I must admit that for the past week, I had been struggling to find the story for my next painting. I had sketched out a few ideas, and toyed with the idea of just diving in, but the time never felt right. Inspiration always seems to hit at the most unexpected moments...and in this case, my inspiration can in the midst of my Saturday morning routine. As I was getting ready to hop on my computer to check emails, I happened upon an image of an
This particular icon was given to me by my mother-in-law, after hearing some of my stories from my time spent working at Yosemite National Park. While I was there in the summer of 2004, I used to go out on morning walks, where I would inevitably find a spot to sit, relax, and read the Psalms. One morning as I was reading, I heard a crunching sound, and looked up to see a bear foraging only about 10 feet away from where I sat. My heart started to beat wildly and I tried to still my breathing, hoping he would not notice me. As I tried not to move, I watched him push over a log to dig underneath it. When he had finished, he turned and began walking in my direction. I immediately looked down and began mouthing the words of the Psalm I was reading, praying that he wouldn't notice me. Instead, he came right up to me, sniffed my leg, and then walked away. I still remember that story vividly to this day. Although I was incredibly nervous to be so close to such a big and strong animal, I also remember feeling a sense of peace knowing that he didn't want to hurt me, and I didn't want to hurt him. We were both just enjoying life and the beautiful creation around us.
So, you can probably imagine why my mother-in-law thought to give me this icon of St. Seraphim--and why I have felt a connection with his story (though I definitely wasn't thinking about giving the bear food when he approached me in the forest!)
Inspired by my connection to St. Seraphim's story, I decided it was high time I tried painting it! Once I began, I found I could not stop, and ended up painting the entire thing in one day! Here is the resulting painting (though I may decide to add a few more details in the coming days!):