Sue Ellen Parkinson

I feel eternally grateful for the visionaries who had the foresight and ingenuity to create the Willits Center for the Arts. I truly believe that the world, and our community, needs to foster all forms of art. Creativity cleanses and strengthens the soul. Happy hearts, make for a happier, healthier world, and the arts are a wonderful vehicle to celebrate and give thanks for this beautiful place that we live.

I am a life long artist, relentless creative, and long time resident of Willits.

Over the past few years, my own creative path has led me to painting saints and angels. My process often involves a “re-imaging” of these icons. After reading, meditation and spontaneous dialog/writing, I make my own interpretation of a saint, relying on my own inner guidance.

Painting these icons has created in me a feeling of deep connection with the saints. It’s broadened my feelings of love and hope for humanity. It has also brought me into the realm of Possibility.

Mary Magdalene, Patron Saint of Contemplatives
I have painted Mary Magdalene several times and I’ve come to see her very differently from the way the our culture traditionally views her. I see Magdalene as a completely intact human being. She is complex, the embodiment of Jesus‘s instruction to be: anthropos. She was beloved by Jesus, the only apostle with the courage to stay with him through his crucifixion and the first person to see him upon his resurrection. Yet she is often portrayed merely as a penitent sinner. One might ask, “Why has Magdalene been historically diminished?” Whoever is guiding my hand insists that any denigration stops.

Saint Cecilia, Patron Saint of Musicians
There are records of music festivals held in her honor from as far back as the 4th Century. The story goes that she was beheaded but so pure of spirit that her body didn’t decompose. Traditionally much emphasis is placed on her maintaining her virginity with the blessings of an angel. But I think she has been prayed to all these long years because music brings humanity to Life. In my interpretation, Cecilia represents a musician, who was compelled to express herself. She was liberated, and liberated others, and probably killed for that. In my painting of her, I wanted to honor her musician’s spirit and the spirit of all musicians because music can jump over any prison wall. And: YES, I do believe she was blessed by an angel.

To see, and read, more about my work, please visit my website.

Willits Center For The Arts Winter Gallery hours are: Wednesday - Sunday 11-5pm