This photo is of my grandmother on my mother’s side.  The baby is my uncle and the little girl is my mother. My uncle is the only one left alive from this image.

I can see a theme developing in my art already — I used a wooden board as a base, adhered white tissue paper with gel medium (I really like the texture), then cut the image up in pieces — I wanted to experiment with dividing a photo into separate parts.  This technique fits my grandmother well, as she was never a happy person.  In this photo I almost detect a smile, but I never once saw her joyful while she was alive.  I always wondered what made her feel so divided from herself.

I glued the images down with the gel medium and used it over the surface with a bit of pearl paint mixed in.  I took some silver acrylic paint on the tip of a wide flat brush and dabbed it along the edges of the photo pieces.  Finally, after it dried a little while, I carved another stamp to use as an accent.

As I worked on this piece I prayed a lot with my grandmother’s energy.  I asked for blessings of joy on her now.  I reflected on my own places where I feel divided.  What are the commitments or choices I make that keep me from wholeness?  When I reach the end of Advent will I have moved away from habits of division and toward patterns of greater life? 

-Christine Valters Paintner @ Abbey of the Arts

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