Painting, I have come to realize, is my dynamic dialogue with the divine. It’s not just God coming to me or through me, but the collaboration of our conversations, that produces a “work of art.”

When we’re talking, I do make the effort to listen—but most of the time I catch myself pushing my own agenda. The back and forth can get pretty tense.

No one will get it, God. Don’t you know people don’t like art they can’t relate to? That’s not pretty enough. It needs to be tighter. God—No! Not that way!

I insist. Get frustrated. Back off. Put the work away. Or throw it.

And gradually, in the years we’ve been doing this, I’m becoming more receptive. More willing to let the work be.

Be confounding. Be unmoving. Be ugly.

The poet John O’Donahue said,

“Poetry tries to draw alongside the mystery as it’s emerging and somehow bring it into presence.”

That is what painting is to me. My entire lived experience, viewed as contemplatively as I am capable of right now, is everything I have to bring and share.

The meditation for this piece is:

Everything is received.


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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