ABOUT THE ARTIST
- ABOUT THE ARTIST: DAVID MYERS
- Mebane, NC, United States
- My wife Emily and I currently live in Mebane, NC with our son Evan. I am actively accepting commissions at this time. You may request work by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I currently charge $200 for 11x14 drawings and $150 for 8x10s. I sell prints of my work for $25 for 11x14 and $15 for 8x10. I hope that you will enjoy the works here displayed, and that you will contact me with your comments at email@example.com - January 5th, 2015
Sunday, April 17, 2016
This commission I just completed this evening of a beautiful paint horse and his owner....
Monday, January 05, 2015
This is one of my heroes, Dr. Jay Arena, whom I was able to learn about thanks to my good friends, his Granddaughter Megan Smith and his daughter Jeannie Arena-Smith. I am very grateful that they shared their deep reverence and love for Dr. Arena with me. He is truly a heroic figure who has left a shining legacy for Duke Medicine to live up to. I am going to be using this drawing of Dr. Arena for a poster, and probably some trainings here at Duke related to our "Living Our Values" campaign. Dr. Arena, a "relentless advocate for children," was an absolute dynamo of patient safety as a Pediatrician, and his work led to many advances in safety for patients in general, the most notable of these being the establishment of the first poison control centers in our country, and the development of the child proof safety cap. I am pasting a great write up about one of Dr. Arena's many crusades on behalf of pediatric patients. Of note, Dr. Arena was a devout Catholic and a Daily Mass attendee. The image I thought was perfect, because it captures Dr. Arena's love for his patients. ----- In May 1948 two children were admitted to Duke Hospital within two days, one two and the other four years old. Each had eaten a full bottle of the newly developed St. Joseph’s flavored aspirin for children as if the pills were candy. Both died from aspirin poisoning, as did more than 400 children across the nation in two years. Jay M. Arena, MD, professor of pediatrics at Duke and a relentless advocate for children, called Abe Plough, the president of Plough, Inc., makers of St. Joseph’s aspirin, to talk with him about the deaths he had just witnessed. When Plough said that he had heard rumors that children had died from their product, Arena exploded into the phone that it wasn’t a rumor but a sad fact. Their flavored aspirin was a wonderful product, but it caused problems everywhere, and the answer might be as simple as developing safety closures for aspirin bottles. Plough ordered his company to develop safety caps, which Arena tested with the families of his young patients in Durham. He recommended the one cap he believed was best, and Plough followed his advice. Children’s deaths from aspirin poisoning fell immediately. Later Arena convinced Plough to lower the number of tablets in each bottle from 100 to 35 and to reduce the dose in each tablet down to 1 1/2 grains, making an entire bottle non-lethal for a child of two. Their work led to Congress enacting laws in 1972 requiring that all medications be put in bottles with safety closures unless a consumer requested otherwise. The law also mandated that all household products be sold in containers with safety closures and proper labeling. Arena considered the legislation his most satisfying accomplishment.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
This drawing is for a student I met when I came to speak at a local middle school about my art. He asked me my prices at the time, and I told him. It hadn't dawned on me that he was asking because he wanted to buy a drawing. Later, his art teacher explained that he wanted a drawing of his father that he could give to his mother on Mother's Day. His father, a police officer, had died in the line of duty. I told the art teacher that I would be doing this drawing for free and that I would get it done in time for Mother's day. In true me fashion, I did the entire drawing last night in one sitting. This is the result. I pray that this drawing of this great husband and father will be a comfort to his wife on Mother's day, and that his boys will be happy with the work. May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Pray for all of our service men and women. Please enjoy this time lapse of the work. 5 & 1/2 hours total time spent, condensed to 26 seconds:
P.S. - The family now has the drawing and my wife was there to present the finished work to the young man who requested it. He immediately had Emily take him to his brother's class so that he would be able to show it to his brother. My wife said he grinned from ear to ear and kept saying how much it looked like his dad. Please pray for this family. I am honored and grateful to have the opportunity to give this to him and also to his mother and his brother, and to know that he was happy with it. It makes my heart sing. Ultimately, here was a good hearted kid whose father taught him a lot in the short time he had with him, and he probably walks around every day wondering how he can comfort his mother. The idea for the drawing was his. I just was lucky enough to be the instrument.
Monday, April 16, 2012
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Father Price's cause for Beatification and Canonization is now underway in its "Diocesan" stage here in the Diocese of Raleigh. North Carolina is where Father Price grew up, was ordained, and where he spent the first stages of his remarkable priestly life. If Father Price's achievements were limited to his time in his home state, they would be sufficient to mark him as a Priest of singular, heroic virtue. He was a dynamo of charitable and apostolic work, and deeply loved the people of North Carolina, Catholic and non-Catholics alike. It was his love for his home and her people that so charmed the men and women of the Old North State. I believe that his work here, especially his evangelical spirit and his charity, should be more widely known by the people of our Diocese, and I hope that his cause will achieve this if nothing else. His life still inspires and speaks to the missionary nature of the Church in North Carolina. Indeed, I believe that his labors here testify to his Sainthood, just as his later achievements would on a global scale.
Here is a Saintly Priest worth knowing and befriending. I hope that you will consider ordering his biography, "The Tarheel Apostle" which is available in reprint from Amazon. If you are from the State of North Carolina, or if you have spent any time here, you will be charmed by the familiar places and history recounted in its pages. You will especially be charmed by the simplicity of this man, who had little regard for his clothes, his appearance, or the limitations that keep most people from achieving great things. He loved all, especially those who misunderstood and persecuted him, and he patiently, persistently, and irresistibly convinced them of his goodness, and also of the love he carried for the people of North Carolina. My prayer is that all of us will come to know him better as his cause proceeds here in our local Church.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Kyle Robert Willis who's awesome self portrait is on his website! Man, a person can really tell how much older he is than the last time he drew himself! I drew my face. I let my beard draw itself. 2 Versions.
Quick Sketch #3: Jax Teller. (unfinished) If I got the likeness on this one the ladies are sure to swoon. Charlie Hunnam's character on Sons of Anarchy is a favorite among those of the fairer sex. And he's pretty bad ass too. Still need to draw his cut. Did what you see during lunch. Another 5x7. Enjoying these more spontaneous exercises.
Quick Sketch #5 - Probably my favorite so far! Walton Goggins has made Boyd Crowder (JUSTIFIED on FX) one of my favorite TV characters of all time, and he's a tie with the lead character for my favorite character on Justified. The thick Kentucky accent, the sinister, humorous, religious, criminal, and ultimately confusing path of this character - these are the things that give this show its charm. Hope you like this sketch as much as I do! Its definitely more gestural than most of my work, and I did it in a little under an hour. Lots of fun for a warm up.
Quick Sketch #2: Raylan Givens - I'll let my fellow JUSTIFIED fans decide if I got the likeness. Put the final touches on while listening to "Simple Man" by Charlie Daniels. Thought that was appropriate. Love this character brought to life by Timothy Olyphant and the writing of Elmore Leonard.
Friday, December 30, 2011
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
THE GLORY OF THE MASS : A WORK IN PROGRESS FOR A RECENTLY ORDAINED FRIEND, A FITTING SUBJECT FOR THE YEAR OF THE PRIEST
The image is meant to be an exposition of the experience of the Priest and the very great responsibility that is his to minister to all of God's Children, facilitating their lives in Christ through the Ancient Tradition and Faith of the Church. The Priest does this especially by first cultivating a profound friendship with Christ, especially through personal prayer and frequenting of the Scriptures. He learns from the great saints who have gone before us in faith, many of whom he has developed a special veneration for. They are literally his heroes, and the example and experience of their faith informs his own. He speaks to them and asks for their prayers, as he reads their writings and the stories of their lives. He communicates the insights he gains from his own prayer, the Gospels, and the tradition of the Church to the People of God.
The Saints have been especially important to my recently ordained friend, and they have enriched his life greatly. He has also obviously been enriched by his varied experiences of ministry to many different groups and individuals during the course of his formation. He wanted the image to include an image of a Priest offering Mass to a congregation made up of several different types of persons, many of whom he reverences (such as law enforcement or firemen) or has learned from in a special way during the course of his formation in the Priesthood. In the upper portion of the drawing is a small "who's who" of saints, many specifically requested by my friend, who has learned from each of these great men and women of the Church.
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
This is a drawing of William Michael Teachey. He was and is a beloved son, brother, and friend, and he was and is my wife's best friend. Will was so good to my wife in his life that even I wouldn't dare to dispute his claim to the title "best friend." As it turns out, he was also a performer whenever there was a crowd to laugh, and I feel blessed to have been able to experience his humor and his presence.
I have thought of Will even more often than usual of late, and I felt that although I knew it would be hard for Emily, it was high time that we had a special place in our home (besides the many small photographs of him we already have) to honor his memory and the joy and happiness that he brought to so many family and friends. I have long had the idea of this drawing on my heart, and felt that Emily would be ready to receive a new portrait of her friend.
I only met Will a handful of times, but every time we crossed paths I laughed and was quickly able to understand why Emily loves him so much. As I have journeyed with Emily as her husband I feel that I have truly come to know Will from her own precious memories of his friendship. I love Will Teachey for the same reason that I love his whole family and hers - He loves my wife, and he was good to her at the most difficult times of her life. For that I am eternally grateful. We cherish his memory and he will never be forgotten.
This portrait was rendered from a small photograph we have which is very special to Emily, of her "loving on him" before he headed off to the Prom. I have always been drawn to that photo of him. I knew that I wanted to make it the inspiration for this portrait. I hope that it gives some glimmer of the eternal joy that he already shares with Our Heavenly Father.
Many thanks to Will's father and mother, who gave their blessing that this drawing of their beloved son should be shared in this venue. We love you both very much! And by the way, the drawing doesn't do justice to just how good lookin' the dude really was. Many thanks Will! God love and bless you forever.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
I have to say this is the most fun I have had drawing since I was in High School. My old pal Chris Jefferies will remember as I did while drawing the many times that we would sit around a draw comic book characters and the like. I don't do this kind of free flowing work enough, and it was a world of fun. I just quickly found photos to work from and put pencil to paper. I love it when a creative work organically comes together. This drawing and "The Summit"are like that. Look for more comic-style art in the future!
Saturday, December 05, 2009
This drawing is of my very dear friend, Father Gregory Plow, T.O.R. and is intended for use in my newest "Year of the Priest" poster. Father Gregory and I have been best friends since my Sophomore year of college, when we met each other at a time when both of us were experiencing a conversion back to the faiths in which we were raised. Father Gregory was raised a Catholic, and I was raised in the Southern Baptist tradition. What endeared Father Gregory to me, then, as now, was his absolute genuineness, generosity, and contagious enthusiasm. When I met him, I could easily have said "Here is an Israelite in whom there is no guile." He is a man, now a Priest, who is alive with the Joy of the Holy Spirit. He has been that way as long as I have known him.
There were many roads which carried me towards the Catholic faith: Art, History, Scripture, Tradition, etc... But of all the things that God used to give me this precious gift, our friendship and spiritual brotherhood were the most vital. Years later, when I finally made the decision to come into the Church, I was also diagnosed with cancer. Father Gregory and his mother Jean were my co-sponsors, and were present when I was confirmed in my hospital bed by a local Priest. Over the next nine months, they came to the hospital and brought communion whenever I was inpatient, and took turns taking me to daily Mass when I was at home. This is only one of the examples of why I am so indebted to the generosity and friendship that Father Gregory extends to everyone he meets. He is a Priest's Priest, and he was meant to be a Priest. I chose to use his image in this new poster because Father Gregory is the perfect "poster boy" for the Priesthood.
Frank Bua took the photo that this drawing was rendered from. Frank caught this shot of Father Gregory at his "Mass of Thanksgiving," that is, his first Mass as a Priest. The image portrays Father incensing the Gospel before proclaiming its message to the People of God. I was immediately struck by the grace and symmetry of the image. Frank has a great eye, and Father Gregory's manner of offering Mass (with the order and precision of a mathematician - he is one) lends itself to this type of image. It is interesting that the poster focuses on the mandate by Christ to "preach the Gospel to every creature," because Father Gregory is a Franciscan of the Third Order Regular, and Saint Francis is famous, among other things, for preaching to creatures (birds) when humans wouldn't listen, and for his oft quoted line "preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary."
The image can be seen as an icon of the intense relationship which exists between the Priest and the Gospels. The Priest is commissioned by Christ to embrace the Gospels, and to open Christ's words to us in their proclamation and also in his preaching. The Proclamation of the Gospel is so sacred that incense is used. I found an excerpt from a website authored by the Abbot of a Monastery. His description of this rite is very beautiful, and explains well the significance of incense in the context of the Mass, especially with reference to the Gospels:
"What are we expressing with this incensing of the Gospel Book? It is a sign of devotion toward these holy words of and about our Savior, which have been preserved for nearly 2000 years, in reverence and love. As the sweet smoke (always first blessed by the priest) rises toward and surrounds the holy book, we are acknowledging: these are the words that God spoke when He became man and walked on this earth; this is the story of our salvation; here is the promise of everlasting life; here is the testimony of God’s love for us."
You can find the entire article at:
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
This drawing is a companion to an earlier drawing of the same subject. Blessed Miguel Pro (seen in this image kneeling in prayer before his execution by firing squad) was a martyr for the Catholic Faith in Mexico during the early 1900's. He died in 1927 after very successfully helping faithful Catholics to practice their faith in secret.
At that time in Mexico the government was militantly anti-Catholic, and this anti-Catholicism, which began when Mexico declared independence from Spain, had reached a fever pitch. Father Pro was extremely clever and even humorous in the creative ways that he eluded the authorities and made his way around the towns to say Mass. Apparently he took great enjoyment from sketching new disguises and characters he might play. (dressing like a Priest would get you jail time or worse) When an attempt was made on the life of the Mexican President, the government used this as a pretext to arrest Blessed Miguel Pro and his brother, accusing them of being involved in the plot. This was done despite the fact that the actual perpetrator, who was also captured, vehemently denied their involvement.
Blessed Miguel Pro was executed by firing squad, and his execution was meticulously photographed, including a point blank gunshot by an officer when the firing squad failed to kill this faithful priest. It was thought that the distribution of these photographs would stir up fear and weaken the Catholic rebellion. They had quite the opposite effect. In this image Blessed Miguel is shown at prayer, clutching a crucifix in one hand and a Rosary in the other. When he stood to be executed, he lifted his arms in the shape of a cross (see earlier drawing) and prayed "May God forgive you, as I do. Viva Christo Rey!" (Long Live Christ the King)
Monday, June 01, 2009
When I was trying to think of what Ron would enjoy seeing in a drawing, I thought of the usual things, NASCAR, Oklahoma, Chevy Trucks, hunting, etc. but then remembered that the one thing most precious to Ron is his family, both immediate and extended, and I remembered this little photo on the mantle in his home. It shows a very young Ron Nimmo (on the left) standing with his baby sister Cathy and his brother Joe. Joe is and was a tank. From what I have heard, "Ron would start fights.... Joe finished them." To be fair, Ron usually didn't need the back up, but Joe was apparently always ready to assist at need. :) I love the picture and hope the drawing will be special for Ron, for his folks, and for his brother and sister.
You can see images from the wedding at http://www.photobiz.com/slideshowbiz/slideshow.cfm?slideshowID=64442&photographerID=10703
These two drawings, both in their beginning stages, are intended for The Year of the Priest - my vision is to have the full image of these great priests of the Church, Archbishop Fulton Sheen (his cause for beatification is underway) and Saint John Vianney (Patron Saint of all priests) in the lower corner of two larger posters, with a quote (on the priesthood) from the person depicted taking up a larger part of the poster.
This is the very beginning of a drawing I am doing of Archbishop Fulton Sheen for the Year of the Priest. My plan is to draw portraits of great Catholic Priests, not necessarily all confirmed saints, but Priest's Priests. Archbishop Sheen is such a figure. Frankly, he is the definition of the saying "They don't make 'em like that anymore."
Archbishop Sheen is the total package - his writings are beautiful, filled with meditations on the Christian life and Christ Himself that reveal a life spent in prayer. His writings and his teachings, shared by radio and television, are still profound and illuminating insights into Theology, Philosophy, Psychology, Poetry, Art, Music, Politics, and all aspects of human culture. Most significant to me are his insights into the Gospel, revealed in his masterpiece, "The Life of Christ." The Church cherishes his memory for these reasons as well as the example of Priestly heroism that his life constantly bore witness to. His cause for canonization is underway and I for one pray for it, if for no other reason than that more people might be exposed to his wisdom, humor, and desire to help each of us live lives of true goodness.
Archbishop Sheen is famous in the world and the Church for his celebrated Television Series "Life is Worth Living." Ed Sullivan, when he came to the halfway mark of his show, would always welcome the viewers who had just finished watching Bishop Sheen's program. Imagine! A Bishop of the Catholic Church with a television show so popular it rivaled "The Late Show" of its time. I hope you will take a moment to experience a sample of Archbishop Sheen's show. He is a very rare example of a man whose speech is as brilliant and gripping as his writing, and/or vice versa. A true orator. Here is a great clip from a 1957 episode of "Life is Worth Living." It is a good example of how seamless Bishop Sheen's transitions were as he moved from tenderness and humor to serious discourse and even righteous anger when appropriate. Profundity like this is rare today.
He tells a good story at the beginning of the show about a letter from the mother of one of his younger viewers:
Saint John Vianney
This is very early (and highly edited) progress on a drawing of Saint John Vianney that I decided to do as part of a series for "The Year of the Priest."
I wanted to do this drawing in part because I LOVE Saint John Vianney, but also because there really aren't that many representations of the Saint, and the best ones are not in paint or even naturalistic images, but stained glass. The paintings that probably hit closest to the mark portray this Patron Saint of Priests as very somber and grim, but his words, recorded in most cases by others, paint a picture of a man caught up in the Joy of God. This is what I wanted to portray in my work - I hope that it will be well received, but I confess it has frustrated me more than a little while working on it - let me know what you think - sometimes the artist is too close to really see the work.
Given the shortage of (good) images of Saint John Vianney, I searched for photos and/or persons who seem to resemble existing depictions of the Cure of Ars, but who also have expressions of joy and or mirth. Saint John Vianney was famous for saying "If we knew how much God loves us, we would die from sheer joy."
I found, I think the perfect countenance to work from. I used an actor in this case, as I did with my recent drawing of Saint Michael. David Kelly was in the great Irish Comedy, "Waking Ned Devine," and there is a beautiful scene where his character, Michael O'Sullivan, is hearing his dearest friend express his great regard for him. He looks up at him with a beautiful expression of calm joy, tears just welling in his eyes. Its a wonderful scene. I wanted to capture some of the Joy of Saint John Vianney in the way that Michael O'Sullivan's joy was captured by the director and actors of Waking Ned Devine. Hopefully, it is an expression of joy inspired by the knowledge of how much one is loved.
Monday, May 25, 2009
I am so excited to be able to share with you a great opportunity that I recently had to have my work featured in the cultural magazine “Saint Austin Review,” which is published by Ave Maria University and edited by Joseph Pearce. I was able to meet Professor Pearce at the Ignited By Truth Catholic Conference this year, and shared a portrait of him that I completed for the conference. He was EXTREMELY gracious and complimentary of my work and asked if he might contact me to do an interview with me for this magazine. Above are the first two pages. (The third follows) Below is the interview.
Joseph Pearce: We met at this year's Ignited by Truth conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, at which 2,500 enthusiastic Catholics heard a number of talks centred on the need to evangelize today's secular culture. What are your views on the evangelizing power of beauty?
David Myers: As you noted in your wonderful talk on this subject, beauty pierces the hearts of people rather than their thought, and is therefore very important if the culture we live in is to be drawn to the truth. This is especially true now when the arguments of those who oppose Gospel values are founded so often on emotional arguments that are not arguments at all. The emotive impact of audio and/or visual art that is at once beautiful, well informed by the Gospels, and tailored to the attention span of our culture, can be a spark or a catalyst that leads towards conversion. The most powerful recent example of such art's power to turn the heart and mind of a debased culture to the Lord has to be Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ." The Gospels, like their Author, are deeply beautiful. Saint John's Gospel is perhaps the most beautiful and certainly the most poetic. "We saw His glory, the glory as of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth." The beauty of Christ, of His teaching, and especially of His Love, drew the world to Him.
JP: As an artist, how do you see the role of the visual arts in evangelizing today's culture?
DM: As (I think) Saint Therese says of the prayers she made to God, artists of every discipline have the ability to "shoot little arrows of beauty" into the hearts of people, hopefully ones that will remind them of all that they may have believed to be lost. In a world bombarded by grotesque images, perverted images, and meaningless images, it is the artist's calling to communicate in his art the true, the good, and the beautiful. When he does this, casting his pearls out into the darkness, prodigal sons unknown to him may leave the husks and the swine, and turn towards this new "epiphany of beauty" that they have either forgotten, ignored, or been robbed of. 80% of the Billboards you will see on your drive home are the darkness. True Christian art, in paint, stone, glass, film and song, is the light.
JP: What is the role of the Catholic artist in today's culture? What do you perceive your own vocation to be? What is the nature of your relationship with God in connection to your creative work?
DM: I have come to believe that to be an artist means to be a servant of all, and especially of God. "Art for art's sake" is a blasphemous term in my opinion. This servanthood is true in all aspects of the artists work from the earliest days of his development to the maturity of his skill, for in order to communicate (which all true art must) to an audience, the artist must be obedient to what he sees, for it is in the created world that the artist will find his vocabulary for communicating inspiration to a hungry world. I love the words that are put into Raphael's mouth when he speaks to Michelangelo in the film "The Agony and the Ecstacy:" "But what are we artists but harlots, peddling beauty at the doorsteps of the mighty?" Those who would put the word "elite" next to art have lost the true meaning and purpose of art. This is why my site has as its address "artisservant.blogspot.com “artisservant.blogspot.com." Because art IS servant.
I firmly believe that art is meant to serve others, especially in lifting the hearts of people, through "ephiphanies of beauty," (John Paul II's letter to artists) to the contemplation and the glory of God. The artist participates in a unique way in the inspiration of the Creator of all things, and knows something of His joy in the act of creation, for "the act of creation is an act of love."(The Agony and the Ecstacy) This act is essentially bound up with the mystery of the Incarnation of Jesus, in which what had been invisible was made visible in His person, His life and work, and finally in His death and resurrection. The artist is exhorted by the very perception of his gift to its service. Art is not merely, nor should it ever be, a vehicle for selfish ends or cheap shock and awe, but it must seek to give joy to the lives of others. The artist is then in the end merely a servant of truth, beauty, and goodness, and his work must serve to convey these to a wider audience. "Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 15-16)I believe that the artist finds in the lives of Jesus, and of His foster father Joseph, essential role models, especially in their hidden life at Nazareth. Though very little is handed down to us in the Gospels or in tradition illuminating this period in Jesus' life, I believe that this hidden, simple, carpenter's life of "working quietly" (2 Thessalonians 3:11) can be a model for all artists, in which delight is daily sought in the manifestation of beauty in wood, paint, charcoal, dance, the stage, and music. This is a life of humility, where the artist freely accepts that this world, including his own work, "will pass away," (Matt. 24:35) but what it points to never will. Obedience to inspiration, especially as it is inspired by God's Word (itself the revelatory self-expression of God) is the artist's highest calling.
JP: Who has been particularly influential in your own development as an artist?
DM: There are so many people, both the heroes that I have never met but studied, and those that I have had the blessing to call my friends. Of the latter group, I would place my Art History professors at the front of the lineup. Dr. Kemille Moore, Dr. John Myers, and in a special way, Dr. Anthony F. Janson (of Janson's History of Art) each helped me to experience more richly than I could in any studio the highest ideals of art, as well as its greatest achievements. Their love for art was communicated to me, along with my own growing awareness of what moved me most in art. It is this that I aspire to communicate in my work. I am indebted also to Leslie, my babysitter, who, when I was in first grade, inspired me to pick up my pencil and draw. My favorite artist of all history is Michelangelo, but I must qualify this answer. For the "Michelangelo" I refer to are actually two Michelangelos, one being the most famous, the other being Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. I believe that both artists have deeply influenced my own work and my made me aware of the subtleties that make for meaningful, compelling art, as well as the more verbose elements that give it fire, passion, and the ability to expand the horizons of others. I am most recently indebted to the work and the advice of Cameron Smith, a great Catholic artist, who, in one conversation, completely revolutionized my drawing technique. It is as "clear as the summer sun" to anyone who looks that my work owes as much to Cameron as the work of Raphael did to that of Michelangelo. Last, but certainly not least, I owe so much to my good wife, who puts up with the ungodly hours of the artist, the all nighters, and the hours stolen from her to contribute to my growing body of work. She teaches me daily what it means to sacrifice for those we love, and to make their dreams our own.
JP: Your excellent website (www.artisservant.blogspot.com) highlights a cross-section of your work, including portraits of contemporary Catholics and portraits of the saints. Why were you inspired to work in portraiture in particular?
DM: Unfortunately, being an art history major and being lazy combined in my college years to prevent me from developing very much in the areas of painting and sculpture. However, I did develop and gain some mastery in life drawing. Professor Donald Furst taught me how to draw from life and to be obedient to what my eye saw before me. He also gave me the very best advice I have ever received in the area of art. I was blessed to receive a scholarship to study in Rome for a summer, and Professor Furst told me: "Take a sketchbook with you. Resist the temptation to snap photos and move on. Each day pick something, a statue or other work of art, that you will commit to sit down in front of and draw. You will forget so much about the photographs, but you will remember everything you experienced when you were drawing." He was so right about this, and this experience of drawing for a full month in Italy taught me more about drawing and what was possible for this medium than any of the classes I had attended. Ultimately, I work in portraiture and life drawing because it is the skill I have been able (I believe) to master to an extent that makes me capable of producing "fine art" in charcoal and graphite. It is very important for the artist to be able to convey the good and the true in the most beautiful way possible. This is why I choose the most suitable way my skill and my training currently affords me.
JP: I was particularly struck by your artistic representation of the Stations of the Cross. Could you explain your relationship, as an artist, with such monumental spiritual themes? Is there something truly spiritual, or even prayerful, in the creative process when working on such themes?
DM: Without a doubt. I began working on the Stations of the Cross over four years ago at the beginning of Lent. You will remember that this was wen the Passion of the Christ came to the theaters. I was so moved by this MASTERPIECE, that I felt compelled to make the drawing of the stations part of my Lenten journey, directly inspired by the film. I got pretty far that first Lent, but did not complete the stations. Those first stations and those that followed opened my awareness to the power of art to move the heart of the artist who makes it as well as his audience. Each station became a desert in which I could walk and think about the subject I was illustrating, and it was always a contemplative experience. Each Lent the wave came closer to the shore, until in this past year I was able to complete the project. The final series is somewhat motley, as it draws from several different sources, including some works by Tissot and Caravaggio. It also serves as a visual biography of the development of my style as I have slowly over the last four years left charcoal behind to focus almost exclusively on works in graphite. It is profoundly humbling to undertake the illustration of Christ's life or any given aspect of it, and I find that I get so much more out of the beautiful experience of drawing such themes than my audience does, or seems to. "We saw His Glory, the Glory as of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth."
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
The late Cardinal Lustiger, who is here portrayed, was a very dear friend of the Papal Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Pietro Sambi. Lustiger was a Jewish convert to Christianity and became the only Jewish convert in modern times to become a bishop in the Catholic Church. He was archbishop of Paris for many years before retiring in the early 1980s and was made a Cardinal by John Paul II in 1983. When I say he is known as the only Jewish convert in modern times to have become a bishop I believe what is actually meant is that not since Peter and the other Apostles has there been a Jewish convert to Catholicism who has been consecrated Bishop. I may be wrong - you Catholic P.I.'s out there can correct me ;)
What IS certain is that for his faith in Christ Cardinal Lustiger sacrificed much, being disowned by his family and many of the Jewish people. On top of this he experienced distrust from many of his Christian brethren because of his Jewish origins. He isn't shown carrying the cross because of this, but his life certainly fulfilled Jesus' words ''he who would my disciple be, let him take up his cross and follow Me.'' Indeed, by suffering through these things, the Cardinal became a great force of ecumenism between the Jewish and Catholic faiths.
He is carrying the cross in the drawing because the photograph I worked from shows the Cardinal taking part in a ''way of the cross'' procession in which several different people take turns carrying the cross from station to station in a meditation on Christ's sacrifice for all of us. In the original photo you can see others helping him with the burden. This image was chosen to work from because it was one of the Papal Nuncio's favorite images of his old friend, whom it is clear he loved very much. Pray that God will bless this image to be a reminder to the Archbishop of his great friend. Theirs seems to have been a shining example of Christian fraternity and charity.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
This image will also be used for a friend's Ordination this Spring, and I hope it may be of some use to our local Diocese or parishes. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
I am especially proud of the seal you see that anchors the image - the phrase in latin is "You are a Priest Forever," and is shown in the Latin Vulgate translation of that verse. The symbol in the middle is a traditional one for the "Holy Name of Jesus," and the nails and the Cross represent Christ's Sacrifice, which Priests and all Christians are called to share in. The seal took a long time to put together, but it was worth it!
Friday, April 10, 2009
God continues to richly bless my poor work, and I want to take this moment of Holy Week to express my profound gratitude to the congregation of Crosspoint Church in Cary, North Carolina for their use of the Stations of the Cross I finally completed last year. This series represents about four years of work. I began the work as a private meditation that I continued with each passing Lent, but I have hoped that it might one day be placed in a setting where it might benefit the prayer of fellow Christians. I am deeply grateful to the leadership of Crosspoint for their valuation of my work and their desire to place it in a truly beautiful setting.
The work was enlarged to a size of about 2 x 3 feet and I was very excited to see how well the originals transferred to this much larger format. It fit the space perfectly!
As you can see in the video and the photos I have posted, the lighting and the music were perfectly suited to the subject matter, and combined to create a wonderful space for meditation on the suffering of Christ. The decision to loop music from the soundtrack of “The Passion of the Christ” was especially ingenious I thought, and set the tone immediately as you approached the space. I was humbled and honored to see my work in this setting, as it was so greatly inspired by Mel Gibson’s masterpiece of faith. You will see that I also drew from great works of art that have illustrated the Passion through the centuries, particularly the work of Caravaggio, whose paintings obviously contributed to Mel Gibson’s vision of the Passion.
Above all, I was moved almost to tears to see this work so thoughtfully considered by faithful souls devoted to Christ and His Cross. I cannot express my gratitude sufficiently for this amazing opportunity. Jesus, Son of God and Savior of the World, have mercy on me a sinner. We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You, for by Your Holy Cross You have Redeemed the world.
Sunday, April 05, 2009
"The centrality of Christ leads to a correct valuation of ordained ministry." - Pope Benedict XVI.
The Holy Father has decided to name the coming year "The Year of the Priest," and is asking all Catholics, especially the Church's Priests, seminarians, and priestly candidates to focus their attention on the unique importance of our ordained ministers and the continuation of Christ's ministry on earth through them. The Pope said in his remarks on this decision that without priestly ministry, there would be no Eucharist, no mission and even no church. I was blessed to have been asked by a very good friend of mine, a priest I have known for many years, to complete this drawing as an emblem of the year for use in publications of his own (and hopefully of our Diocese) drawing attention to the intention of this upcoming year of reflection. I have included both the original composition and one that I added text to. I hope you are as pleased with the result as I am!
Friday, March 27, 2009
This is a somewhat lesser version of a video I posted to my facebook profile. Unfortunately the "embed video" option no longer seems to work. Hopefully I will be able to post a better version soon. I put together this tribute to Saint Thomas More and Saint John Fisher from inspiring scenes taken from the incredible show "The Tudors." I intend no copyright infringement, I have simply been so taken with the series and especially with its portrayal of these heroes of the faith that I hope that everyone will get the chance to watch the whole series themselves. If you love history, you will LOVE it. Catholics and other Christians will not be disappointed, as all the players in the English Reformation are treated fairly. I have had a great love for Saint Thomas More ever since seeing Paul Scofield in "A Man for All Seasons," and since then have read about his life and asked his intercession, especially when I had to make difficult decisions. Although I would still choose "A Man for All Seasons" in the scenes which are identical or nearly so, I am still very grateful that "The Tudors" has given an even more thorough cinematic portrayal of these great men. I shudder when I see how unlike them I am. May their example, as it has now for centuries, inspire all of us to become, like them, people who do what is right, no matter the cost.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
This is only a very little progress on a much larger drawing I am undertaking as a Lenten meditation of my own for this year, but may not complete before Easter. The scene is Christ seated on a rock alone in the wilderness, surrounded by stillness, silence, and the harshness of the wild. The drawing is a copy of the very best painting I have ever seen of this subject, by the great Russian painter of the 19th Century, Ivan Kramskoy. You can see in Christ's eyes the fatigue of the fast and the grim understanding of all that his mission to redeem the world will cost. Christ has his battle face on, because that is why he went out into the desert: "To be tempted by the Devil." He went into the desert to face down every kind of evil the world has known through the weakness and sinfulness of man. Kramskoy's painting captures the seriousness of this moment, and also the paradoxical beauty of the lonely deserted places where we can be quiet, and hear the "still, small voice" of God. I love the ruggedness of the Christ Kramskoy envisions in his masterpiece. Move over Bear Grylls. Hopefully I will be able to complete this work before Lent is over.
Monday, March 16, 2009
This is the final piece for a request I was very happy to receive from a family who found this website and enjoyed some of my portraits of beloved saints. This family has a deep devotion to two Saintly figures in very recent Church memory: Saint Gianna Beretta Molla and Blessed Miguel Pro. You can read my own words about these two holy people at the links attached to their names in the previous sentence. One thing I might not have mentioned about Blessed Miguel is that he apparently also liked to sketch! He would sketch disguises that he would subsequently use to elude the authorities while visiting Catholic families in secret. The portrait is taken from a mug shot of the Priest shortly before he was executed by the corrupt government of the time. I have taken the liberty of removing the Martyr from the tie and cardigan he was forced to wear as an outlaw Priest, and have placed him in the Jesuit clerics he would have worn before going underground in his ministry. The second image is a proposed gathering together of the three drawings I have done to illustrate this family's devotion to Saint Gianna and Blessed Miguel. In the latter's words on the day of his death: "VIVA CHRISTO REY!!" ("Long live Christ the King!")
Sunday, February 22, 2009
This statue of Saint Matthew stands in one of the huge niches dedicated to the Apostles in the Pilgrim Church of Saint John Lateran in Rome. When I visited Rome in the summer of 2001, I was immediately drawn to it, and spent hours sketching it there in the bascilica. Matthew is pictured resolutely gripping the Gospel of Christ with his strong arms, while simultaneously triumphing over his former life (and the love of money) by trodding it under foot. It is truly a stunning image, especially when you are able to see it in person. It is several times larger than life.
This image is not finished, as I will be adding a backdrop of sorts, mostly darker hues to bring out the image of Matthew, much as I did in the image of Saint Paul that I completed last year. The original of this drawing is on a 14'' x 18'' piece of paper. Once it is completed, I am hopeful that I will be able to have it matted, framed, and placed in the gallery at Bull City Art and Frame.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Father Gregory is a Franciscan of the Third Order Regular, and we came to know each other in college. His faith had a huge impact in my life and was the catalyst to my eventual conversion to the Catholic Faith. He is the most genuine person I have ever had the pleasure to call my friend. He is truly "an Israelite in whom there is no guile." Father Gregory was ordained last year and has spent this first year of priesthood ministering to college students at Franciscan University of Steubenville.
I hope to use this drawing of Father Gregory (which is of him incensing the Gospel - note the lighter areas on the left of his face from the smoke passing in front of him) as part of a poster that I hope to put together highlighting Vocations to the Priesthood and Religious life for our Diocese. I am very pleased with this likeness of Father Gregory, and hope that those who know him will be too!
The Vocation of the Artist
You will find included in this site examples of my own work, as well as links to other sites which
celebrate the arts, and especially challenge the artist to reach the fullness of his own abilities
in the service of something greater than him or his work. I hope that you will enjoy this site, and
take full advantage of its links, especially the Letter to Artists of our Holy Father (of beloved memory) John Paul II. Thank you for your comments and your consideration of this website.