I’m excited that I’ll be leading my “Sketching as Prayer” retreat at Holy Cross Monastery again this spring. I first held this retreat last October, and had a wonderful time with the participants who had a variety of artistic experience from beginner to very accomplished artist and who brought a broad spectrum of spiritual perspectives. I think we were all enriched by hearing one another’s thoughts and by sharing ideas and enthusiasm. I am hoping we can have a similar variety of perspectives, beliefs, and experience this spring.
Lodging is in comfortable rooms that were formerly monks’ cells, and all meals are included (the monastery has a Culinary Institute of America-trained chef who prepares delicious meals). Holy Cross Monastery overlooks the Hudson River and has beautiful grounds with paths to wander through the field and woods bordering the river, as well as many comfortable places inside and out to sit and relax. See the link below or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
“Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.”
(Elizabeth Barrett Browning)
Seeing heaven here on earth and recognizing God’s presence, whether in the wildness of a burning bush or in the subtle budding of a shrub in spring, requires slowing down, stepping aside from our busyness, and becoming receptive for what we haven’t yet perceived. Sketching can be a pathway to seeing, to noticing the ways God is speaking through creation, and to becoming aware of his presence in the world around us. And in the process we are drawn into prayer, either with words or in silent communion with God, and into worship of the Master Artist.
In this retreat we will open our sketchbooks, eyes, and hearts to God’s presence in his creation. We will cover the basics of sketching and some basic watercolor techniques to capture the essence of a subject, whether person, animal, or landscape. In the process we will look with eyes of faith into the world to see God’s touch all around us, as we enter into prayer through the pages of our sketchbooks.