About Me

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Texas, United States


"I Believe In The Beauty Of It All...Not The Ugly!"

Titled "Bible Stories" this print copyrighted by H.Hallett & Co. 1880

My preference in wall art has changed very little over the years. I have always loved peaceful paintings and beautiful artwork. I have several 19th century lithographs of scenes depicting "angels"...the one above appealed to me when I found it in an antique shop many years ago. I thought, yes, children form their own ideas of what God  and spirits are all about by the stories they are told and spiritual experiences they may  have.

My preference in art did surprise a couple of men friends who were a tad spooked when they first viewed it, I suppose because it didn't seem to fit my free spirit personality...but most of them eventually adapted to the diversity. Women never seemed surprised. 

This very old lithograph above I found in a junk shop almost 40 years ago and have contemplated many times as to what the angel was reading and whether the baby was sick. The edges were in pretty bad shape but the framer did a fine job of restoring it.  I wish I had thought to copy the artist name and other info on the tattered bottom of the print he covered up because I've never seen another copy.  Since I have retained a belief in angels, it is especially meaningful to me because I gave up almost all the other aspects of the religion I was taught as a child and came to question and finally leave behind as an adult acknowledging I have no idea how or who we are supposed to worship as a "Creator." There are just too many different versions out there for me to decide so I pray to the "Original." Some call me "heathen," I call me being honest with myself.
This antique sepia engraving of this famous painting of Saint Cecelia, the patron saint of music, I also found in an antique shop many years ago. It is the same as the larger colorful print that hung above my parent's bed the entire time I was growing up. That was the painting that inspired me to take piano lessons for 11 years so when I died I could go up in the clouds and play a piano proficiently with angels pouring roses over me also. Yes, I was a "little" strange as a child and there are those who still think I am a rather strange adult. So be it. I blame an "angel," one I believe saved my life and confused my mind almost 70 years ago and who still haunts me on occasion. He sent me on one heck of a lifetime tour of searching for answers I decided lately don't exist on earth. I finally made peace with that pesky spirit and whatever kind of Supreme Being  may or may not exist but still believe in an "afterlife"...and hope it's reincarnation.  I  feel over 70 years of "religious" and "living life to the fullest" research gave me all the answers I needed to know to unbelievable questions instilled in me at an early age. I have all the faith and knowledge I need to find peace with what I now believe whether others understand why...or not. It no longer matters to me what others think about the way I think about God. It's a very personal thing we all should decide for ourselves.

I still don't know what is wrong with my last sacrament crucifix. It's been well treated the last 57 years.. My god-mother gave it to me when I was seventeen years old and it's hung on every bedroom wall I've ever lived in. If you asked me why, I'm not sure I could tell you, other than I never found a time I wanted to forget the deceased beloved aunt who was very happy when she gave it to me. So was I. Over 30 years ago the right arm of Jesus began slowly unpinning itself from the inlaid pearl surface and though a number of folks have examined it, no one seems to know why that arm continues to lower. I don't know either. There is no visible defect. I thought a while back maybe Jesus just wanted to wave at me so I would occasionally wave back if I was feeling silly.  Now I sometimes wonder if Jesus might think it's time for everyone to un-nail him from that torture device.  Protestants did long ago and I too have long preferred a bare cross to an agonized Jesus hanging on one. I never liked bleeding hearts or hell fire and brimstone religious art either. Ugly, evil, and demonic, have always repelled me to turn my back in did Michelangelo's huge "Last Judgement" rendition in the Sistine Chapel I detested. 
I have long assumed the masterpiece anguished artist did also at a time to 
renounce Hell and the Pope was forbidden if you didn't want to get your head chopped off. I would have never made it through the Renaissance with my head intact. 

The small colorful hand carved cross at the lower left I bought in Assisi Italy I fell in love with when I went there to check out Saint Francis who has always fascinated me. My beloved Grandma had a huge print of him preaching to birds and animals hanging in front of the bed I always slept in when I stayed with her, it was peaceful to contemplate the attentive birds and animals. I was glad she kept the huge glowing bleeding "sacred" hearts in her bedroom. They made me frown and shiver and that made her laugh....but I did love all the halo's I supposed artist paint to convey someone "holy". This colorful little cross I bought from a nice old wood carver is a replica of the San Damiano cross Jesus supposedly converted Francis from. I like it because it doesn't show Jesus bloody or in agony ...just there with his arms spread in a clean Roman tunic and people with little halos painted all around him and one seemingly dancing above his head. The original circa 1100 crucifix  is huge and hangs in the  Basilica of Saint Clare in beautiful Assisi. Francis always fascinated me because he  created a "miracle" rose that still grows there without thorns I inspected in manicured flower beds...and he supposedly "communicated" with animals. Nice "miraculous" ideas I still love the thought of. 
Saint Clare sure loved Francis a lot according to ancient legends in Assisi.

My grandmother left me the pressed copper plaque of Saint Anthony in her antique dresser filled with her rosary's,  prayer books, and antique family photos. Why? She had 16 other grandchildren who always seemed to me to be "holier" than I ever was. I didn't expect it and I don't know why, other than my grandfather told my father that after she told him to give them to me before she died in her 80's. He still remembered her request  in his 90's. Grandma Kolojaco was the only genuine saint I've ever known personally and I adored her and she knew it all the years we shared.  

These two wall decorations I have kept since childhood simply because they were pretty rewards I won for something regarding my youthful perception of catechism.  They probably cost a nickle or dime when I was a kid but I still love the protruding bubble glass over Jesus as a boy you don't see much of these days.  Mary "interceding" for us with a bouquet of flowers in her padded etched gold foil glory is nice also. They are the only rewards I ever received for my perception of anything religious and I have no idea what that may have been way back then. I do know it's changed a lot over the years. My love of what the Prince of Peace stood for, and pretty objects, and peaceful artwork, and beautiful angels has not changed and I doubt it ever will. They still captivate me.
I bought this print at a garage sale some years back, framed, for a couple of dollars, just because it was beautiful and "my thing." No artist name visible.

My views haven't changed much these years some folks have considered me a "heathen sinner" for losing faith and giving up my religion and willing to speak my piece in all matters regarding honesty trusting lifelong instincts. I still want and pray for the same thing I was taught Jesus wanted and made his life's service...Peace! So much of humanity don't find a whole lot of it here on earth any more than Christ did for preaching it. 

I wish I knew why and how to fix it...but I don't, and obviously no one else ever has either. Some folks who call themselves "atheists" claim there is nothing divine or rational out there to believe in but I still think there must be. Even though I no longer believe much of anything the Bible says...I know there is "something" out there in another realm...what? I have no idea, except for the "spirit" I once witnessed twice in one day as a child and who helped me out of serious trouble with calming words more than once when I was too scared to think and least expected it.  

I will turn 75 years old on the first day of spring, a day my Grandma told me she was taught as a child was "special," but I never asked her why. I was a child and didn't care yet. I had too many others things on my busy mind. She told me she prayed I would be born on the equinox but she thought I was born a day early...I found out over 30 years later I really wasn't. My grandmother prayed for a lot of things she believed.

I've decided three quarter's of a century old is not going to be nearly as bad as I thought it might be 50 years ago...but if I don't let all those roller coaster years of "sinful" wonder rest in one else is likely going to for me. I have been blessed in so many ways I find I have no choice left except to be mighty grateful to whatever "divine" powers there might be. All I really ever wanted to be was a Mother and I will be ever grateful I was very blessed in that respect with healthy, creative, and intelligent kids.
Artist: Margaret W Tarrant   1888-1959 

This is one of my favorite old prints because my long time best friend gave it to me decades ago and said she bought it in this lovely frame for my birthday at a flea market because it reminded her of me. Diana knew well over the four decades we have known each other what my preference in art was. I especially love the hazy field of Easter lily's and a more contemporary Mother and child. Margaret Tarrant painted a lot of angel like fairy's also and beautifully illustrated much of Hans Christian Anderson's works.

A heathen is defined as a "non-believer" and they can call me a "heathen sinner" if they wish...but I certainly know what I believe in...the beauty of it all...not the ugly.


Jon said...

Despite my shifting beliefs, I love the beauty of religious art and music too. Sometimes a song about God can make me teary-eyed, even if, a few cups of coffee later, I doubt the whole thing.

But I was thinking about a funny store that someone told about art and the creativity of children. A little boy was making a picture, and his art teacher asked him "What are you drawing"? The boy said "God". The teacher said "But nobody knows what God looks like". The boy said "They will in a minute".

DMS said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and pictures with us. The artwork you have collected over the years has so many ties to the special people in your life. I love that. Having the art and various pieces up on your walls is a way to connect to them.

I am not sure why some people feel the need to judge what others believe. I agree with you and want to focus on the beautiful. :)

Anna Maria said...

Jon, I did get into the art more than the music and I can change my mind about religion over a cup of coffee also. :)

The story about the creativity of children is so true and it applies to adults also. Most everyone envisions God differently because no one really knows if there is one or what it would look like. That's why I created a beautiful peaceful one rather than a wrathful ugly one. :D

Anna Maria said...

Thank you Jess! My art collection kinda pieced itself together over the years and I found that once I loved a painting that was beautiful in my mind...I rarely changed my mind or wanted to let it go. I gathered all kinds of antique art but like my family before me, I've kept the "religious" personal stuff mostly in my bedroom.

c emerson said...

Very nice post, Anna Maria. I enjoyed the art and the stories (including Jon's young-artist story).

I have said this elsewhere, and in some private correspondence: if a creator-entity does exist outside of time, and physics - would such an entity have to have a specific reason to create the world in a particular way. The rational theist (and the rational scientist) might argue that. But why would that have to be so? In my mind's eye, I can just as well conceive of such a creator-entity as an artist painting on a blank canvas, as an engineer creating steam engines. Your story line for this post suggests just that, in my mind, anyway. Enjoy your birthday! Peace.

Anna Maria said...

Thanks much C. Emerson. I agree with your perspective and do so with the mind of an artist knowing what ends up on my blank canvas is never exactly what I had planned when I started.

I can certainly understand that if apes were the first attempt at a God creating humanity, "it" might have kept working on the initial creation until it appeared more intelligent and pleasing to the eye. Could be that was a "Creator" mistake considering how we have turned out. :D

c emerson said...

Evolution may be able to produce an unsuccessful species (dinosaurs, humans ?), but by definition it can't produce a mistake, just an opportunity. And an opportunity, like art, is a beautiful thing. Cheers.


Great post. You've collected some beautiful pieces. I think we humans are more alike than we are different. The trick is to live in harmony, which to me means embracing our own beliefs while allowing others to have their own beliefs. When I was younger it was important for everyone to believe exactly what I believed. I suppose it made me feel superior in some way. But now, I realize that as human beings we need to come to our own conclusions about things. I applaud that. Great post Anna!

Anna Maria said...

Thanks so much Grace! You are so right about everyone making up their own mind and not judging anyone else for what they might or might not believe.

I have a wide variety of antique art, not just religious. I have no idea why it has always appealed to me more than more modern art has. I suppose there are simply no known explanations for a lot of things we favor. :)

oneperson said...

"There are just too many different versions out there for me to decide so I pray to the "Original." "

I think I'm going to steal that - the "Original."

Another wonderful sharing Anna...


Anna Maria said...

Thanks Carol! Go right ahead and steal "The Original"..."It" has no copyright...:)

c emerson said...

Yes, I too may refer to your expression of 'Original' or 'Originality' - I hope that's ok. I've posted 'How to Read This Blog' (referring to my new philosophy blog) over on Ideas are Physical. []. The piece ends with a reference to "Express Yourself" - recorded in many versions. One step at a time.

Hope you are having a nice birthday!!

Anna Maria said...

Thanks C. Emerson...I've had a wonderful day filled with beautiful fragrant flowers, cards, and warm wishes from new and old friends and family members I do so appreciate. I hear my strawberry birthday cheesecake in the fridge calling me as I finish up my posts for the evening.

I'll check out your new blog and add it to my blog roll. You have some wonderful ideas on subjects that interest me. Feel free to use anything I write, I consider it a compliment.

c emerson said...

Thanks for posting on my new blog! I just used 'Originality' (as a slight derivation of your 'Original' but with the same essential intent) on Edward Feser's philosophy blog on a post dealing with the Mind-Brain debate. Keep up the great reflections about life, and thanks again!

Anna Maria said...

Good luck C. Emerson, trying to keep up with Dr. Feser's "philosophy" blog. Those brainiacs over there debate waaaaay too deep for me, the same subjects I touched on in plain English in this blog. Subjects I've come to the conclusion after researching for many years, there are no logical or scientific answers best you find and accept one that gives you peace of mind regardless of what anyone else thinks about it.

Seems to me most of what they write and argue about are quotes from other philosophers and scientists, instead of using that which is usually referred to as..."your own common sense."

Sharing thoughts and ideas is a good thing...trying to convince someone with a totally opposite perception by using a scientific explanation is useless and time wasted. Of course that is just my "uneducated" opinion. :D