Local artist goes with flow of Holy Spirit

Taryn Watkins presents her painting of the Holy Spirit to the man who commissioned it, Bishop Louis Tylka. (Provided photo)

There is so much to learn about the Holy Spirit just by gazing at Taryn Watkins’ new painting of the third person of the Holy Trinity. You can’t help but do that since it hangs above the tabernacle in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit at the Spalding Pastoral Center in Peoria.

“I’m always excited to share what God has given me back to the church,” said Watkins, a consecrated virgin who teaches art at St. Philomena School and Chesterton Academy of the Sacred Heart, both in Peoria. “I was excited about the subject matter and the opportunity to meditate on the Holy Spirit as I painted it.”

The painting — oil on canvas with acrylic lettering — was commissioned by Bishop Louis Tylka last fall and completed earlier this year. It was recently presented and placed in the chapel.

Each part of the painting represents a different symbol for the Holy Spirit, according to Watkins.

The focus is clearly on a dove, although it is presented in a more supernatural than natural way. The artist said the circular nature of the dove’s head surrounded by rays gives it the impression of a monstrance holding the Eucharist.

People will see the fire of the Holy Spirit in the rays. “I wanted that motion of the Holy Spirit coming down, so those rays are part of that,” she added.

And Watkins makes use of the color blue to represent water.

The lettering on the painting is from an ancient hymn to the Holy Spirit, “Veni Creator Spiritus.” While she didn’t plan it, Watkins said the words go around the painting three times, which is evocative of the Holy Trinity.

“It’s totally God’s providence, making it all fit,” she told The Catholic Post.

Watkins said she hopes the painting will provide a prayerful presence of the Holy Spirit.

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