Friday, July 23, 2010

why angels?

When a new friend asked me in an email to talk about why angels often appear in my work, I replied that I really didn't have an agenda for using the angel image because I prefer that people bring their own meaning into the visual dialogue. I recognize that a winged figure is very much an iconic shape, though, and one that carries a spiritual connotation. I probably first truly noticed angels as a child. But aside from an admiration for their ability to fly and a nebulous belief in their protective characteristic (as in guardian angels) I didn't think about them much until my first visit to Italy in 1996. I had just graduated from a local college with a degree in visual art and, of course, had viewed many photos of Annunciation paintings in Art History class. But when I arrived in Florence and visited the Uffizi, Santo Spirito, San Marco and many other sites of paintings and sculptures of angels, something inside me turned toward the concept that an angel is truly a messenger of God.

In the years since then I've photographed dozens of stone angels and used transfers of these photos in my paintings. I began drawing angels as a means of abstracting the shape so that it became more personal. As my process for painting has become more intuitive, angels have often appeared in my gestural surfaces, and when I spy one I entice it forward.

If I had to affirm my particular meaning for angels, my immediate response is that they remind me, messenger-like, to pay attention to the precious moments in my life that often go unnoticed. I can trudge through days oblivious to simple pleasures and small kindnesses. But then, out of the corner of my eye or heart, I catch a glimpse or feeling of something beyond rational comprehension. For a fleeting moment an unexpected angel touches down.


  1. Beautifully written, Carol ~
    I look forward to seeing more angels in viewing your thoughtful artwork.

  2. Hi Carol,
    This artwork is beautifully expressed with emotions. I love painting too-come have a visit to my site sometime!