"Vigil" ©Ruth Armitage, Watercolor on Yupo 26"x20"

“Vigil” ©Ruth Armitage, Watercolor on Yupo 26″x20″

I was remarking to a friend today that even though I am busier than ever, the holidays seem less rushed this year. Perhaps this is because I am making time to paint, and that makes me feel calmer. This painting began in October in my Spark Session workshop. I had a difficult time bringing it to resolution, possibly because it was such an emotionally charged subject for me.

The painting was inspired by a conversation with my mom, in which she directed me that when the time comes, she would like to have her body brought home and have the rosary and vigil on the farm. Mom had been going to quite a few funerals that week.

The painting is still part of the “Down on the Farm” series, but shifts from a view of the land to a view of Mom’s living room. The armchair, which I have changed from violet to gold, will probably be the one item that all my sisters will compete for when Mom passes.

I think it is fitting to finish this painting just before Christmas, as the word vigil can also be used to mean the eve of a holy day. I think many of us see this period just before the solstice as one of watchfulness and wonder. One of my favorite places in church is the area used for votive or vigil candles.

Holding the light, keeping awake, and devotional are all ideas associated with the word vigil. In many ways, my whole series of work about the farm is a form of vigil, watchful observation and meditation.

I hope that as we move toward the longest night of the year, you are able to keep a wakeful watch for the beauty in the world, and celebrate warmth and love for your fellow beings.

 

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