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  • Writer's pictureDiana de Avila

"The Hound of Heaven: My Journey of Redemption Through Art"

Updated: Aug 21, 2023

Hound of Heaven
Hound of Heaven

As an artist, a potent blend of creativity, spirituality, and self-discovery exists for those who seek it. It's a space where emotions, thoughts, and experiences converge to create captivating works that resonate with the artist but also touch the hearts of others. My digital painting, "The Hound of Heaven," speaks to this remarkable journey of rediscovering my faith and finding solace in the divine presence of God.

This journey began after my time as a religious sister when I was navigating the tumultuous highways and byways of secular life in the 1990s. Much like the protagonist in Francis Thompson's famous poem, I felt pursued by an unrelenting force. It wasn't a physical push but a spiritual calling that had me questioning my life's path and my ultimate purpose.

As I started sketching the initial concepts for this piece, I delved deep into the themes of redemption and divine pursuit and wanted to approach them through abstraction. The idea emerged as a reflection of my journey—a journey of twists and turns, doubts and revelations, but ultimately, a journey of being led back to God.

Creating "The Hound of Heaven" was a process that mirrored my spiritual exploration. The digital canvas became a sacred space to channel my thoughts and emotions. The hound, symbolic of God's unwavering pursuit, took abstract form with every brushstroke, the abstraction reflecting both determination and compassion through shape and movement. The highway stretched before it, winding through a round abstract landscape symbolizing life's unpredictable path.

The digital medium allowed me to experiment with colors, textures, and lighting in ways that conveyed the depth of my experience. The nearly hidden human figure is journeying toward the light of truth through the Blessed Sacrament. The left side of the painting is symbolic of the light peeking through, where the path ahead is easier to decipher and see. The image's right side symbolizes the dark night of the soul and a journey traveled at times when the way was impossible to see. They blend seamlessly with the center of the piece, which is symbolic of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. The faith journey is never-ending.

In my life, being pursued by faith has felt like a relentless chase. There were moments when I strayed far from the path, succumbing to doubts and distractions. Yet, like the symbolism in my painting, God's presence was always there, never giving up on me. Through every twist and turn, God continued to call me back.

Creating "The Hound of Heaven" was not just about producing art; it was another artwork that allowed me to rediscover my faith and spirituality. As I spent days immersed in the creation process, I reflected on my choices and the divine guidance that had always been present, even when I didn't realize it.

Through my art, I understood that pursuing God is not limited to one's religious beliefs but is a universal theme of seeking purpose, meaning, and connection in life. It's about recognizing that, no matter how far we wander, there is always a path leading us back to our spiritual center.

"The Hound of Heaven" is a digital painting and a visual representation of my personal and spiritual journey. It is a testament to the idea that God's pursuit of us is relentless and unwavering, even when we lose our way. Through the twists and turns of life, art has become my medium for self-discovery and a way to express my own profound experiences of faith.

As I gaze upon my finished digital painting, it reminds me of how art possesses transformative power and how the ever-present divine call guides us through the highways and byways of life. I hope "The Hound of Heaven" speaks to my journey and resonates with others who have experienced the grace of being pursued by God. In art, as in life, there is beauty in the pursuit of the divine, and I am ever grateful for the opportunity to share this journey through my work.

The piece is available for purchase here -

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