Image from the Rubble: Painting the Norcia Commission

Collecting Reference Material A year ago I wrote about the destruction waged by earthquakes in central Italy, and the effect it had on the Benedictine Monks of Norcia, whose community was founded on the birthplace of the Saint Benedict and his sister, Saint Scholastica. Last winter some friends of the Monks here in Northwest Ohio …

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Faces of Mercy: A Traveling CIVA Exhibit

A version of this post first appeared on the blog of Christians in the Visual Arts: Jubilee Year of Mercy CIVA’s newest traveling exhibit, Faces of Mercy, is halfway through its tour of the United States. I curated this exhibit over the course of 2015 and 2016. The inspiration for the title came from Pope Francis’ …

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The Pope’s Prayer Intention: For Artists

This reflection was first published on The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network in August, 2017.  This month Pope Francis asks the world to pray for artists: That artists of our time, through their ingenuity, may help everyone discover the beauty of creation.  The Pope’s Prayer Intention for Artists invites us to ask: How can we become …

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Yoga Art Exhibit

  Art Exhibits Outside the Box From July 14 to August 9, 2017 my Mind-Body-Spirit Series will be on exhibit at The Art of Yoga Yoga Studio in Columbus, OH. This exhibit continues my efforts this year to move outside the box of the traditional gallery space. The traditional gallery is still alive and well, and still …

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Mind-Body-Spirit Connection: Drawings and Gifts

    Mind-body-spirit: expression and science When I was in my early twenties I lived in Italy for several years, and it was there that I began to be more conscious of the mind-body-spirit connection. I had a friend who was a physician and dance instructor. She beautifully integrated the emotional and the scientific in her very …

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Sacred Architecture Paintings: Building Inspiration

Architectural Paintings Sacred Spaces Presence

Exhibit At Perrysburg Municipal Building I have been so impressed at the way several communities here in Northwest Ohio are thinking outside the box for ways to bring art into public spaces. My sacred architecture paintings and prints will be exhibited at the Perrysburg Municipal Building from March 6-April 24. The exteriors of local churches …

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Mary the Chalice: Mother of Mercy

©Michelle Arnold Paine's oil painting on panel depicting the Virgin Mary. Mary the Chalice, Mother of Mercy

Purchase Mary the Chalice print  This medieval hymn explaining the role of Mary in God’s plan of salvation is the inspiration for an entire series of paintings and prints which I have been working on for several years. Mary the Dawn, Christ the perfect day; Mary the Gate, Christ the heavenly Way. Mary the Root, …

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Drawing the Nude – A Celebration of the Image of God

When people find out I go to a figure drawing group on Wednesday nights, they sometimes ask, “Isn’t that weird? I mean, you’re there drawing, and the model isn’t wearing clothes??” Michelangelo is famous for celebrating the world’s creation his beautiful, statuesque nudes… and Church leaders are famous for, years later, painting loincloths over them. …

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Guest Appearance on The Journey Home

My Journey Home: How Art, Italy, and a Relic Led me to the Catholic Church I’m going to be on TV! Monday, July 18, 2016 at 8pm EST you will be able to watch my guest appearance on The Journey Home, Marcus Grodi’s weekly program on EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network). I will be sharing …

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Orvieto – Destination of the Heart

  Orvieto: In my dreams I walk your streets and speak your language, walking the halls of ancient convents and eating at the table of dear friends. You are always my destination, though sometimes, like last night, the bus misses the turn to cross the river and ascend and we end up in a field …

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Gaze: Group Show at ArtSpace Maynard

  Curated by Leslie Tane, there will be seven other artists participating in the exhibit entitled “Gaze” at ArtSpace Maynard in Maynard MA from April 6-29, 2016.   Several of my ink figure drawings will be included, including several drawings of male nudes. I wish I could be there to see it, as I am curious …

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Figure Drawing – Proportion and Propulsion

  Figure Drawing has always been an anchor for me. It was how I began my serious study of art when I was a Freshman at Gordon College. The human figure is the most beautiful, most complex, and most difficult subject there is. While everyone’s proportions are very nearly the same, yet every individual is unique. …

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Borders Exhibit

I am pleased to be able to participate in the Kreft Annual Juried Art Exhibit at Concordia University Ann Arbor again this spring. The theme of the exhibit is “Boundaries, Borders and Thresholds” and my monoprint “Approaching Dawn” will be included. This print is a part of the series exploring the Virgin Mary, and the …

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Motherhood and Art-Making

My daughter Dalia Marie was born in January. The first part of her short life was snow-covered in what was the snowiest winter on record in Massachusetts. My first daughter Miriam turns three soon. She is realizing that “tomorrow” becomes “today”, that Daddy and Mommy go to work, but not the same work; and that we sometimes …

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About Our Move…

  Hard to believe we are moving again less than a year after buying our first home! We didn’t mean to do that! My husband got a position with the Catholic organization The Coming Home Network and we are thrilled that he will be able to use his gifts to share the beauty and truth …

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Watercolor Play at Danforth Art

I’ve been having a lot of fun teaching a Beginning Watercolor class at the The School at the Danforth Museum of Art has high quality Adult and Children’s classes and I have been very privileged to teach there for the last couple of years. Superior research paper help from dedicated writers! One of the great …

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Custom Painting: Creative Family Gift

I wanted to share this custom painting commission: a panoramic view of the family cottage. My brother-in-law commissioned this wonderfully creative gift for the entire family. It is a series of paintings of his (and my husband’s) parents’ summer cottage. He wanted something that each family – siblings and parets – could have to remember …

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Body and Soul Exhibit

Oil painting on Canvas: Reflections: ON the Edge ©Michelle Arnold Paine

This painting – one of the newer ones in my series of Figurative Paintings reflecting on the Virgin Mary – is on its way to the Kreft Arts Center at Concordia University Ann Arbor to be included in the juried exhibit “Body and Soul”. Artworks in the exhibit can be viewed on the Kreft Arts …

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Waltham Mills Open Studios 2014!

The Waltham Mills artists community where I have my studio has been hard at work for the last few months preparing for our 38th Annual Open Studios event which will take place November 1 and 2, 2014. I have had the role of Coordinator this year again, which has been particularly exciting because we’ve designed …

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Mary the Gate has a New Home

Mary the Gate: Threshold of Salvation is now in the collection of the Center for Faith and Inquiry at Gordon College. I have been Artist-in-Residence there over the last couple of years and they have recently added this painting to their permanent collection. This painting was originally part of the paintings I created as Artist-in-Residence …

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Summer Juried Show at White Stone Gallery

This Friday, July 11 will be the opening for the Summer Juried Exhibit at White Stone Gallery in Philadelphia, PA. I am very excited to have my painting Pilgrimage: St. Peter’s accepted in the show and to be able to participate in a show at a gallery who represents such fine artists as Makoto Fujimura, …

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"Paint the Hill" Plein Air Event

Summer is on its way and that is time for painting outdoors! Beacon Hill Civic Association and Sloane Merrill Gallery are hosting a plein air event as a fundraiser for the BHCA. Thirty artists will be assigned different spots on Boston’s scenic Beacon Hill and will all be painting like crazy from 10-4 Saturday, June …

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New Studio Space!

In January I moved my studio down the hall into a gorgeous new space. I am still at Waltham Mills Artists Association and still subletting from another artist, but this time I have use of the full space, rather than sharing the working area with another artist. Not only does this mean I can work …

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Sloane Merrill Gallery and AD20/21 at the Cyclorama

With spring officially here, and winter un-officially sticking around, “Inside Out[side]” is an appropriate exhibit title for this time of year. I have two paintings hanging in the show by this title at Sloane Merrill Gallery in Boston through April. The opening was Friday, March 22 and it was really great to get to know …

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About my Journey…

You’ve probably noticed that much of the subject matter of my work has Christian undertones – church architecture, references to the Virgin Mary, as well as to aspects of art history related to the Christian faith. If you have every wondered exactly where that comes from on a personal level, you can listen to this …

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Gulliver Reclining

Another drawing from my figure drawing session a couple of weeks ago. This pose was extremely difficult: the “corpse pose”, as it is known in yoga. Initially I was sitting at his elbow, looking straight on – all horizontal lines and no compositional interest at all, so I had to move around a little bit …

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Anatomy Simplified

Last night I attended the second session of a workshop on Drawing Figures from the Imagination: Anatomy Simplified, offered by Damon Lehrer of the Boston Figurative Art Center. The idea of visualizing anatomic forms as 3-dimensional volumes is not new to me, but he was able to provide some additional insights into anatomic details and …

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Back to the Drawing Board…

Back to the Figure Drawing board, anyway! It has been soooooo long since I went to figure drawing group and I have missed it! I have also continued to sell the little ink drawings that I make when I go, so I have really needed to get back there and continue making them! Last semester …

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Spark and Echo Arts – "Illuminating" the Bible

I recently was made aware of a fascinating project based out of New York which is trying to create an artwork for each verse of the Bible. Unlike other illuminated Bibles in history, Spark and Echo  have not limited their media to 2D art only, but are also commissioning performances, musical pieces. The project is …

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Figure in Mirror – Drawing in Progress

I’m starting work on a new series of paintings (well, a continuation of the figurative series based on Mary from several years back). So I’m starting work on a new series of drawings, too, to help me think through some of the images. You can see a tiny little sketch on the desk to the …

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January Snow Landscape

Happy New Year! 2014 is full of promise. I have had a small bout of cleaning and re-organizing (very small!), I am moved into my new studio (pictures of that to come), and we are now in the depths of winter. I’m mostly painting at the studio these days, but here is a painting from …

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Open Studios Recap 2013

I just wanted to post a few pictures from Open Studios a few weeks back. Waltham Mills Artists’ Association Open Studios happens every year when 70 artists in three buildings open our doors to the public to see what we make and where we work. It is hard work to get the studio from a …

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Sacred Pause: Imagine/Northampton

For the month of December my sacred architecture paintings will be on exhibit at IMAGINE: Northampton, a small, non-profit gallery and church in Northampton, MA. Northampton has a very active arts scene, and the Opening Reception on December 13 will be part of the Northampton monthly Arts Night Out Northampton every second Friday of the …

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New artist at the Sloane Merrill Gallery!

I’m very excited to have my work at Sloane Merrill Gallery on Beacon Hill in Boston as of this week! I will have two paintings in the winter small works exhibit, and they are very excited to have my ink figure drawings to offer their collectors. Sloane Merrill Gallery offers traditional paintings by living artists, …

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WMAA 2013 Open Studios is coming…

Waltham Mills Artists’ Association Open Studios Saturday, November 2, 12-6 Sunday, November 3, 12-5 You are invited to our annual Open Studios event! Three buildings (two at 144 Moody Street and one building at 289 Moody Street) filled with artists of every kind! In addition the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation will open …

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Park Street Arts Exhibit: Pilgrimage

As a part of Park Street Arts, my series of architectural interiors will be on view at Park Street Church in the heart of Boston until October 19, 2013. This exhibit of paintings and prints is entitled Pilgrimage. The one-point perspective which dominates the compositions implies a destination. Our lives here on earth are the journey to that destination, a pilgrimage journey towards God.

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figurative,oil on canvas,8x8, price $300,Annunciation after Solario

The Feast of the Annunciation was moved to April 8 this year, since March 25 fell during Holy week. The Annunciation celebrates the moment when the angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will bear the Savior. This series of Annunciation master studies I have shared over the last months is about waiting, and the expectation of new life. At times this "new life" has been a metaphor for new beginnings, forgiveness, spiritual renewal, but in 2012 the time of waiting was literal, as I waited, in pregnancy, for my baby girl to be born...

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Figure Drawing: Edging

Edging, figurative, 6x9, pen and ink, price $125

I love having a model with a shaved head because I am able to see the structure of the head so much more clearly. In this drawing we can see the beautiful way in which the ink bleeds across the wet paper.

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Convergence Exhibit – Reception March 23

Fede I, Oil on Canvas, 12x12, Architecture, Price $600

On display now at the Ashland Public Library is a series of my prints and paintings entitled Convergence. The title "Convergence" has two origins, and these two meanings themselves "converge" in the paintings. In part, "convergence" describes how, in ecclesiastical architecture in particular, celestial and terrestrial converge in built space.

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Shaundra Seated 3

figurative,pen and ink,10x7,price $125,Shaundra Seated 3

I use a traditional pen nib with walnut ink for these drawings. I love the way the old-fashioned pen provides such variation in the lines - variation of thickness, weight, and value. The line has its own cadence as it moves around the figure.

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Annunciation after David

Annunciation after David by Michelle Arnold Paine

This Annunciation transcription will be included in the exhibit Compassion: The Good Samaritan, opening at Adams ArtSpace, Harvard College, Cambridge this weekend.

The Annunciation is the moment when God comes to earth – when human and divine come together to become incarnate in Jesus, Savior of the world. The Incarnation, God’s greatest act of compassion.

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Annunciation after del Cossa

Appropriate to post another Annunciation transcription today, the Feast of the Archangels (Gabriel, Michael and Raphael). This particular Renaissance Annunciation infuses Classical architecture into the Biblical story of the Gabriel's announcement to Mary. The painting also shows off the artists' knowledge of perspective in the way that the artist places the angel in the foreground.

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Journey of Faith Exhibit

St. Joseph's Altar, Monotype ©Michelle Arnold Paine

Concordia College -- New York in their Journey of Faith exhibit. This exhibit paired artists with churches in Bronxville, where the college is located, in order that the artist might create a work of art specifically in response to that space. I was pleased to be selected, and was paired with St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Bronxville.

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Transcriptions: After Beccafumi

Annunciation after Beccafumi, Oil on Canvas, 6x6 ©2012

Another in my series of Annunciation transcriptions. The original Mannerist painting was completed in 1546 by Italian Domenico Beccafumi and is currently in the little town of Sarteano near Siena, Italy. I'm not always a fan of Mannerism, but I like the mirrored swooping curves in this painting and the sense of motion it creates, so different from the very still, stable Annunciations of Fra Angelico.

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Church of the Transfiguration, Cape Cod

A few weeks back we spent the weekend on Cape Cod for a little get-away. One of our excursions was to the Church of the Transfiguration in Orleans, Massachusetts. The Community of Jesus is an ecumenical Benedictine community made up of brothers (friars), sisters (nuns), and laypeople. They began building this testament of faith in 1997, hiring architects, liturgical consultants, and artists from all over the world to complete the narrative of salvation the building tells.

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Transcriptions: Fra Angelico

Fra Angelico

Another in my little "Annunciations from the Masters" series, from a predella by Fra Angelico, 15th century Florentine painter, who was also a Dominican brother. Graham Nickson of the New York Studio School says "the transcription endeavors to understand the nature of the original work.

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Making the Old New: Annunciation Transcriptions

After Fra Angelico 1, Oil on matboard, 5" x 7" ©Michelle Arnold Paine 2011

My latest studio project is making "transcriptions" of some of the classic Annunciation paintings of art history. The Annunciation has been one of my favorite images for many years. In seeking to make some of these images of Mary new in my paintings, I have taken on a studio exercise which is also a bit of a meditation.

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Mary Artist Statement

Mary the Dawn oil painting © Michelle Arnold Paine

These paintings are a metaphor for the struggle of my own experience to know Christ and seek to become more like his mother Mary. The metaphors in this poem, and others found throughout art history, continue to open my understanding of Christ’s relationship with his mother.

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2012 Olympics and Run with the Fire

Beacon, Michelle Arnold Paine painting oil on canvas

The Olympics are always an Event: even non-sports fans like me turn on their televisions to watch the grace, strength, speed and beauty of what the human body can accomplish. The passing of the torch leading up to the Olympics is also a moving part of the event; it is expressive of our human journey on this earth, of friendship across nations, and fraternity even in competition. I am excited to be included in a digital exhibit which will be released in tandem with the London Olympics.

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Open Studios in Waltham – Part II

Just an update post-Open Studios -- it was a great event - estimates are that we had about 2000 people in attendance, though I don't think all of those came in to my studio! It was a long weekend, because I was also Planning Coordiantor leading up to the event, so I was concerned with a lot of the logistical details of the event.

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Figure Summer

This summer has been a wonderful summer for figurative art - both in my own work and in Boston! I have been regular attending a few figure drawing groups and really enjoying the opportunity to really engage with the figure outside the classroom. I have been so busy the last couple of years teaching my figure classes that I haven't actually taken much opportunity.

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Wedding Gift Watercolors

StMary's Watercolor wedding gift

My most recent commission project was two watercolors intended for wedding gifts. I shipped them off last week. This watercolor is the exterior of St. Mary's church in Memphis, Tennessee.   I so enjoy when I am able to work with one of my favorite subjects (church architecture).

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New Studio!


I moved into a new studio in February in an old industrial building in my town. The building was formerly the Waltham Cotton and Wool Company.

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In honor of John Paul II on his Beatification


Some recent paintings and drawings of Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, on the occasion of the beatification of Pope John Paul II. John Paul II prayed for a "Primavera dello Spirito": a Springtime of the Spirit. His prayer for a "Springtime of the Spirit" was answered in a multitude of ways, from the flood of youth who attended the World Youth Days (which he began).

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Sound and Silence

Cover of Ruminate Magazine

The theme of the winter issue of Ruminate magazine was "Sound and Silence", and I was pleased that two of my prints and one of my paintings were chosen to as a visual representation of the theme. Sojourners Magazine’s Julie Polter recently said Ruminate has “staked a claim in the publishing borderlands where grit and religious devotion".

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Team Drawing: Collaboration and Creativity

The compositions of frescoes by Masaccio, Piero della Francesca, Luca Signorelli (to name only a few), are so complicated they can be overwhelming for a viewer -- and even more overwhelming for a student of drawing. I have found that working on a team and looking for simple moments of overlap and intersection can allow an entry point into serious investigation of some of these masterpieces.

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New Church Interior Drawings

When classes are in session I don't always have the time I would like to engage in long studio sessions, but I always try and keep things moving by doing small drawings, watercolor studies, or even just taking a few minutes during my figure drawing class time to make a few gesture drawings while the model is posing. These drawings are some small studies I did in my parish church (Our Lady Help of Christians in Newton).

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Sketchbook – Art Institute of Chicago

I visited the Art Institute of Chicago on Thursday during my vacation for their Target-sponsored Free Thursday evenings. What a wonderful a gift to the people of Chicago city to offer free admission from 5-8pm once a week - there was a line to enter at 5:00 and the museum was packed with people all evening. The new wing is huge, with the capacity to give their spectacular collection of 20th century art the viewing space it deserves.

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State Street Mobil

I completed these two drawings for the same client. The first location, State Street Mobil, is in the historic district of Newburyport. When the client bought this new business he comissioned this drawing (Ink on paper,  14" x 20") for use with publicity and investors. The drawing is featured on the front page of his web page as well (

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Alton Bay Cottage

Alton Bay Cottage OIl Painting Michelle Arnold Paine

We delivered this commission last weekend to its new owner! Cottage: Alton Bay (Oil on canvas, 18"x 24") was painted for a friend who spent many summers friend spent many summers here on Lake Winnepesaukee in New Hampshire both as a child and as an adult.

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Summer Exhibit

Summer is a time for water and blue sky -- I have had some opportunities to make some small drawings, but also to hang an exhibit of my church interiors at a local venue. Prints, paintings, and drawings of my series of architectural interiors will be on exhibit during the month of July.

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"Resurrection" – Goetemann, Mahler, Signorelli and Maitani

On Friday I made a little trip to see a cycle of paintings by  Gordon Goetemann at Andover-Newton Theological School in Newton Center, MA. The cycle of large paintings is inispired by Gustav Mahler's 2nd Symphony in C Minor -- the "Resurrection" symphony. I had found out about it from a friend who had seen the show at the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester. We were both interested in it because of the time we spent in Orvieto, where there are two great artworks representing the Resurrection of the Flesh...

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The Call to Beauty –

Our Lady of the Barren Tree

Cardus has just published another of my paintings in their online journal Comment.

Our Lady of the Barren Tree is an image of hope: the strange beauty of winter, in which it requries faith to believe that trees and grass are only "sleeping" and will return with new life and growth.
The tree, the vine, the branches – these images evoke the memory of Eve in the garden of Eden whose disobedience eventually brought on the exile of humanity from paradise. Eve's disobedience was eventually redeemed in the act of Mary’s obedient “May it be to me as you have said”.

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New Figurative Work posted

There is a new section on my Portfolio page: New Figurative Work. It includes the body of work from 2009 that I exhibited at Valparaiso University. To read the poem that inspired some of the images, read my New Year’s Day blog post which includes the poem medieval hymn about the many images and prefigurations …

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New Landscape Painting: Cemetery

I am very excited about this new landscape painting from this beautiful summer day. The Cemetery is right on the Charles River and very beautiful. It is a very peaceful place to work -- and attracts quite a bit of traffic as walkers from nearby offices take their lunch break. I hope to return to complete more paintings there as the year progresses.

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Teaching in Italy — Soon!

This is one of those days I would love to be back in Italy – it is warm, but not too warm, but somehow the lure of my suburban street is not as strong as the lure of an Italian street – when I am there I am always pulled outdoors to smell and see and greet and experience some one or some thing that is “new”. But part of the lure is that there is so much that is not new – it is the very, very old which is so appealing.

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