Art can help us see the world as not opaque to God's presence but charged with it. David Taylor

Julia Skeen: I Am the Vine

ArtWay Visual Meditation April 29, 2018

Julia Skeen: I Am the Vine

Meditations on Jesus Christ Focusing on the Four Seasons

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15 New International Version (NIV)

Opening prayer

 Heavenly Father, grant me to be always a part of your holy vine. May I grow with Jesus through the seasons of the vine in his loving presence, always gaining his sustenance. May I bring forth the fruit of the gospel in Jesus name.

How can one approach the cycle of meditative prayers underneath? You may first want to read the suggestions at the bottom of the images and prayers, see below.


Lord, you are the Vine in whom I am grafted; remain in me and I in you

In my time of new beginnings Lord, awaken me to your presence
In my time of new beginnings Lord, refresh me with your living waters
In my time of new beginnings Lord, energize me with your consuming spirit
In my time of new beginnings Lord, nourish me with your life-giving sap
In my time of new beginnings Lord, stir my heart to explore new horizons
In my time of new beginnings Lord, allow a breakthrough so that I may be open to you



Lord, you are the Vine in whom I am grafted; remain in me and I in you

In my time of growth Lord, may I bloom with your grace
In my time of growth Lord, may I blossom with your love
In my time of growth Lord, may I bring forth your glory
In my time of growth Lord, may I ripen into a richer life
In my time of growth Lord, may I mature into your wisdom
In my time of growth Lord, may I bask in your warmth and love


Lord, you are the Vine in whom I am grafted; remain in me and I in you

In my time of letting go Lord, may I do so willingly, with acceptance as the trees shed their leaves
In my time of pruning Lord, make me clean
In my time of reflection Lord, may I be honest and humble
In my time of melancholy Lord, may I never forget your bounty
In my time of slowing down Lord, may I do this without complaint, savoring life more in the process
In my time of gathering in Lord, may my harvest basket be full of pleasing fruit


Lord, you are the Vine in whom I am grafted; remain in me and I in you

In the winter time of my life Lord, and in my exhaustion, may I find rest in you
In the winter time of my life Lord, and in my sorrow, may I find comfort in you
In the winter time of my life Lord, may I acknowledge the hidden growth of winter deep underground
In the winter time of my life Lord and in my forsakenness, may I remember you and feel your embrace
In the winter time of my life Lord, may I realize this dryness will be watered by your spring return
In the winter time of my life Lord, may I realize this as a period of rest and renewal in you

How can one approach this cycle of meditative prayers?

One can approach these meditations on numerous levels:

1. As prayers of supplication.

2. As an examination of the long-term arch of one’s own personal life.

3. As a period of reviewing times and moods in one’s life.

4. As meditative thoughts linking the events and seasonal moods in one’s own life to the presence of Jesus Christ in them.

5. To reflect on the liturgical seasons of the church calendar. For example, advent is a season of longing, perhaps a winter time. Easter and the post resurrection events link well with spring. Pentecost can be linked to summer with the growth of the church and discipleship. 

6. To reflect on how the past informs the present and how the present can inform the future.  


Julia Skeen is a visual artist whose work covers a variety of subject matter in media ranging from oil painting and watercolor to digital animation and computer-generated images. Julia sees her studio processes as unfolding journeys, which reflect her spiritual quest, described by her as a broad-based Christian mysticism. Her meditative life and her art are inextricably linked. So, although she attributes the choice of nature as a starting point in her work to her childhood on a remote farm in Zimbabwe, there is always another layer of meaning in her paintings and drawings. Collaboration with her husband, the poet Chris Mann, includes many illustrated books namely Lifelines and The Horn of Plenty. Large-scale digital art images illustrating various manuscripts of Chris Mann have premiered at the National Arts Festival held annually in Grahamstown, South Africa. These shows include Heartlands, In Praise of the Shades, Lifelines, and Home from Home. Julia was recently made Honorary Artist in Residence at the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. George in Grahamstown, South Africa.



1. ARTWAY – Last week we posted a blog by Marleen Hengelaar-Rookmaaker in which she gives a short introduction to her father, Hans Rookmaaker. The talk was given on the occasion of the establishment of the Rookmaaker Jazz Scholarship at Covenant College, Chattanooga, Tennessee, 12 March 2018. Click here

2. NEW BOOK – Based on interviews with a culturally, geographically, and aesthetically diverse group of mid-career artists, Creative Practices for Visual Artists offers a rethinking of the methods and approaches used by successful artists. Kenneth Steinbach promotes a holistic approach to artistic practice. 

3. CALL FOR PAPERS – Waiting for the End of the World: Eschatology and Art, 1850-2000, 11-12 February 2019. Deadline for paper proposals: 4 September 2018, Department of Art History, College of Arts & Sciences, New York University. Symposium organizers Dr. Amy Hamlin (St. Catherine University) and Dr. James Romaine (Lander University) welcome proposals of no more than 300 words. Proposals should be submitted, with a cover letter and 2-page C.V. by Tuesday, September 4, 2018 to Dr. Hamlin and Dr. Romaine The symposium will be held immediately prior to the CAA’s annual conference. Presenters are expected to attend the full symposium.

4. GERMAN BOOK – Neuerscheinung bei Schnell & Steiner in der Reihe Kunst und Konfession: Reformation und Bildnis. Bildpropaganda im Zeitalter der Glaubensstreitigkeiten, Günter Frank und Maria Lucia Weigel (Hg.). Wie wirkte sich reformatorisches Gedankengut auf Kunsttheorie und Bildpraxis aus? Die Frage ist im Hinblick auf das Porträt noch nicht eingehend untersucht worden. Die Beiträge des internationalen Symposiums der Europäischen Melanchthon-Akademie Bretten zeigen den Einfluss der Reformation auf das Bildnis auf. Die Ausbreitung der Reformation im 16. Jh. hatte nicht nur Auswirkungen auf Herstellung und Einsatz von Kunstwerken im sakralen Kontext. Im Zusammenspiel mit technischen, kulturellen und sozialen Entwicklungen taten sich neue Märkte auf, neue Absatzstrategien wurden entwickelt, Künstler beanspruchten einen neuen Status. Das Bildnis als Gattung wurde in bedeutenden Ausstellungen der vergangenen Jahre vorwiegend unter Aspekten wie dem Einfluss der italienischen Renaissance und der Entwicklung nordalpiner Kunsttheorie in den Blick genommen oder im künstlerischen Werkzusammenhang gewürdigt. Allerdings geriet dabei nur selten das Bildnis in seinem Verhältnis zur Reformation in den Fokus. Das internationale Symposium der Europäische Melanchthon-Akademie Bretten nähert sich diesem aktuellem Thema auf interdisziplinärer Basis. Mehr Informationen

5. SWITZERLAND - Vom Zweiten Schweizer Kirchenbautag, der dem Thema Kirchenumnutzungen gewidmet war, liegt ein Tagungsbericht (Kurzfilm von 9 Minuten) sowie eine Tagungsdokumentation (10 Filme) vor:  Eine Datenbank mit Kirchenumnutzungen in über 200 Kirchen, Kapellen und Klöstern in der Schweiz erfasst die letzten 25 Jahre:  Der Dritte Schweizer Kirchenbautag findet am 30. August 2019 an der Universität Bern statt und wird dem Kirchenbau der Nachkriegszeit gewidmet sein.

For more exhibitions, lectures, conferences etc. inside and outside your country, click here

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