Virginia DuPre: Keeping Open to the Unknown

Virginia DuPre is an artist, art therapist and a former ordained minister.

She graduated from Candler School of Theology in 1994. While serving as an ordained minister, Virginia was a client of art therapy as a way of tending to her own needs and issues so that she could better help others. In 2000, she completed a Master Degree in Art Therapy from Vermont College at Norwich University and began helping people to heal, grow and expand spiritually through the use of art making.

“Making art has kept me open to the unknown — being willing to continue to grow and expand. Art holds mystery and that’s a big part of the spiritual experience. As long as I’m alive, I want to keep expanding into that. There’s something about the blank page and listening to the materials, not knowing what will come out of that process, that’s a way of practicing being open to the great mystery moving inside.” ~Virginia DuPre

Listen to Virginia’s Art as Worship interview on Empower Radio.

Virginia works with adult individuals, couples and groups for art therapy and spiritual formation.  She says, “What I love about art therapy is that an image comes out of the person and is the source for healing and growth. The art, in a very concrete way, points people back to their own knowing.”

She makes personal art with found objects and recycled objects. Currently Virginia is making snake bone pendant necklaces — made from bones of snakes that were killed in farm management practices on a farm in South Georgia.

Virginia encourages others to connect to their creativity. She says, “Set aside time to play and listen to what wants to come up.”

Find out more about Virginia and her art therapy practice at www.virginiadupre.com.

Listen each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio to hear another artist’s story. Share your art and your comments on the Art as Worship Facebook page. Namaste!

Sybil MacBeth: I Get Still By Moving

Sybil MacBeth is a dancer, a doodler, and a former community college mathematics professor. When she moved to Memphis in 2004, author Phyllis Tickle nudged Sybil to write about her prayer frustrations and the visual and active prayer practice she developed as the result of them. She now combines her experience in the mathematics classroom with her lifelong love of prayer to offer workshops that engage differing learning styles. As the author of Praying in Color Drawing a New Path to God, she has lead over 100 workshops and retreats. 

“I use this prayer involving art as a form of meditation to get still. I write the word ‘God’ or ‘Holy Spirit’ on a piece of paper. I start drawing and it invites my body into the prayer. I like to move and I’ve discovered that I get still by moving … even if it’s just moving my hand along the paper. It helps me get still on the inside because the body is no longer a distraction.” ~Sybil MacBeth

Listen to Sybil’s Art as Worship interview on Empower Radio.

Sybil is also the author of Praying in Color Kids’ Edition. Her latest book is a Praying in Black and White: A Hands-On Practice for Men, a collaborative effort with her Episcopal priest husband, Andy MacBeth. Praying in Color has been translated into Korean, Spanish, and Italian.

She encourages others to embrace their creativity by saying, “Sometimes your boundaries are your freedom. Use the boundary as a starting off point. Choose to only draw circles. Or restrict your doodle to circles and lines and see what happens. That way you don’t have this whole big paper staring at you — those restrictions can allow you to be free.”

Sybil uses the arts as a pathway for building community and deepening her relationship with God. She is a life-long dancer. Sybil studied ballet and modern dance and performed with various regional dance groups. She currently dances with an improv dance group.

She commented, “Sometimes you become an expert by being a chronic novice — always willing to learn and willing to continue to grow.”

Sybil’s experience includes:

  • Artist-in-Residence Memphis Theological Seminary 2010-2011.
  • Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Tidewater Community College in Virginia Beach from 1991 to 2004.
  • Graduated from Randolph-Macon College with a B.S. in Mathematics and College of William and Mary with an. M.S. in Mathematics.

She lives in Memphis, TN with her husband, Andy, an Episcopal priest.  Sybil is the mother of two adult sons.

Find out more about Sybil, her books and workshops at www.prayingincolor.com.

Listen each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio to hear another artist’s story. Share your art and your comments on the Art as Worship Facebook page. Namaste!

Alice Ball: Learning from the Beautiful and the Not-So-Beautiful

Alice Ball is an explorer in the art of papermaking — gathering raw materials, sometimes embedding things in the wet paper before it dries and creating small collages.

“One of the commandments of papermaking is ‘thou shalt not love any piece of paper better than another.’ You learn from the beautiful pieces and from the not-so-beautiful ones. That’s not unlike worship for me. Some days worship is really hard. Some days it is a joyous and easy — a totally carefree thing. But it’s always there. It’s not something that has to be one way or another.” ~Alice Ball

Listen to Alice’s Art as Worship interview on Empower Radio.

Paper items are called ephemera — a word related to things like ghosts, mists and spirits that can’t be held onto for long. They remind you that beauty can be fleeting and you must be alert to be moved by it, or simply to enjoy its existence, however short.

Alice says, “My spiritual evolution and my art of papermaking are interactive. When you’re very occupied with doing things with your hands, somehow your Spirit is allowed to fully flower. Making paper has given me an experience of myself as creative. I sometime laugh and enjoy the ridiculousness of what I’m trying to do. It has challenged me to try things that seem rather silly and sometimes turn out surprisingly great. The doing of it has affected my way of being acquainted with myself.”

Alice often gives her art to friends.

You can connect with Alice via email at aliceball (at) gmail.com.

Listen each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio to hear another artist’s story. Share your art and your comments on the Art as Worship Facebook page. Namaste!

Flora Rosefsky: Artists Need Time to Reflect and Daydream

Flora Rosefsky is a spiritual collage and mixed media artist who draws with scissors. She directs her favorite long-pointed scissors as they glide through painted paper, fabric, or ephemera. “With an intuitive sense of color and composition, like Henri Matisse, I thrive on the freedom to ‘draw with scissors,’ in a spirit of spontaneity that is so much a part of each new work.”

 “I am a big believer in finding sanctuary in your life. You need some quiet space. Time to think. As an artist you need reflection and you need ideas and you need time to think or even daydream.” ~Flora Rosefsky

Listen to Flora’s Art as Worship interview on Empower Radio.

She says, “Art is no longer something that I just do — it is so much a part of what I am. It took a while for me to realize that.”

ALeta’s Ketubbah

Flora encourages others to explore their creativity. She says, “Art is also for the non-artist. For those of you who may not think of yourself as an artist, try it. It makes you feel good. It’s joyful. It can be exciting. You can be any age to create art, from a child up to a senior citizen. Don’t be afraid. The materials don’t have to be expensive. Just enjoy. Go look at art, go to studios, go to openings and make art a part of your life.”

Personal Sanctuary

Contact Flora and see a full gallery of her art at www.florageart.com.

Listen each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio to hear another artist’s story. Share your comments and your art on the Art as Worship Facebook page. Namaste!