The Beatitudes, at St. Luke’s Smithville

by Jim Higginson 

During the Easter season, St. Luke’s, Smithville displays a series of images depicting the Stations of the Cross. When these are taken down after Easter the north and south walls of the church look bare. Recognizing many accomplished and budding artists at St. Luke’s,  the Reverend Eleanor Clitheroe-Bell planted a seed in peoples’ minds about creating a set of eight images depicting the Beatitudes and displaying them on the bare walls during the rest of the church year. 

God always delivers. 

In this case it was Briar Capes, the oldest granddaughter of long-time parishioners Pat and John Wilson, who offered to take on the project. Briar said she was inspired to do the Beatitudes project because she loves her grandparents and wanted to give back to them when they have given her so much. She said she attended St. Luke’s as a child with her family and she was very grateful to be given an opportunity to give back to such a loving community. 

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Briar is 21 years old and was raised in Beamsville. She went to school in St. Catharines. She attends Fanshawe College on a sports scholarship and is working on an education degree. Her entire family is very artistic and knows that it is something she has always been exposed to and interested in from a young age. Her parents both went to college for art- related programs and her two younger sisters are also very artistic and creative. The family’s creative talents are expressed in different ways ranging from painting to sculpting. Her family has created a very fun and encouraging environment in which to grow up. 

 

Briar enjoys sketching and water colour painting. She doesn’t use computer-generated art programs so she grew up watching and learning from her both the traditional boards as well as the computer.

 

Briar believes that throughout her life she has relied on being creative to finding the ‘fun’ in all situations. She applies visual art to most projects to make them look attractive as well as using creative strategies when in sticky life situations. She enjoys singing recreationally because the different sounds make her feel calm. As a child, she was exposed to a large variety of music ranging from classical to classic rock and finds now that she is more open to listening to various types of music because of that. 

In addition, she says she tends to doodle a lot or create simple art pieces when under pressure. If she has plenty of free time, then she is able to see a simple doodle through to the final product because it’s always gratifying to compare the finished result with what she had from the start. The act of making something beautiful from various scattered ideas is satisfying. Creativity and art have been a very large part of her life and she can’t imagine her life without it. 

In the planning the Beatitude pieces, her mom, dad, and sisters were all instrumental in the process and helped her brainstorm various ideas. It took about a year to complete the project because she was constantly editing, re-drawing, or re-visiting each individual picture. She wanted to make sure each piece was the best it could be and hopefully translate the message that she was intending. 

For the eight pieces, even though they don’t have the same meaning exactly, she wanted the audience to feel something when they looked at them both individually and together. For example, the woman crying in the Blessed are the Meek drawing was a piece where she wanted people to understand the sorrow that might have been occurring to her during a time of time of hardship. To Briar art is all about making you feel something, whether emotionally, mentally, physically… anything. She hopes everyone will see her interpretations and use them to think what a particular Beatitude means to them. 

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Not surprisingly, Briar has been so busy with her studies and playing and coaching the college volleyball team that she has not been to St. Luke’s to be officially thanked. She has been sent photos of Bishop Susan posing with some of the drawings with her grandparents. She received a video “thank you” from Rev. Ellie which she thought was such a beautiful and kind-hearted way to convey thanks from the church. 

St. Luke’s thanks Briar whole heartedly for her passionate and great effort in creating the Beatitudes. We hope to have her join us soon in person to thank her. In the meantime, we enjoy being surrounded by the warmth and kindness expressed in the Beatitudes.


Jim Higginson ON is treasurer of St. Luke’s (Smithville).