“All praise to you my Lord for all that you have made.....” St. Francis of Assisi, Canticle of the Creatures.
I have paintings in several churches, schools and colleges around England. I had a painting stolen from a church a few years ago. I take that as some kind of affirmation!
There was no art in my family, and very little in my schools. Consequently I had no real access to art until adulthood. I have exhibited in several exhibitions around Cumbria over the years. Several years ago I was offered an exhibition in Manchester. I had about 30 paintings stored in my garage and accidentally set fire to my garage. I lost all my paintings and materials and had to start again from scratch.
The sight or sense of beauty compels me. St. John Paul II in his ‘Letter to artists’ quoted the poet Cyprian Norwid; “beauty is to enthuse us for work, and work is to raise us up.”
My art is whatever subject inspires me, or which I find beautiful at the moment, in whatever style or medium, though especially Colour field and Tachisme, Rakeltechnik, yet I seldom seem to escape some form of landscape. I love stained glass, and am fascinated by, and love drawing, the face of Christ, and the crucifixion. One of my favourite painters is Georges Rouault who said; “My only objective is to paint a face of Christ so moving that those who see him will be converted.”
As a member of the Secular Franciscan Order I follow St. Francis example of love of God and all creation, vibrant with the colours and rhythms of life, joy, growth, humanity, and the glory of the Creator. St. Francis is the patron saint of ecologists. This inclines me not to waste, but to minimise my use of new materials and using reclaimed materials wherever I can. There is enough rubbish in the world. God does not make rubbish.
I read somewhere that one of the Impressionists suggested painting the elements we remember from a scene. This was significant to me, and inspired me toward abstracting my work, and spurred on my imagination and creativity. It is the sheer joy and exuberance of colour which attracts me most. I find myself going back and forth from abstraction to figurative.
Anthony Abbott-Millar OFS.