Arts Ministry, Drawing, Education, Iconography, Liturgical Design, Painting, Public Art
Artist / Personal Statement
My goal for the abstract spiritual original paintings I create is to translate sacred realities into a contemporary visual language to ignite spiritual imagination. There are a number of ways to translate transcendent reality into paint. To form visible signs of invisible grace, I use abstraction which—so powerfully through color, line, and texture—speaks directly to the heart. I layer my paintings with symbolism for those who choose to read them cognitively. While these paintings have specific religious meaning to me, I hope they invite you to reflect on spiritual realities dear to your heart.
To create symbolism, I use abstract elements, certain materials, and selected painting methods. For example, in Passion to Pentecost, the triptych format of three panels symbolizes the Trinity. Passion panel, I poured the paint to express His shedding of blood for our sins. To layer my painting with symbolism, I dripped the red paint in the form of the five wounds of Christ. Easter panel, I dripped paint towards heaven to convey resurrection. The gold and light symbolize divinity. In the Pentecost panel the color red symbolizes tongues of fire and few brush marks imply a dove, a symbol of the Holy Spirit. To capture feelings of grace, light and God, I use a number of techniques including the old masters' use of glazes to capture luminosity. I integrate found objects that abound with symbolism, such as sand from Jerusalem. The torn-like edges symbolize that they are a part of something much greater.
My art direction is connected to the long tradition of artists who have turned to a world we cannot see except through faith. I could not ask for a richer history to follow. The Spirit has motivated art making over time in many cultures. Today, mainstream contemporary art and sacred art are worlds apart. As G.K. Chesterton, an early twentieth century writer wrote: “In the beginning there was art for God’s sake, then in the Renaissance there was art for man’s sake. Beginning with Impressionism there was art for art’s sake. Now, unfortunately, we have no art for God’s sake.”
I strive to bring back art for God’s sake.
Accomplishments / CV
Linda McCray is a creator of abstract spiritual original paintings,
art-and-environment designer, art consultant for sacred space, retreat facilitator, adjunct art professor and advocate for contemporary art in Catholic worship. Her passion in painting is translating the Gospel and sacred realities into contemporary abstract art to draw today’s believers into a deeper relationship with God. As Fr. Ed Hislop said, “Linda’s art fires the imagination and creates the environment for a deeper encounter with the real presence of Christ.”
As an advocate for contemporary art in worship, she publishes The Liturgical Artists Directory and Liturgical Art Today. Several of her articles have been published by Georgetown Center for Liturgy on their online resource EnVisionChurch.org and the magazine Ministry and Liturgy. She is dedicated to her goal of helping bridge the gap between mainstream contemporary art and sacred art. As H. Rafael Chacón, Ph.D., Professor of Art History and Criticism at The University of Montana wrote, “Linda McCray steps into the breach that exists between contemporary art and the faith community with her paintings. McCray uses light, color, and texture in her powerful, abstract compositions to create emotionally charged images which afford the faithful instruction, the seeker time for reflection, and the pilgrim a place of refuge.”
Adjunct Professor McCray teaches Art Appreciation: Sacred and Secular Perspectives online for the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota and a number of art courses for The University of Montana–Helena. She facilitates art-and-faith retreats and liturgical art workshops. Her genuine understanding of art history, contemporary art and all media in combination with her vast connections with liturgical artists are the foundation of her art consulting for sacred space. She puts her knowledge into practice while creating art-and-environment designs for faith communities and religious events.
She is the secretary of the Association of Consultants for Liturgical Space and a member of Christians in the Visual Arts. Linda graduated from The University of Montana with a Master of Fine Arts in Painting and Drawing, and cum laude from Washington State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts.