I was showing this lettering to a friend last week and thought that you would enjoy the view and the story.
To orient yourself to this image, you are standing in our front hall, looking through the stained glass into our kitchen. Just below it on the other side is the kitchen sink.
When Maria moved into the house, she didn't want to look at a wall while doing dishes. So she studied with Carl Paulson, a local stained glass artist and then created this window.
Of course, she did the lettering that arches above. Later, we added the tangled frame to border the image when it came time to paint the front hallway again.
The lettering reads, "Deep within the midst of winter I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer."
This is my adaptation of an Albert Camus quote. I say this because I had heard it translated a few different ways from the French. But at the time, I decided this is how it should read for me.
Most of the translations began with “In the midst . . . ,” but I had no desire to illuminate an “I”. . . so I changed it to a “D”. And, I added the “finally” because it took me a number of years to get to this realization.
I created the calligraphic addition to the stained glass at a time in my life where I needed a reminder to stay strong. I believe that waking each morning and seeing this changed my life. A simple reminder to keep looking up.
First I made the window. Five years later, on a Mother’s Day, I added the verse. Then thirty years later we added the border. I love this concept of adapting art as needed, giving it new life every now and then. It’s like moving the furniture around in a room. Same room, new look.
My friend's visit inspired this blog post. As I showed him this quote, I paid attention to the word "finally." I think that word is key to Maria's writing of this quote. I have no doubt that each of us has "an invincible summer" within. We might believe it to be true, but belief is not the same as knowing. Sometimes it can require the "midst of [a] winter" to "finally" know and fully feel the inner invincibility of such a summer.
How much gratitude might Mr. Camus have had for that cold winter's midst which revealed to him the experience of his invincible summer?
We view life as an art form, an ever unfolding series of acts of imaginative creativity. No matter what may occur, no matter what accidental drops of ink fall, a sense of gratitude will always serve us well . . . even if it is to hold a sense of gratitude in anticipation of the warmth of an (inner) invincible summer.
In a magical turn of events, in 2014, we hired Maria's teacher’s son, Stephen Paulson to create a stained glass window for our porch. It reminds us each morning, as we admire the amazing composition and brilliant colors, what is most important in life.
In the hallway photo above, check out the lampshade with its touch of knightsbridge. No surface is safe (from becoming more beautiful) in our home!
What is one of your favorite uplifting quotes? Please share in the comments below.
What tools did I use? The lettering was so long ago, but in looking at it just now . . . the black was definitely sign painter’s paint, very intense. The rest was some combination of acrylic/ gouache.
The tangles were most likely Sakura Graphic One. Or their Identipen. And graphite pencil shading.
It appears that I put a coat of urethane over the tangles but not the lettering.