Holly Antolini’s 2013 Sabbatical

Reading the Holy Book of Nature

We took a wrong turn when we launched the Neolithic revolution. We have been trying ever since to ascend from rather than to Nature. It is not too late for us to come around, without losing the quality of life already gained, in order to receive the deeply fulfilling beneficence of humanity'snatural heritage.

Biologist E. O. Wilson – from The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.

Mary Oliver – from “Wild Geese,” Dreamwork

The goal of my sabbatical was to cultivate and deploy some basic skill in drawing with pastels, as a means of gazing deeply into the holy Book of Nature.  I intend to study drawing before the sabbatical begins, and to continue to study with my mentor during the sabbatical:

Marguerite Fletcher - http://www.mofletcherart.com/Marguerite_Fletcher/The_Stanford_Wood.html

The central substance of my sabbatical will be to travel in a variety of places, with the primary objective of drawing what I see, in the context of daily contemplative prayer. 

It also turned out that REST and renewing friendships old and new were central to God's gift of sabbath to me in this time.

Before my four-month sabbatical began on June 1st, I took two life-drawing classes and one tutorial in the use of pastels in landscape through the Cambridge Center for Adult Education, one per semester: my first effort to draw since high school!

During my sabbatical, I supplemented my travel and drawing with reading:

To Pause At the Threshold – Esther De Waal

My Bright Abyss – Christian Wiman

Genius of Place: the Life of Frederick Law Olmsted – Martin Laird

The Art Spirit – Robert Henri

My Sabbatical Itinerary

June 1 – 14 - Replacing my grandmother’s headstone in Castor, England & drawing in York and Durham with my brothers & old friends

June 15-23 - Berkshire Choral Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland – singing Handel’s L’Allegro il Penseroso, ed il Moderator with friends from Maine

June 24 – July 1 – Drawing and praying on retreat with the Iona Community on the island of Iona

July 2 – July 15 – Hiking with old friends and drawing in Yorkshire and County Durham; visiting the Rev. Richard Giles – author of “Repitching the Tent: Reordering the Church Building for Worship & Mission,” and “Creating Uncommon Worship: transforming the Liturgy of the Eucharist.”

August 1 – 31 – Visiting my mother in CA; drawing in Vermont & Maine, based at my parents’ house in Manchester VT and at my house in Cushing ME

Sept. 1-30 – Visiting my mother again in CA; participating in a Drawing Workshop on an organic farm in Tuscany with painter & pastel artist Marguerite Fletcher, with pre-tour in Florence and post-tour in Venice

I returned as we began again to prepare for construction to begin on our new parish house/condominium. 

Here are my two powerpoint “reports" below, showing my photos and drawings from the sabbatical.