Seven times a day the monastery stops to pray. The call to prayer is initiated by the bells, bringing the brothers or sisters in from work, calling them to take a break and render homage to God.
This call to prayer can be repeated in our daily lives though we are not in a monastery. Pausing throughout the day to say a quick prayer in our hearts, going to mass or adoration, praying a rosary, adding one (or all seven) Liturgies of the Hours, or a host of other things. Whatever works.
Remembering that there are men and women who have dedicated their whole lives to prayer – those in monasteries and convents, priories and abbeys – reminds me to slow down. Life is not about getting everything done. It’s not about being the most efficient. It’s about loving God. That’s it. Even if we did nothing else with our lives that would be enough.
Painted during a still life painting workshop with artist Christina Grace Mastrangelo, this was my first still life since school. Painting from life takes on a whole different set of skills to accurately draw what you’re seeing, and in almost every way is superior for learning than drawing from photos which have been already flattened by the camera.
It’s a skill that I’ve been… well, lazy and intimidated to tackle until I found this workshop.
One of my all time least favorite things to do is find objects for still lifes. What do I paint? What will be interesting but not too complicated? What will look good together? I’m so uninspired by the objects already in my house.
But since starting Outpouring of Trust and dedicating all my art to God, there’s been a fire and freedom set in my heart. Choose a Catholic topic and I am inspired because it’s no longer something I want to paint, it’s something I paint for God and for others.
I hunted through antique stores with the idea to choose objects that would describe a Saint (which will be a future topic for still lifes!), and I found this bell. It Was Perfect. Instantly I remembered the bells of a convent, especially how many convents use a bell just like this to walk the halls and wake the sisters from sleep.
Almost immediately I knew what my other two objects would be – fabric for flow that would be a natural weave, similar to the simplicity of a habit without being habit fabric, and the Breviary, opened. Was I insane? How did I think I would be able to make the text look good.
But Christina taught me the technique for capturing the essence of the text without perfectly rendering every letter so it both looks correctly “blurred” from afar (as text does look when it’s this small) and has the hint of clarity from up close, and if you’re really dedicated you could read the whole page.
And it turned out so good. This is the first of a series of still life paintings on the types of prayer/spirituality. If you have an idea for a still life you would like me to paint for you, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Purchase does not include frame.
Staging photos are not necessarily accurate representations of the size of the image, but simply give an idea of the image in a room. Please measure your actual wall before deciding.
Images subject to copyright, copyright Monica Skrzypczak. Do not reproduce without explicit written permission. To use the image in print at your parish, or any other use, feel free to email me with the project and number of copies estimated for a quote on a temporary license.