I am a visual artist. Being in touch with a creative spirit, and being open to the gentle suggestions that may (or may not) occur as one works in the somewhat mysterious field of fine art, I feel, can be a similar experience to prayer. Part of prayer is being open to listening to what God might have to say to you.
I have always believed that we are not alone in carefully crafted bubbles of our own making. From a young age I felt that God existed, but I didn’t have a means to practice this belief and feeling. Wanting a more clear relationship with God, and being not afraid to explore this idea and relationship, has led me to eventually become a practicing Christian. I was baptized and confirmed in 2014 at the Anglican Cathedral in Montreal, which is my home parish.
As a relatively-new Christian, who had pretty much no education in things religious beforehand, I felt that some catch-up was required (though yes, I do understand that spiritual growth and understanding takes time and is not a race.) I have enrolled in bible-study and other courses offered through my church, and the wider diocese, as I have been able. At the moment I am currently in my third year of the EfM (Education for Ministry) course that is offered through the diocese, and takes place at Montreal Dio. Within this course there have been many aspects of faith that I have explored, as well as a heavy and thick pile of reading to do… I recommend this challenge to anyone seeking to deepen their own faith and understanding about our mission and history as Christians.
To bring this story around full circle though, I have noticed my Christian development guiding and moving with my practice as a visual artist. No, I am not painting pictures of little chubby angels (I actually used to do that a couple of decades ago when I was non-religious). What Christianity and its practice has done in my life, is to allow me to see the world with a broader lens, and concurrently to see things with a sharper focus. The bigger picture is there, and I can move more easily along the plane of it. I am not so caught up in my own little bubble, and know that I, and what I do, is part of a larger body of Christ. Integrating my Christian beliefs into my day-to-day life is not always easy, but this lens through which to see the world is liberating and so very worthwhile.
Like so many things about our faith, you can’t describe it… but can only try to describe it. When I listen to a good sermon, or work on a painting, or appreciate poetry that tries to describe the indescribable… I am connected to something larger than my own world.
Natasha Henderson is a visual artist, student in EfM, and member of the Montreal Dio Corporation. She is married to Jeffrey, who is studying in the M.Div. program at Montreal Dio. Image: “Waiting” by Natasha Henderson (oil on wood). View more of Natasha’s work on her artist’s page here.