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St. Bernard of Clairvaux

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Initial ideas for St. Bernard

What I don’t know about Saint Bernard of Clairvaux far out measures what I do know, and I am trying to remedy that, but I do feel compelled to find his eternal voice still sounding within the small parish that bears his name.

This best describes the basis of my research and the idea that motivated it. How to put that idea into a painting and reach its logical conclusion will be a test of the painting and the painter.

So, the first thing to do is meet, get some idea if this idea is even viable. Meet to see if Saint B. is alive and well and living on Tangelo Drive. And, after much deliberation, conversation and a history lesson, we discovered that he might be.

Here’s what we think.

The paintings that will greet our parish will be a good size, 3’ x 5’ at the minimum, vertical, one for each entry. Painted with a monochromatic palette of gold and browns keeping within the palette of our church. This minimal use of color also calls to mind the simplistic lifestyle of Bernard. The style is a type of geometric realism. That is, the wardrobes and surroundings will have a very linear depiction but the characters themselves will be more fluid, more real. I can show you a picture.

The first painting is a depiction of Bernard writing. Whoa, that’s a hard one. Many paintings done of this, Bernard gazing into the heavens as he’s writing in his chapel, Angels and Mary looking down upon him. But it’s a good idea.

We’ll find Bernard sitting outdoors with a stump for a desk, a rock, his chair, trees for a chapel. He looks away for a moment to find his next word, only to find himself looking into Mary’s face. She’s just sitting there talking with him and that registers on his face. Peaceful? Joyful? Just attentiveness to her words? Don’t know yet. They’re just talking. A simple conversation. Maybe there’s a little boy running around in the background or splashing in some water.

The second painting will have Bernard with the gospel writers. Some interaction that now escapes me.  Bernard, as the doctor of the church, healed many schisms within the church and his strength to heal was pronounced in the gospels, the greatest healer given to us, the Christ.