teresa of avila

"teresa of avila" 8" x 10" watercolor  $90
“teresa of avila” 8″ x 10″ watercolor

I approach the sixth painting in the heart murmurations collection from a more concrete framework than I usually do —

While I am very early in my relationship with St. Teresa of Avila, I  feel a meaningful sisterhood emerging — ignited by one of my fellow pilgrims in the Living School who grew up in Spain, felt St. Teresa in her own heart — and transferred this to me—

Through her own presence.

Gabrielle, thank you.

The starting point for this piece is St. Teresa’s “Interior Castle.”  St. Teresa sees the soul as if it were a castle made of a single diamond or of very clear crystal, in which there are many rooms, just as in Heaven there are many mansions.

I take this image of the diamond and move it deep within the heart —

The location of the journey to union with God.

The facets of the diamond are random leading to the center illumination, which is the room where we find God.

I recall my introduction to the mansions by Jim Finley at the Living School in September 2013 when we gathered for the first time in New Mexico.  Life outside of the castle is dark and nasty and filled with reptiles, Jim told us.  I give the background as much darkness as the painting will hold.

I gather a few more perspectives about St. Teresa to help flavor the painting.

One is her time in Seville, which inspires both shapes and color palate.

Another is text I found from the Interior Castle, urging us to “begin by entering the room where humility is acquired rather than by flying off to the other rooms.  For that is the way to progress.”

The contrast of the hard surface of the diamond (formed when carbon deposits are exposed to high pressure and high temperature for prolonged periods of time) tucked inside of the warm soft vulnerable human organ we call the heart contribute to the stark and simple impact of this piece —

And I hope —

A brilliant — yet humble —

Flash of recognition.

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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