Anne Camozzi was a guest at QUESTS, the Prayer Bench monthly newsletter. It was a delight to visit with this Nova Scotia artist and experience her paintings on silk. Meeting each painting is an experience, bringing wonder to the eye and sparking delight in the heart. You look, and look again, and see more. But mostly, you release a breath and welcome the Mystery that brings healing and peace. Thank you, Anne, for being generous with your time and art.
Anne, you’ve chosen a painting Hildegard at Dawn to share with us. What is the story that prompted this painting?
I woke up one morning to a brilliant fiery sunrise and went to the shore to meditate on its beauty. I had a mystical experience that Hildegard (a12th century mystic and saint) was there with me, and that together we were watching eagles hunting for food.
I felt a complete sense of oneness with Universe and everything that I was looking at, the sparkling water and the soaring eagles, and a sky with a thousand different pinks.
I went back to the house to a freshly stretched piece of silk. I did the drawing for the painting as one continuous line, as much as possible, holding onto the feeling of connectedness. I was meditating and praying and remembering the words of Rilke:
“May what I do flow from me like a river
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.”
(Rilke, Book of Hours: Love Poems to God by Anita Barrows & Joanna Macy. 1-12)
The painting contains a spiral which is a theme in my work. The spiral is a pathway to God and a symbol used over the millennium to represent spirit. There are also also many species of birds in this, and in much of my work.
Do you have rituals or practices that help you open to receive a new image?
Yes. Contemplation of nature in solitude and quietude, the practice of mindfulness, clearing of the mind through breathing, and calling to the Universe to direct my hand for what comes; these are some of my practices. I call forth for a painting to guide my hand. It’s like a moving prayer.
Painting is a joyful, and many times, an ecstatic experience in creation. I never allow anyone around me when I am working on a painting. It is a very intimate experience of prayer and the Divine.
What goes on in you as you begin painting; how do you choose or receive images?
It’s so complicated! Some of it is technical. I studied painting for four years as a younger woman, and specifically studied colour.
There are two elements to my painting: line and colour.The line is where I feel the prayer. The colour is where I experience the wonder and joy. In the Hildegard painting the colour was so influenced by the movement of the dawn sky from grey to pink.
How do you describe your feelings once a painting is complete?
As soon as a painting is done, I want to move to the next one, because the experience of creating it is so joyful and spiritual. Hildegard at Dawn is a very favourite painting of mine. I can re-experience the feeling I had both of my experience with Hildegard and her presence, but also the joy of painting it, just by looking at it.
Anne Camozzi paints and writes in Nova Scotia. From an early age Anne discovered the Divine in Nature. She creates, as a form of prayer and meditation to transform her pain and suffering. She delights in sharing her experience of the Light through organic lines and vibrant colours. Anne says she hopes her art inspires healing and acts of social justice.
Anne is a collaborative partner with the Sisters of St. Joseph, Ministry of the Arts, since 2006 and her work has appeared in their calendar six times. Last year, the Ministry of the Arts prison ministry was expanded to Canada, in corporation with Lyghtesome Gallery, providing 50 calendars to the Nova Institution for Women in Truro, NS. Here is Anne’s website.