Excerpt from Spirit Taking Form: Making A Spiritual Practice of Making Art (2002)
Visual art, such as painting and sculpture, has its own kind of language. It reaches us in a way that words cannot, for words cannot be literally translated into visual form. Art is not only the pictorial description of something beautiful. As defined in this book, art is a visual description in a language of shape, color and form, presenting
the viewer with a dialogue different from that found in words. It is a graphic manifestation of the way we think and feel.
By developing a visual sense and a visual form as a means to express that sense and by viewing work that has a visual presence, we enter a more spacious dimension than words can offer. This visual dimension offers the possibility of wisdom as well as an expression of experience. Because it is a different kind of dimension from what we usually know through words, it can be a healing experience, a communication with spirit, and a way to make a connection to the divine.
This book is for those of you who want to expand and examine your own vision. It is for those of you who have never made art and are curious, for those of you who have stopped working for whatever reason, and even for those of you who are artists and want to rethink some ideas or try out the exercises and meditations. A major focus of this book is how art making is connected to our imagination and how our imagination is developed by meditation.
My hope is that this book will give you insight into the expression of visual language and how it can be applied to your life as a catalyst for growth, change and expression. My student Mary says that I represent a kind of spirit door to her, a door that opens and shines a light onto her mysteries on the other side of her everyday world. This is a good metaphor for what I want this book to be, a door that will open to that deep place in each of us. I hope to open that door and to help you find a spirit light within where you can view your inner self as if watching a film, see your personal images there, and find the place where your own spirit takes form.