the beige blues

Christina the Astonishing

What can I say?

The weather here in Cadillac is starting to inch above the mid-50's. We even hit the 80's for a nanosecond a couple days ago. We're in the low 60's this morning, but we're promised a high of 71 degrees today! It's June 6th for @#%& sake. But I think this is what Northern Michiganians call "bathing suit weather."

That's a long way of saying, for us, winter hibernation is over. So I've been spending as little time as possible behind my desk and as much time as possible outside basking in semi-sunshine (putting aside an occasional thunderstorm). The result? A wee bit of a delay in rolling out the next anthology installment.

Whatever. I'm my own boss now.

However, in the meantime, I want to share our painting, "Christina the Astonishing" by St. Victor Diaries. We were first captivated by Vic's art work while strolling through a Bellevue, Washington art fair when Mike and I were in Seattle for my cousin Katie's wedding. I grabbed one of Vic's cards and stashed it away in a place I thought for sure I'd remember.

Long story short, I didn't remember where I put the card, but I couldn't forget the art. So a few months ago, I started searching the internet, employing my cracker-jack research skills to locate this fabulous artist and using key buzzwords such as "whimsical art" and "surreal artist" and "absurdist art." Total fail. So Mike says, "Why don't you go to the Bellevue art fair website and see who the exhibitors are?"


I found St. Victor's Diaries and sent Vic an email. Less than two months later, he sent us a "mixed media original" version of Christina.

For sure, Christina is magnificent. Like all of Vic's paintings, she is ethereal, saturated with color, and accompanied by a story or extended comment about the subject's creative origins. Here's Christina's story from Vic's website at

Born in Belgium in 1150 and soon orphaned. At the age of 21 Christina suffered a massive seizure after which she was declared dead and said to have visited God who gave her a glimpse of both Purgatory and Hell where she saw numerous friends suffering. She made a deal with God to return to earth and let her suffer the torments there in the stead of her friends who would then be cleansed by her actions and they could then ascend to heaven.

When she returned to earth, she levitated to the ceiling of the shire where her body was lay in state, and after being coaxed down by a priest began her journey of living a life of poverty and torment for the sake of those she loved. She would sleep on rocks, wear rags and beg for food, throw herself into ovens and reportedly laid for hours in freezing rivers during the dead of winter. She even allowed herself to be dragged under the waters by a mill wheel, and through it all never suffered injury.

For this I chose to paint Christina in ice blue. Her hair rises as though carried by a great gust of wind ascending up towards the heavens and releasing the beauty and joy bestowed upon her friends and loved ones as the result of her torment. I try to show this through the flowers, bee, butterflies and doves evolving forth and the red flow behind represents the cleansing of the blood in transition and the release of it in loving and life giving sacrifice for the sake of others.

I think of Christina as the perfect empath. We can give her our pain and our stress and she will bear it out in our stead allowing us to refocus our gaze to the cosmos.

You don't need to be Catholic to appreciate the beauty of this story and the soulful art it inspired. I sure wouldn't mind if someone like Christina had my back.

As for Mike and me, we're engaged in our own art projects. The kitchen cabinets are (mostly) in and Mike is busy mudding and texturing the walls. He pretty much hates this part.

What about me?

Well, you know what they say. A picture paints a thousand words.

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