Art Walk, Season 1 (see videos below) is an online presentation of some of the works of art done by Sisters of Charity, former sisters and associates over the years. It hoped to create a space to celebrate the gifts of the artists and to give thanks for the beauty they have shared with us.
We spoke with some of the artists featured in Season 1 of Art Walk to learn more of their inspiration and passion for art.
Sister Anne Power
It was a friend in Staten Island that encouraged me to take up art. She said that it was a great antidote to stress! Art classes in a nearby high school were being taught in the evening. The first class I took was with oils. Then I took lessons from Charlotte Marie (Charlotte Fraser) using watercolor and loved it.
I pursued art classes within many different adult education courses that were offered on Long Island. I even created a makeshift studio in an attic room at St. Aidan’s. I would go up the stairs and forget the rest of the world below. My favorite things to paint was and still is flowers.
When I came to Wellesley eight years ago, I took a few classes sponsored by the Council on Aging. Then I got involved with sharing what I knew with a few sisters from Marillac. Today I am pleased to be involved with painting birthday cards for the Sisters at Wellesley. I am grateful for those who encouraged me in making art and those who taught me.
Pansies Galore — Sister Anne Power
Mary Kenney (Sister Judith Clare)
I remember a time when I was in fourth grade and had a sick day home from school. I asked my mother for something to draw on and she opened up a big brown bag. Since it was near Christmas and Christmas cards were all around the house, I drew a picture of Santa. A little later Mom came from the kitchen and with great enthusiasm said how beautiful it was. That positivity gave me the belief that I did have a gift for drawing. In high school at Dominican Commercial, Jamaica, NY, there was no art program and because I commuted from Long Island there was no chance to participate in after school clubs. So the gift lay fallow.
I entered the Sisters of Charity – Halifax in the early 60’s and after initial formation began teaching. I remember when my love for art was rekindled. S. Edward Marie, who was in charge of further studies, interviewed me and asked if there was anything particular I could see myself doing. I immediately responded: art!! It was then that I began taking classes in Georgian Court which led to a Masters at NYU. I later taught courses at Georgian Court, was administrative assistant to the Chair at NYU’s Art Dept and for 20 years held the position of Chair at St. John’s Prep H.S. (Astoria, Queens) Art Dept. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to pursue art because it opened up a whole new world for me. It gave me the opportunity to pursue what I loved and to this day I am totally addicted to it!
Sister Noreen Trainor
I began painting after I retired from teaching. I was at St. Stephen’s and S. Helen Cormier was there painting so it was wonderful to have her answer any of my questions.
I always had a desire to paint. I admired the work of others. My favourite medium is oil.
Bountiful Nature — Sister Noreen Trainor
Sister Mary Christine McDonald
Well, as a child I used to like to draw houses and design the rooms, etc. I was going to open a daycare in my basement when I grew up!! My father, a carpenter, had built 3 houses so that inspired me too. Then in Grade 10 I remember finding out that I liked to draw. Much later, in the 80s, Sisters Rita Gertrude and Frances Gertrude invited any sisters who would like to come to St. Agnes Convent in New Waterford to take up painting, and so that was the first spark for oil painting and the fire is still lit!!
I enjoy oils which I started with and continue to this day. They are fluid and seem to have a richer finish. Though they dry slowly, they are easier to paint over and blend in.
I feel that my art and my writing too are such creative releases for things I could never express orally. Painting is seeing something grow and come to life; really like giving birth to what is within. Sometimes in class we all do the same painting and in the end, not one is the same. All are unique to the artist.
As the prayer says: We are God’s work of art. Using our creative gifts lets others see and appreciate the gifts, whatever they are, that God has placed within each one of us.
I am grateful for the gift of sight, and insight. I love nature and to see how God has painted our world is a tremendous gift. Beauty within and around us. The world I see is God’s variety store in a sense … All different, all created, and all treasured. As it should be.
Flowers of Hope — Sister Mary Christine McDonald
Sister Margaret Coppenrath
A spark was lit in the Juniorate. Sister Romaine Bates encouraged creativity. She gave the okay for us to create an art room and to purchase some art supplies. When I was first missioned to St. Paul’s Wellesley, I taught grade six. Each teacher was responsible for creating art projects. When I was missioned to St. Paul’s Brooklyn, and teaching interdepartmentally, I taught the art for the classes. I loved working with the kids and seeing their creativity and happiness. While there, Sister Jean Domanico agreed to the creation of an art room in the school for the middle grades.
An invitation from my good friend Mary Kenney to join her for some summer art method classes at Georgian Court College began my journey to becoming an art teacher. One summer followed another and I began to pursue an MA in art education from Hunter College.
Another very special connection with Mary Kenney was finding, reading and implementing Frederick Franck’s book “Zen and the Art of Seeing/Drawing as Meditation”. Intuitively we knew that this book and this meditative way of seeing and drawing was spiritually important. It helped us to really “see” what was in front of us.
I have tried many different mediums: watercolor painting, woodcuts, drawings, sculpture, and photography.
The gift for which I am most grateful is the learned ability to see the beauty and design of life all around us: colours, lines, shapes, forms.
Garden Purple Iris — Sister Margaret Coppenrath