Q&A with Sylvia
1. What is your area of focus as an artist?
I enjoy creativity on many levels, but my main focus is watercolor.
2. How did you get started in your field? Who or what has helped shape your pursuit of excellence in your art?
I was an art major in college, starting with calligraphy, then focusing on graphic design (back in the days of drafting tables, T-squares and press-on letters!). But I always was a bit envious of the artists painting in the fine arts department. In my early 50's during a health crisis I sensed an inner invitation to join with my Creator in "play", and for me, this looked like watercolor. I enjoy its qualities of spontaneity and freshness.
3. What are some themes or motifs that appear in your work?
During our years living in Europe, I painted many city scenes. Now, in Colorado, I paint more landscapes. I've also done florals and portraits... a bit of everything! People usually comment that they feel joy and peace when looking at my work.
4. Where do you go for inspiration?
I am always looking for beauty, and usually have my camera with me. Lately I'm especially inspired by the abstract qualities in the natural world.
5. How has your faith shaped the development of your art?
I'm not sure if faith has shaped my art, or if art has shaped my faith. I do find that in the creative process, it feels much like prayer. I slip into a contemplative, right-brain “spacious place" of God's presence where there is an open invitation to enjoy his life moving through me.
6. What role do you hope your art will play in the renaissance of the Christian imagination, and in encouraging and serving others?
I can't say that I have very lofty aspirations, but a dream God has given me is that my work be an expression of true beauty. Beauty is not always an easy thing to see, but it is always authentic. And I think we all can identify it when we see it, because it is what our souls need at the time. Sir Thomas More said, “For the soul, then, beauty is not defined as pleasantness of form but rather as the quality in things that invite absorption and contemplation. Some pieces of art are not pleasing to look at, and yet their content and form are arresting and lure the heart into profound imagination."
In our post-modern world where our lives are dictated and even assaulted on every front by technology, we are sorely in need of beauty to once again enliven our souls and remind us of what it means to be human. With this value in mind, perhaps it is a return to TRUE BEAUTY that will be the renaissance we long for. Perhaps this renaissance will not produce the great stars of the past, so much as include us all, to more fully realize the beautiful, imaginative people God created us to be, in His Image.
I desire for my work to be an honest expression that inspires others to think more deeply, to dream more courageously, to imagine more playfully... and to rest in a spacious place of the heart, where God is always present in his love. I enjoy passing along to others what I have learned about watercolor painting. But I also intend to teach the creative process as a healing prayer; as a way for people to connect with the inner presence of God. I have begun the certification process to become a spiritual director, as part of the journey I'm taking to fulfill this desire.
7. Where can we find your work?