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Architecture

Commissioned Oil Painting of Saint Matthew's Cathedral in Washington DC ©Michelle Arnold Paine 2021

St Matthew’s Cathedral Painting Washington DC

By Architecture, Commissions

The complex architectural space of St. Matthew’s Cathedral was particularly challenging. For instance, a variety of materials (mosaics, marble, plaster, gilding, wood) cover Historic St. Matthew’s Cathedral in DC. How do I paint each element in a way that contributes to the whole painting? How do I communicate the shimmering array of textures and colors within this beautiful cathedral?

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Oil painting of archway in Pienza, Tuscany, Italy by Michelle Arnold Paine

Pienza Arch Painting

By Architecture, Commissions, Italy

Pienza is a hilltop town, and past this doorway the ground drops steeply into stairs. To me this painting represents how we look at the future in this moment. We see something beautiful, but hazy right now. Because of the pandemic, it is difficult to discern how far off that landscape may actually be and how we might arrive there.

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oil painting of woman in a church

New Marian painting: Interrogatio

By Architecture, Art and Faith, Painting, Virgin Mary, Figures

My newest Marian painting “Interrogatio: Inquiry” depicts that moment of questioning “How can this be?” when the angel announced the Christ’s coming to Mary at the Annunciation. Mary’s vulnerability before God is represented here by the nude female figure. The grand space of the architecture represents God’s overpowering presence. The architecture also becomes a metaphor for Mary herself, often referred to in medieval texts as the Temple or dwelling place of the Lord because of her role in the Incarnation.

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oil painting of basilica of saint francis of assisi from uphill

New Painting of Assisi Basilica of Saint Francis

By Architecture, Art and Faith, Commissions, Painting, Italy

In a similar way, I returned to the shapes and images from my time in Assisi many times. I felt a sense of mystery in the images of rhythms of dark and light. Through drawing and painting I explored the arches of an alleyway multiple times. For me it was not simple documentation of medieval architecture. To me these passageways were like my pilgrimages themselves -a path to something beyond what was visible.

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Saint Matthew’s Cathedral Sketches

By Architecture, Commissions

These thumbnail sketches of Saint Matthew’s Cathedral, Washington DC, lay out the plans for my first commission project of 2021. It’s exciting to start a new project at the beginning of a new year. Full of vision, possibility, options, agility. Creating thumbnail sketches like these intimate studies is like peeking around the corner at a fork in the path. Where would this take us? Will this plan accomplish our goals?

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Church Interior Drawings: Waiting

By Architecture, Art and Faith, Drawing

I created these church interior drawings as studies for a previous series of paintings of cathedral architecture. Each intimate drawing explores the space and emotion of the beauty of sacred space. As a result, they hold new poignancy during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time many of us have been separated from our houses of worship and faith communities due to social distancing regulations.

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Saint Joseph Maumee Watercolor

By Architecture, Art and Faith, Commissions, Painting

After I painted the Historic Church of Saint Rose in Perrysburg last year, a local family suggested a painting of Saint Joseph Parish across the river as a special anniversary gift. Her parents were married at St. Joseph Parish in Maumee, Ohio. Since they are still parishioners there, she thought a painting of the historic church would be a memorable gift to celebrate their years together. The architecture of churches communicates the eternal, where God comes to earth…

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notre dame drawing in process

Notre Dame Cathedral Drawing

By Architecture, Art and Faith, Drawing

A few days before Easter we all watched in shock as fire enveloped a great monument of Christian architecture, Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris. Just a few days before I had discussed with my two homeschool co-op classes about Pope Benedict XVI’s charge to be “custodians of beauty”. In his address to artists in 2009 he tasked artists with the responsibility of being “custodians of beauty”. I strongly believe the call is to all of us.

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Architectural Paintings Sacred Spaces Presence

Sacred Architecture Paintings: Building Inspiration

By Architecture, Art and Faith, Exhibits and Events, Painting, Italy

The exteriors of local churches shape the landscape of daily life-about-town, but their interiors have helped shape spiritual lives for centuries. In Europe, cavernous sacred spaces were built for throngs of religious activity, but now hold only shadows of those presences. The shapes of archways reaching towards heaven, the rhythm of dark and light passing through complex spaces inspire a sense of quiet awe and shadowy mystery.

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oil painting Basilica of St Benedict after the earthquakes

The Monks of Norcia: Re-Building Tradition after the Earthquakes

By Architecture, Art and Faith, Exhibits and Events, Italy

These new paintings have become my own reflection on the work of rebuilding tradition. One commemorates the Basilica as it looked before the earthquake. The second depicts it in its currently ruined state. One painting was commissioned by a Catholic, the other by a Protestant, and so together they are a witness to the influence of the great Saint Benedict on Christian life.

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Park Street Arts Exhibit: Pilgrimage

By Architecture, Art and Faith, Exhibits and Events, PaintingNo Comments

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

Convergence Exhibit – Reception March 23

By Architecture, Art and Faith, Exhibits and Events, PaintingNo Comments

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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Church of the Transfiguration, Cape Cod Art Tour

By Architecture, Art and FaithNo Comments

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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stpeters-sm

In honor of John Paul II on his Beatification

By Architecture, Art and Faith, ItalyNo Comments

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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Cover of Ruminate Magazine

Sound and Silence

By Architecture, Art and Faith, Exhibits and Events, Painting, Press and PublicationsNo Comments

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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New Church Interior Drawings

By Architecture, Drawing4 Comments

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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Finished Commission for Jamaica Plain Parish

By Architecture, Commissions, PaintingNo Comments

I am pleased to be able to share the completed painting for Saint Thomas Aquinas Parish in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. I worked on this painting through the spring and finally finished in July. I love being able to share my love for church architecture with a living community. The painting has been printed into notecards for sale for the benefit of the parish.

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