Linocut Art of St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Houston
One day a congregant from St. Matthew Lutheran Church wandered into the Museum of Printing History in Houston, Texas. She noticed a framed linocut print that I had created of her church. It was hanging on the wall in the gift shop.
She contacted me and long story short…they now have the rights to utilize my art print in their church bulletins, cookbook cover, and however else they wish to use my linocut image. My now good friend Lisa asked me to tell her what inspired my creation of this particular print.
Self Taught Artist
First of all, let me tell you that I am a self taught artist. I took a one semester art appreciation class in high school. That was decades ago!
There was also a 3 hour free class taught at Bear Creek Community Center that I took regarding an introduction to the linocut art form.
I have primarily ventured into this field of art with God-given talents. That being said, I have always been interested in creating and appreciating art.
The one and only nearby girlfriend I had when growing up in the countryside of Wisconsin was artistically inclined. Together we drew, sketched, colored and painted various objects as a form of play. She ended up becoming an art teacher in later years.
My parents moved to Texas when I had just turned 13. Except for occasionally dabbling in artistic endeavors that part of my personality was put on hold.
Becoming a registered nurse took me on another path…but I always appreciated art. When time permitted I occasionally painted and created things for our home and my husband’s office. Most of my paintings have been given away through the years to friends and relatives.
To satisfy my own curiosity I wanted to learn about linocuts and relief printing. My husband and I had collected some old etchings among other types of art through the years. I merely wished to become better educated regarding works of art on paper.
After I had created a few linocut prints by hand I was invited to start utilizing an antique press at the Museum of Printing History in Houston. That museum has been renamed and is now simply called The Printing Museum. It is there that most of my linoleum cut art prints were printed.
It was an advantageous opportunity to use a 100+ year old printing press. I was able to show people touring the establishment how those antique machines were used while I was doing the printing of my art pieces.
Naturally I was seeking objects or scenery that appealed to me as suitable subject matter. Although I have created some linocuts of animals, I have always appreciated architecture. Building designs are not only unique by way of height, width and pattern, but also by the various elements utilized in their construction. My Dad had been a builder and I always loved seeing the different designs.
This recognized Saint by Lutheran as well as Roman Catholic, Anglican and Eastern Orthodox churches is memorialized as one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. Along with Saints Mark, Luke and John he walked the earth spreading the good word about eternal salvation.
Saint Matthew prior to becoming an apostle and evangelist was a tax collector. According to the Catholic and Orthodox churches he died a martyr.
St. Matthew Lutheran Church
Churches in general are often fascinating structures. They tend to reflect the aspirations of the supporters and attendees in directing one’s soul towards a higher and better elevation of life.
Examples of some parishes that did what they could to embellish their churches without having much in the way of money when first constructed are the Painted Churches near Schulenburg, Texas. The insides of those simple churches were transformed into wondrous thoughts of God and eternal life with the ingenious use of paint. From marbleized columns and lush greenery to cherubs emerging from lily-like flowers…this form of adornment was accomplished by talented painters.
More affluent churches often have more elaborate exteriors as well as interiors. St. Matthew’s definitely fits that category. What I particularly liked and represented with my art was the juxtaposition of the different roof lines with the tower and the arches that seem to tie it all together.
Imagine if you will folded and praying hands. They are represented by the arches. The sheltered walkways with the arches protect people from inclement weather such as rain or searing sun. Those arches could also be likened to the body of the church offering protection to it’s parishioners by way of being united in prayer.
The wings of the church forming different angles could be symbolized by different families who have joined together to form a cohesive whole in sharing a common religious experience.
St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church was designed by noted architect Joseph Walter Northrop, Jr. It began life as the First Congregation Church in 1927. Mr. Northrop, Jr. was a former president of the South Texas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. All of this was not known to me when I was drawn to noticing it’s beautiful exterior.
Hopefully this will answer my friend’s query as to why I created a linocut of St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Houston. Art is definitely in the “eye of the beholder” and this is my unique perspective and personal symbolic meaning of her church home. St. Matthew Lutheran Church is currently celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2016. It is located at 5315 Main St., Houston, Texas 77004.