MBL activist community. Right now I am in the studio working it all in planning my next project.
I've decided that my next collection will be inspired by my attempts to deeply connect with my ancestors as I imagine new worlds that hopefully builds upon + honors their dreams, work, faith + magic.
Below is a glimpse of what's flowing out...
Last Saturday I led an Advent Encaustic + Image Transfer workshop in the studio. Each artist that sat at the table was guided through a process of reflecting + art making, utilizing some of my favorite encaustic painting + transfer techniques. It was wonderful in every way.
I loved seeing what flowed out of each person at the table. It never ceases to amaze me how people can have access to the same exact supplies + resources, yet what they ulitmately create is unique. There is a moment each workshop I take a step back + imagine what great masterpiece or idea the world is missing because not everyone has equal access to the tables where magic happens or equal resources. What seed is out there waiting... longing for all that it needs to fully bloom + contribute something beautiful to this world.
It was so good to take time to creatively enter into + journey through Advent with others in the studio this weekend. I am excited + grateful that I get to do a little differently three more times on December 18 in partnership wtih Holy Family HTX.
The worksh0p is free + there are three opportunities to join in. If you would like to join, click HERE to RSVP. Space is limited so you must RSVP to attend.
I look forward to hosting + creating at the table with you soon.
"Your life is a sacred journey. And it is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way." -Caroline Adams
Life is indeed a sacred journey.
It is a journey of twist + turns, wins + losses, births + deaths, pain + joy, tragedy + celebration--sometimes all at the same time. About this time three years ago my life was dramatically interrupted with the death of my child who was born prematurely. With that interruption came new questions + a new understanding of myself. With that interruption came a deeper appreciation for the gift of life + a desire not to merely survive but to thrive-- honoring the life of AJ + the gift of her existence.
I found myself naming out loud with certainty + clarity that I was not called to ministry within the institution of the church as a pastor, which I had been doing for almost 10 years. Based on this awakening, I mustered up the courage to be the artist I'd always been—not being satisfied with only wondering about being an artist in my imagination, but to, in practice, live that out as a matter of faith, to be an artist professionally as a sense of calling that I had come to understand in new ways. I’d always pay close attention to my longings and hold my vision for LAR Art Studio loosely even as it manifested into reality, so that they could have room to breathe + expand in ways I had yet to even imagine.
A while back, Jacob Breeze (Pastor and artist of Holy Family HTX), shared with me his vision for a new church he was planting in East Downtown HTX + how he imagined that the arts would be an important part of the life of the Holy Family community. The vision was intriguing + beautiful. So over the next couple of months I continued to pay attention, imagine, share some of my visions for LAR Art Studio with all who asked about it, and I spoke honestly about my understanding of my vocation +, eventually, co-created with Jacob a partnership between Holy Family HTX + LAR Art Studio (me) that I am delighted to be able to share with you.
I am now serving as the Artist In Residence with Holy Family HTX.
Friends, I'm excited to share in life's unfolding with such a dope community of people, as I continue to build LAR Art Studio to be all that I envision it will be.
I'm grateful, of course a bundle of nerves, still living with the questions, trusting the unfolding sacred journey of life as I continue to hold it all loosely + looking forward to co-creating some beauty in HTX with Jacob Breeze + Holy Family HTX + other artists in HTX!
MY WORK AMONG THE COMMUNITY WILL BE:
I will provide time for artists to reflect, exhibit and/or create work.
As I continue to research + study the "fragile friendship" between faith and the arts, I will guide Holy Family HTX into an intentional theological study and reflection on the “fragile friendship” between faith and the arts.
BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR:
1. Monthly Art as Prayer Gatherings:
Opportunities for the community to gather around the table, creating space for art to happen once a month in my studio!
2. A Holy Family Artists Community: I will be connecting, listening to, supporting, walking with, and encouraging artists within the community. She will make space for exhibitions, collaborations, and ways for artists in the community to offer whatever gifts they are stirred to offer that will contribute to the life of Holy Family + the City of Houston.
3. I will help Holy Family support the arts/artists within East Downtown/the neighborhood, making the church aware of ways we can patronize the arts with our presence, resources, and active interest in the work of arts at Holy Family.
4. Finally, I've been commissioned to create nine MASSIVE art pieces that will serve as liturgical paraments.
Our first art gathering will be Sunday, December 18--an Advent Encaustic Workshop. Encaustic painting involves using heated mixture of beeswax + damar resin to paint. The word encaustic originates from the Greek word enkaustikos which means "to burn in." Encaustic painting is an ancient technique, dating back to the Greeks of the 1st century, who used wax to caulk ship hulls + for decorating warships with pigmented wax. Perhaps the best known of all encaustic work are the Fayum funeral portraits painted in the 1st through 3rd centuries A.D. by Greek painters in Egypt.
In this workshop you will be guided in an creative process that involves reflection, collaging +/or painting with acylics on a small wood panel surface that will be encased with encaustic wax medium.
There are three different time options available, so sign up for the time you prefer. Space is limited, so please fill out the RSVP form below before Monday, December 12 to sign up. I will respond within 24hrs. with a confirmation email.
We look forward to hosting + creating with you on Sunday, December 18.
It's Small Business Saturday, friends!
To say "thank you" for supporting me as I pursue my vocational goals + help spread the gift of creativity this holiday season--
I'm offering a 10% discount on all listed 2017 workshops in my studio from now until 12/16/16. Enter the code GIFTOFCREATIVITY
Gift someone you love or yourself with an evening of creativity + art making in a professional studio where you will learn art making skills that will last a lifetime + have FUN in the process.
When purchasing let me know if you need a specially wrapped gift certificate to place under the Christmas tree or in a stocking. So fun!
Click HERE to view the 2017 workshop list.
Looking forward to hosting you or a loved one at my art table!
Lanecia A. Rouse