Mixing Art with Theology

The art of theological reflection is a double-entendre that blends the skill or method of thinking theologically about happenings in one’s daily life together with mixed media art techniques. Combining art and theology helps one to visually express the connection between experiences with the thoughts, feelings, spirituality, and presence of God. The objective is not necessarily to create a brilliant piece of art that might hang in a gallery, illustrate a book, or become a collector’s item. The end result of the art of theological reflection is the process and the journey of reflecting. For example, in a mixed media expression, the reflective thought process that one does while laying down each stratum of pencil, watercolor, rubber stamping, or collage material on the journal page contributes as much to the process of reflection as the colors, textures, and art mediums which are laid down on the journal page. Journaling theologically with art is an invitation to personal reflection and expression. It is a conversation with a friend expressed through thought, word, and mixed media art.

The mixed media image Open Heart combines layers of watercolor with colored pencils and a tecnique called "stacked journaling" which is writing on on top of writing on top of writing. The goal isn't to be able to read the words in the completed piece but to express thoughts, feelings, or ideas during the writing process. Open Heart is a love letter to my husband of 33 years. I worked with red (the popular color of the heart for Valentine's Day) and purple (closer to the actual color of a human heart) and wrote words the contrasted my assumptions about love and marriage (red) over against the reality marriage (purple) as I have experienced during 33 years of marriage. It is a love letter to my husband for in the balance sheet of expectations (red) versus reality (purple) reality is much, much better. The journal size is small--3-1/2x5-1/2" and a tray table on an airplane was my workspace.