For Sister Marilyn Nunemaker of Portland, OR, art is a spiritual path, a creative engagement with God, particularly through the splendor of nature. “With my art,” she says, “I want to give God glory with nature.”
Her primary subject is landscape, ranging from her own backyard awash in color to broad forest and mountain vistas and beachscapes drawn from her extensive hiking trips.
Wherever she goes, Sister Marilyn brings a camera so she can record images she might later use as inspiration for a painting. Her primary medium is pastels, which have the intensity of color that she feels captures the vibrancy of what she is painting. They are messy but forgiving, she says, and you can make a mistake or change your mind and adjust it. Essential to art for her is intention, of looking deeply into the subject, noticing change and nuance.
In her ministry as an educator, art has always been an important component. She worked with middle schoolers for 23 years and with adult learners for an additional 23 years as a GED instructor at Portland Community College, and art always infused her teaching strategies. Across all disciplines, she relied on art to enliven and vitalize learning.
Through the making of art, Sister Marilyn has a ready avenue to God, and it gives her a sense of joy to freely share it with others.