Friday, February 8, 2013


Recently, I have had two commissioned painting requests, and have just completed the first one. I 've only once painted a lighthouse as subject matter. As an artist living in Nova Scotia,Canada lighthouses are an iconic symbol, frequently seen on postcards, crafty wooden miniature lighthouses, etc., and so for me to choose a lighthouse as subject matter, is not something that would interest me necessarily.

 I can remember as a young girl our family would make the long and arduous car trek from Toronto, Ontario to Nova Scotia, every Summer. My father would always track down a lighthouse somewhere, and we could go inside the lighthouses that were never locked. We would climb up the spiral rot iron staircases, in awe and amazement, I'd inspect the monumental and magical glass light, that was rather like a huge prism. This experience was one of my treasured memories of childhood.

The commissioned painting I just finished, I think helped me to recapture this memory, captured, and stimulated my imagination. While painting this rather Gothic like scene, I imagined what it would be like to enter the lighthouse.  It was a meditative, reflective and positive experience. It transported me to another place, in my mind subconsciously.

 In mid January, I was asked to write about my art work, and so I have been doing this in a separate journal. I thought perhaps I would feel differently about my commissioned work, as opposed to my own personal art work and subject matter but I have found out that I don't, though, in the past I might have. Regardless, now I don't believe there is a difference. I would like to explore this further.

 I've been in a very reflective state since December and have come to a decision through prayer, journaling and discernment. I'm not quite ready to talk about this presently and well because I want to go to bed after a long day of painting my lighthouse. I see this painting as a symbol of my own discernment and the light has helped me find my way.

“Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”

                                                                        - Anne Lamott


Judith Joseph said...

Lovely painting! I'm interested to hear what you said about doing commissioned work, since that is almost exclusively what I do. I love doing commissions, it's like breeding puppies with the knowledge that they're going to a loving home! (otherwise, what will I do with all those puppies?!) But seriously, I like the stories and inspiration my clients bring to the creative table.

Unknown said...

Thank you Judith!
Oh I love your puppy metaphor! It makes perfect sense! Yes well now I've given myself some good eatins' for thought! Thank you so much for your thoughts and comments. Sometimes I write my musings down and I think what the heck does that mean! It's so great to get some response form my stream of consciousness, or subconsciousness, what ever it is!!! I'll be writing about this one today when I land home!

Indigene Theresa said...

I loved reading about your commissioned work! It's funny, I just shared the very same thing on my blog. :) It's amazing how art creates these experiences that develops us emotionally, mentally and spiritually; it's the best thing in the world. Thank you for sharing your experience here, there are sooo appreciated!

Unknown said...

Indigene we have both had a synergistic experience.
It's been so long since I did a commissioned work it felt like a brand new experience. No I'm wrong I did another this past Summer you know painting hotdogs and hamburgers on a concession stand.
We never know what we will learn from our art experiences. I've been doing some reading and writing about personal art work and commissioned art work.

Michael R. Gaudet said...

Thank you for this insightful post, Catherine. I was really interested in hearing about your thought process with this painting.

Unknown said...

Thank you Michael,
I figure like most I just try to go with the flow and grow as I go! Go, flow, grow...sorta like stop, drop 'n' roll! Good times. LOL