questions / answers, July 2020

Last week, I answered these questions for an instagram feature curated by artist and teacher Veronica Aranda.

links: 1 // 2 // 3

What is your artistic practice?

I am a visual artist who makes paintings and drawings, and enjoys playing around in other mediums when given the opportunity. I have been keeping journals and sketchbooks since I was a child, and consider daily writing or sketching to be a crucial part of my practice. My work uses observation of patterns as a framework for considering attention, embodiment, and communion.

What is art for you?

Art is learning to see more clearly, and responding in a generative way. I think about “learning to see” in the senses of honing my skills of observation, growing in the ability to remain connected to the present moment, and of paying attention to reality in the world and in myself, even (particularly!) when it’s difficult. For me, this is a spiritual practice.

What/Who/Where inspires or motivates you for your artistic practice?

This week, I’ve found inspiration in: cherry tomatoes ripening in our container garden, the book “Enduring Lives: Portraits of Women and Faith in Action” by Carol Lee Flinders, colleagues across the museum field who continue to call leaders to account for institutional racism and unfair labor practices, writings on pregnancy by Amy Bornman and Caitlin Metz, and conversations with a dear friend about the false divide between art and craft.

spring sketchbook

books (2019)

I’ve been thinking about what I read and why. Maybe this at its broadest: I am trying to understand the world, and myself, and the ways everything overlaps and intersects. Right now, though, it feels sort of difficult to focus on reading. I’ve been turning to poetry more than usual which feels manageable and grounding (midway through a Jane Kenyon collection currently), and am also finally getting around to posting my list of books read last year.

In mid-2019, went through a several month period of not reading much of anything but decided to let it happen and not try to cram in a ton of books at the end of the year to meet my GoodReads goal. Similarly, I only sort-of kept up with the “write something about every book you read” practice, and that’s fine. It’s back in progress for 2020, though! I missed having it to look back through at the end of the year.

Something else which feels significant in reflecting back on the year-in-books is that both Mary Oliver and Rachel Held Evans died in 2019. This interview (“Listening to the World“) with Mary Oliver from the On Being podcast has held up to multiple re-listens for me, and I returned to previously read books by both them (Searching for Sunday, Why I Wake Early). These women helped shift and expand my vision in meaningful ways and I am grateful for that. ♡ 

morning pages / reading spot
Continue reading “books (2019)”

having wings

having wings - Amy Bornman | Lynnette Therese Sauer
photo: Amy Bornman

Having Wings is a community-sourced advent anthology created / edited by Amy Bornman (of All Well Workshop), and it contains a drawing I made and words I wrote this advent season. Amy’s thoughtfulness in her creative process and beautiful handsewn creations have been inspiring as I consider my work (“art” and otherwise), and how it intersects with the values by which I hope to live. So when she announced an invitation to participate in this gathering of poems for the hoping, waiting season of advent, I wanted to contribute.

Most of my drawings this year have been unplanned curves filling sketchbook pages, as I try to get outside of a systematic mindset when it comes to making. Searching for the intuition I hope I have, and maybe starting to find it in this practice. After filling untold sketchbook pages with these swirling lines, I started noticing forms that reminded me of art historical Madonna and Child paintings. (A lovely google image search: “abstract madonna and child”.) Continue reading “having wings”

books (2016)


  • Bel Canto, Ann Patchett
  • If You Find This Letter: My Journey to Find Purpose Through Hundreds of Letters to Strangers, Hannah Brencher
  • Every Good Endeavor, Timothy Keller with Katherine Leary Alsdorf
  • Home, Marilynne Robinson
  • Lila, Marilynne Robinson
  • Watership Down, Richard Adams
  • Erotic Ambiguities: The Female Nude in Art, Helen McDonald
  • Drawing From Life: The Journal as Art, Jennifer New
  • Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
  • Out of the Silent Planet, C.S. Lewis
  • 40 Days of Dating: An Experiment, Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman
  • I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb
  • Perelandra, C.S. Lewis
  • The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison
  • Mindfulness: 25 Ways to Live in the Moment Through Art, Christophe Andre
  • Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, Sheryl Sandberg
  • Dog Songs, Mary Oliver
  • Color: A Natural History of the Palette, Victoria Finlay
  • Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay
  • Pictures & Tears: A History of People Who Have Cried in Front of Paintings, James Elkins
  • No Matter the Wreckage, Sarah Kay
  • One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories, B.J. Novak
  • The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
  • Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard
  • That Hideous Strength, C.S. Lewis
  • The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival Resilience, and Redemption, Laura Hillenbrand
  • How We Are Hungry, Dave Eggers
  • A Short Guide to Writing About Art, Sylvan Barnet
  • Destruction Was My Beatrice: Dada and the Unmaking of the Twentieth Century, Jed Rasula
  • Women in Clothes, Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton
  • Small Wonder, Barbara Kingsolver
  • Modern Arab Art: Formation of Arab Aesthetics, Nada M. Shabout
  • Stardust: Supernovae and Life – The Cosmic Connection, John Gribbin
  • Slaugherhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut
  • *Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis, Lauren F. Winner
  • CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, George Saunders
  • A Poetry Handbook, Mary Oliver
  • The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell
  • Pastoralia, George Saunders
  • H is for Hawk, Helen MacDonald
  • Remote Control: Power, Culture, and the World of Appearances, Barbara Kruger
  • Buddhism for Beginners, Thubten Chodron
  • The Agony and the Ecstasy, Irving Stone
  • Fool Me Once, Harlan Coban
  • Cold Tangerines, Shauna Niequist
  • Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice, Shunryu Suzuki
  • McSweeney’s #44, edited by Dave Eggers
  • Myths of Light: Eastern Metaphors of the Eternal, Joseph Campbell
  • A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle
  • Cambodia’s Curse: The Modern History of a Troubled Land, Joel Brinkley
  • *Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church, Rachel Held Evans
  • Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, Bryan Stevenson
  • The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable, Amitav Ghosh
  • The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, Ann Patchett
  • How to be Both, Ali Smith
  • Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality, Donald Miller
  • Thirst: Poems, Mary Oliver
  • Evidence: Poems, Mary Oliver
  • The Book of Buddhas: Ritual Symbolism Used on Buddhist Statuary and Ritual Objects, Eva Rudy Jansen
  • Swan: Poems and Prose Poems, Mary Oliver
  • The Circle, Dave Eggers
  • TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking, Chris J. Anderson
  • The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

* = re-read