"francis"  8" x 10" watercolor  $90
“francis” 8″ x 10″ watercolor

“Although he had already attained extraordinary purity of heart and body, he did not cease to cleanse the eyes of his soul with a continuous flood of tears, unconcerned about the loss of his bodily sight,”  St. Bonaventure writes of St. Francis.

This detail about St. Francis is new to me — and it sticks with me as I begin this painting for my heart murmurations collection.

To see as God sees is a desire the Living School ignites in me.  I imagine the tears of this humble man as a waterfall cleansing the hearts of humanity.  His eye is the eye of the universe, the rising moon of compassion on our earthly experiences.

The tears are a mysterious, bottomless cascade of water — an outpouring of human desire for union with the divine.

The figure I paint to represent the heart of St. Francis is hardy and delicate, contrasting moods in layers of color that resemble an iris bloom.  This feels right as I add definition with outlines and shadows here —

And there.

When the piece is finished, I look up the meaning of the iris bloom and find that the Greek Goddess Iris is a messenger between earth and heaven.  I also read that in addition to being the center of the human eye, iris also refers to the eye of heaven.  I jot “deeper and wider eye” in my Living School note book.  And underneath it, the word “hermeneutic.”

Another word for interpretation.

And this painting — perhaps another word for holy tears.

Author: Julie Ann Stevens

My art flows from the patterns & paths of my lived experience which ⏤ like yours ⏤ are at once deeply personal and entirely universal.

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