One: Retreat

This weekend our retreat with the NGO Development and Peace-Caritas Canada included prayerful moments among the trees and along the water’s edge. The Mount Carmel Spirituality Centre peacefully hugs the Glory Hills just north of Stony Plain providing the perfect venue for reflection and rest. Judging from the state of my mind and body I could have done with a little more of the latter.

Visual limitations

Since the early morning sparkled with lively sounds of nesting birds and bursting buds in new sunshine, I took a few reference photos for later musings. A little while later, in the balm of red wine, we considered the challenge of visual limitations. How does one create an image to convey long-term, often invisible gains in the world of the underprivileged? Photos of starving children drinking milk from a cup have an immediate impact. The shot of a banner on the wall announcing the formation of a new civil action group does not carry the same emotional link.

Effective communication

Similarly, I entertain an ongoing ambition to make visible the loving presence of God in all things everywhere. Often, I feel my landscapes require something else to be effective. Perhaps poetry would carry the message more efficiently. Yet words have their limitations too. Within the limitations of both images and words lies an undiscovered solution, a third way.


Rather than forcing the new, I allow time for it to surface. Holding the tension in quiet waiting and openness is not always easy. In the meantime, as the incubation matures, I turn my attention to tasks at hand. There are commissions to finish and paintings to complete. Linocuts await the printing. And rest. Yes, tomorrow will be a day of rest.


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