Art in bloom: SJA’s first wine and paint event

It was an honor to teach these talented artists.

Catholics have a long-standing tradition of creating beautiful art. So, when St. Joan of Arc’s new advancement director, Lauren Hayden, invited me to host an afternoon of guided painting on February 27th, 2016 to raise money for our school, I channeled the powers of my patron, St. Catherine, and set forth on a new adventure: teaching art to adults.

I’ve attended several social painting events, including a fabulous evening with my childhood art teacher, Susan Thomey, (who was kind enough to lend me some supplies for SJA’s event.) But, could I teach adults step-by-step how to create a masterpiece they’d be proud to display in their living rooms?

I decided on a flower because most people tend to like them and one simple bloom wouldn’t be too complicated for beginners. I chose a dogwood in honor of Spring, particularly Easter, as the flower is often seen as a symbol of Jesus’ death and resurrection. The four petals make up the cross, with the divots on each petal signifying the nail marks. The bumpy center of the dogwood flower resembles the crown of thorns Jesus wore.

Generally when I paint, I don’t have a plan, I just go with it. But, every brush stroke I made on my sample painting was a piece of the puzzle I was creating for my students to solve. Ultimately, their pieces would be as unique as they were, but, as their guide, I would light the path that would lead them to their own vision of a dogwood bloom.

Here’s my model.

In the days preparing for the event, I gathered materials, fretted over orders that almost didn’t make it on time (thankfully they all did), and watched in amazement as my talented husband assembled over thirty easels. My nerves mounted. Would my directions make sense to someone other than myself? Would I pace myself properly? Would I run out of paint? Would someone get frustrated and quit? Would my students walk away satisfied?  

I prayed, as I do in all creative endeavors, for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and, as always, they were delivered in abundance. The room was full of my students’ parents, coworkers, and my awesome mom. After giving a pep talk, I delivered instructions, offered one-on-one guidance, generously dispensed compliments, and enjoyed the company of my new favorite artists. And just as Jesus was able to provide enough bread and fish for the crowd who gathered to see him, I had plenty of paint to go around.

That’s my mom, putting down her base layer.

Our first Wine and Paint event was a tremendous success. I’m looking forward to the next one, a beach scene on a canvas tote bag. We’re planning on hosting it at a vineyard for a plein air adventure that artists of all kinds will enjoy!






























Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.