Once upon a time, Kristy Galt Franco used to be a first communion teacher and a graphic artist, but now her hands are filled being the mother of four children, aging from 4 to 16 years old. This St Finbars parishioner confesses that her truest love is using her art to express her love for God and taking care of her family.
Kristy was in primary school when she first discovered her love for art. Coming from an art-loving family, her furthering her education in art was a no-brainer, her grandfather Roy Galt was actually an artist. Her parents envisioned her studying animation and going to work for Disney one day. But when in form 6 she started painting acrylics her work appeared mediocre, so much so that she still remembers her art teacher suggesting she try graphic arts instead. But her parents believed in her skills and sent her to study art at a University in Canada. It was there she saw her skill develop and after a year of hard work, her teacher told her that she was indeed an Illustrator. Until this day she says, “I am grateful that he saw that in me”.
Kristy says, “I used to do portraits but now I do landscapes because I always saw God in nature especially in the ocean. That’s where I speak to him”. She also admits that it was her relationship with God that determined her course of action, “I always had a relationship with God so I wanted to use art to express my love for him so one of my first pieces was Jesus on the cross.”
In 2017 Kristy tried her hands at doing Iconography which is a type of art from the Byzantine and Orthodox Christian tradition and is often used in the production of religious images. Her first such piece was done by the late Archbishop Pantin. Why archbishop Pantin?” She laughs, “I don’t even know why I chose him” but then she does have a memory,” When I was young I thought he was just a very good, holy, and charitable man, and when I was in school he came to do confession and he was so normal and approachable, but I also felt the awesomeness of his presence and I also looked up to him. I thought that he was someone to emulate”
The experience of painting Archbishop Pantin was truly an amazing one for Kristy. “In every layer, I put in I kept feeling him speaking to me, it was a deeply spiritual experience to me, and each layer meant something to do with his spiritual life. It was quite incredible. It’s like a window to the soul” But it was Kristy’s first attempt at doing Iconography and she admits, “I did not know what I was doing I was trying my best. “ She claims she made many mistakes one of which was creating a halo around his head even though he has not yet been made a saint. But she was inspired by a painting of Saint Charbel. “the artist put a writing below that said, “if he were to become a saint that this would be presented” that’s what I meant on the note in my painting.
But a few years ago something terrible happened to Kristy and she just stopped painting. She said, ”I thought of art as evil” but one day she was looking at Trinity TV and they were featuring the work of another artist, Erik Feeley and in the interview, he was asked why did he paint and his response was” because man cannot live without beauty” those words resonated so
deeply with Kristy that she picked back up her brushes and began again. Kristy, 11has since worked with Erik Feeley he has no memory of saying that simple statement that changed her life, which for her must have been a direct message from God.
Visio Divina (Latin for “divine seeing”) is a method for praying with images. Through Visio Divina we invite you to see beyond first and second impressions, and even beyond your initial ideas, judgments, or understandings. Our hope is to create a connection to the divine through local art.
1. Set aside 15 minutes in the day for the guided prayer experience
2. As you begin to prayer take a few minutes to open your heart and mind to God.
3. When you are ready, slowly look and notice the image, taking your time to let feelings and thoughts come to you as you take in forms, figures, colors, lines, textures, and shapes. What does it look like, or remind you of? What are your initial thoughts? What feelings are evoked?
4. Now, return to the image with an open heart and mind again. You may now experience new thoughts, meanings, and feelings. Start, exploring new meanings and feelings that come to you associated with the image. Be aware of any assumptions or expectations that you bring to the image. Regardless of your response to the image — delight, disgust, indifference, and confusion — contemplate prayerfully the reason for your response and what these responses might mean for and about you.
5. As you go deeper in this prayer, open yourself to what the image might reveal to you. What does the Spirit want to say, evoke, make known, or express to you in quiet meditation? What are your feelings, thoughts, desires, and meanings evoked by the image, and how they are directly connected to your life?
6. Now, take the time to respond to God. Jot down in a journal the insights you want to remember, actions you are invited to take, the wisdom you hope to embody, or any feelings or thoughts you wish to express. Bring your prayer to a close-by resting in God’s grace and love.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org on the impact this activity may have had on your day, and be sure to share the artist’s image on your social media feeds.
Source info: https://www.patheos.com/resources/additional-resources/2009/07/praying-with-art-visio-divina