In the Beginning...

Interpretation of the "Enthroned Madonna and Child" by the hand of Rebecca LaChance, 2013. Egg tempera on board. Original dated between 1250 and 1275 C.E., author unknown.  Also known as The Kahn Madonna, the original is held in permanent exhibition by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Interpretation of the "Enthroned Madonna and Child" by the hand of Rebecca LaChance, 2013. Egg tempera on board. Original dated between 1250 and 1275 C.E., author unknown.  Also known as The Kahn Madonna, the original is held in permanent exhibition by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

A long, long time ago...

 ...in a state far, far away a devout and diligent thirteen year old girl was in her heaven.

She had been selected by the nuns of her small Catholic school to clean the sanctuary of the church. Over time, she was given more responsibilities. Her pinnacle was to clean the sacristy, lay out vestments, stock communion wafers and wine for the priests.

(The girl had little understanding of the fact she was doing the nuns' jobs; the nuns were thrilled to let her!) 

She thrived in the cool air that danced over marble. The darkness from old warm woods wrapped her in friendship. Dust motes sparkled as tiny wings in the rainbow lights of two stained glass windows. And the larger than life marble statues of the Holy Family, saints and angels spoke with her.

Yes, she was in her heaven. Alone. Comforted. Safe. Loved. Accepted.

A thousand years later

I began a search for the best teachers of iconography I could find. Iconography started as an easy choice because the icons are copied. (All iconographers may now engage in uproarious belly laughs!)  Fifteen years of study with Russian Masters and other internationally known iconographers taught me to see complexity in what appears to be simplicity.

Each icon became a visit back to the cool, dark, sparkling space that had been mine. Each icon afforded me the opportunity to talk with the saints and angels again.

Some folks call this prayer. 

Rainn Wilson, the actor, author, co-founder of SoulPancake.com ,  has said "The making of art is no different than prayer." I agree.

14th Century Christ, Egg tempera on wood. St. John the Divine, acrylic on board.  St. John the Baptist, egg tempera on board.  All by the hand of Rebecca LaChance, 2010-2012.

14th Century Christ, Egg tempera on wood. St. John the Divine, acrylic on board.  St. John the Baptist, egg tempera on board.  All by the hand of Rebecca LaChance, 2010-2012.

A goal of Light and butterflies

I recognize I am now consciously taking prayer into my artwork (whether painting or photography) and making it visible to the world. I am attempting to share the light I see, the connection I feel. I want to share that space where there is no room for negation. There is only room for celebrations of beauty, comfort, safety, love and acceptance.

One of my artistic goals for this year is to incorporate egg tempera and the techniques of iconography with my photography. Last week, I reported Jenny Little Krantz agreed to collaborate with me on an artistic project that will use both media. The subject is monarch butterflies.

Here is a photo to tickle your imagination.  The project has officially begun.  Check back every week for updates!

The gessoed board, 23.5 karat gold leaf, brushes, polishing agates, T-square, red bole, sketches, reference photos.

The gessoed board, 23.5 karat gold leaf, brushes, polishing agates, T-square, red bole, sketches, reference photos.

Bottom Line:

Even big creative projects have their beginnings in "start where you are".  Perhaps, in this case, I am starting from where I've been.  In all things creative there is a whispered history of what has gone before.

I am using what I have. While that list of "have" includes brushes, gold leaf, walnut boards, I also have depth of experience. The experiences provide me with a structure to move forward, to explore, to challenge.

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Happy First Day of Spring! (Really, it's coming soon!)

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