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

The Mother of God is an active, living presence for me — and has been for most of my life.  This closeness makes it more difficult to put words with this painting — my favorite in the heart murmurations collection.

So I will keep it simple by taking myself back to the time I held the brush and this painting took form.

We are studying Human Incarnation in the Living School and Christmas is less than a week away.  I am present more fully in this season than ever before, and Mary’s role in carrying this gift to humanity overwhelms me.

I recall the words from a poem about Mary’s mother, St. Anne — “who must have taught her daughter something of boldness, of clarity, of passages, of the power of choosing —

Of not fearing angels —

Or their wild propositions.”

I feel the lowliness of her surroundings, the misgivings from others she surely felt — and I begin to swell with a courage I imagine contained in that “slender vase” Denise Levertov writes of in her poem “The Annunciation.”

I paint her as a flower vessel, the Christ child safely hidden within, light of God as protection — and the royal blue that is Mary’s robe in this chaotic world.

Around this time, I also listen to Jim Finley’s heart-melting interpretation of “no room in the inn.”   Jim offers that it may seem like our human foibles keep God from coming, but the truth is —

“There’s never any room in the inn — and —

“God comes anyway!”

This poverty of our hearts, Jim says, is the very gateway to the ground of God.

Holy Mary Mother of God, thank you for bearing this ground.

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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