The Artist’s Prayer

book with peace dove and moon
Reading Kahlil Gibran of late and appreciated this from “The Prophet.” Too often we turn to prayer as a form of request when life is not going so well for us (like this past year!) but what if we saw prayer as a form of praise. For life. For beauty. For the gifts of the earth? I reclaimed the word prayer for myself many years ago through the sacred act of creating art. Silence, stillness, contemplation, the paintbrush gliding along the canvas, gratitude for the gift of life. I wrote about this some years ago at my blog:

From The Prophet:

Then a priestess said, “Speak to us of Prayer.”
And he answered, saying:
You pray in your distress and in your need;
would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.
For what is prayer but the expansion of yourself into the living ether?
And if it is for your comfort to pour your darkness into space, it is also for your delight to pour forth the dawning of your heart.
And if you cannot but weep when your soul summons you to prayer, she should spur you again and yet again, though weeping, until you shall come laughing. . . .

May all beings be fed. May all beings be loved. May all know peace Aho.

Artwork: “The Artist’s Prayer,” 24×18″, Acrylic. ©Amy Livingstone. Inspired by Medieval monks who painted sacred texts, this painting speaks to the creation of Beauty by the artist as a prayer book for peace. The Latin “Oratio ad sanitatem nostri mundi” translates as a prayer for the healing of our world. The quote above from Rumi: “Out beyond fields of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field, I’ll meet you there.”

Limited-edition prints and art blankets are available at my online boutique.

A Vote for Beauty

From my November newsletter. Sign up at
Our elections may be over and no matter where we stand on the issues or the candidates, we are all in this river of life together. I’m an idealist and believe in my heart that no matter the color of our skin, our faith, our political affiliation, or sexual preference we are each called to bridge our differences in order to heal and serve the social and ecological challenges of our time. This is why I feel blessed to have participated in two interfaith art events in October. First with Sts Brendan and Bridgid Catholic Mission (Spiritus Abbey) at St. Francis in Wilsonville. At the show, “Something Beautiful for God,” artists from all faith traditions shared work in support of an ecumenical vision around inclusiveness. View photos here.

The second event was the 7th Annual Festival of Faith presented by The Interfaith Council of Greater Portland at Trinity Episcopal. See photos at previous post! From their website:  

Our vision is to be a local organization that is part of a global movement of spiritual enlightenment, social justice, and peaceful coexistence. Each of these objectives is governed by highly ethical behavior – every bit as present in our path to the future as in the future itself. Our diversity will be defined by the recognition of our parallel paths borne out of differing beliefs, ceremonies and symbolism yet in a community bound by a common sense of humanity and appreciation for all life. We will be a learning community capable of suspending our disbelief as we listen with a new found wisdom that is continually evolving. We will be part of the celebration of a new world understanding, and the perpetuators of appreciation and hope while it is coming into being.

This year’s Festival of Faith theme was “Voices of Youth,” and included a panel discussion with youth around peace, music, dance, interactive art exhibits, and information from all religious traditions. If our youth can envision peace, there is indeed hope. It was a joy not only to show my artwork but to facilitate a community nature mandala as shown here in the photos. I deeply appreciated everyone who shared their stories, their hearts, with me. When words fail us, art is a bridge where we discover our “common sense of humanity.” 


It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.
-Mary Oliver

So, at the close of this election season, I vote for art. For beauty. For the earth. For dialogue. I elect to continue serving the healing of our world. Together, we have the power. We have a voice as we witnessed through the act of casting a vote and we each have all the creativity within us to make a difference every day. What does that look like for you? What are you voting for?
For love of the EARTH!