“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 —
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.