I’ve long wanted to collaborate on a book with my daughter. Actually, I’d love to collaborate on a book with any of my children or grandchildren or all, but this one in particular has always been quite the natural artist. Her illustrations based on her interpretation of the point in my prose would go far to say better, the little I have.
As one of many such gifts over the years, she drew a beautiful pastel portrait of Mary with a crown of stars above, horns under, and the soft, regal, voluminous folds of her garments — above and around her welcoming hands — appearing more wing-like than we might think. I know that Mary must look serious, but the one glaring imperfection was indeed her mouth. She looked almost dour. So dour, in fact, that I secretly tried to improve upon it.
There was also the gift of a portrait she’d done of the Man of Sorrows, crowned. She finished off the thorns, each and every one of them, with black and thus shiny ink seemingly visible from Pluto — the one glaring imperfection. There was no way to improve upon it, there all in black and white and framed in black wood.
Eventually, it dawned on me that here is a real artist. What she applied — what she let stand, what she framed and with what she framed it — is the imperfection we bring to the holy. What we see, that we don’t like, is our effect on the holy.
After all, what mother can smile or look beatific when any one of her children is in dire danger? How could a loving Saviour bear as crown the purposely unnatural-to-God — the hardened, deliberately misformed, dead unfurled leaf affixed to Him by the thankless thoughtless — without it coloring His whole likeness?
For too long, her main canvas has been her skin — for tattoos. I’d really like to improve them, and I never will, but she needs to see where her greatest talent is, and I need it to speak for me.