Day 4: What hope looks like to an artist

Back in the fall, Pat Costigan exhibited 28 oil, acrylic and pastel paintings that all focused on hope. Today, instead of words, may we be inspired by her brush…

Posted on the gallery wall:

The first step in the journey of hope is love

… and there’s this, this beautiful painting titled Be Not Afraid

Be Not Afraid 13x19x300dpi


Pat Costigan and her husband, Bob, have four daughters, Clare, Beth, Anne and Irene. Before children, she earned a BA in Art and an MA in Special Education, taught and always made art. Through the years she has been involved with local and international social justice issues. Pat recently completed a series of paintings on “Hope” and is working on a new series titled “Grace.” Pat co-authored, designed and created the artwork and illustrations for the newly published book, “Mothering: An Art Of The Heart” ( When she is not busy in her studio, she is often found walking their rescue dog, Bella, around the neighborhood in Fairport, NY.

101_2887Today’s journal page is from Linda Gordon, a generous friend who let me write about her ugly clay foot and still shared her wise thoughts on creating a peaceful dwelling. (She is the perfect example of why it is slightly dangerous to be friends with a writer.) This scripture has been especially meaningful to her as she thinks about hope.


To download today’s journal page and add your own thoughts, click here.

Here’s a glimpse:


Weary? Heavy heart? Join us for 40 days of hope


For weeks now I’ve wanted to offer words of comfort and healing, to somehow string together nouns and verbs in a way that they might become a balm for us all. But I have had no words, no wisdom to share.

Even my prayers have been short and repetitive: Please, help us.

I don’t think I’m alone in this, this place of leaning on the Unseen because I can’t believe my eyes – because I don’t want to believe my eyes. So, I’m doing the only thing that seems to make sense to me. I’m making myself write about hope for 40 days.

When you study writing, you hear about the importance of descriptive language and rhythm and tone. When you practice writing, you learn that it’s just as much about organizing your thoughts and taking a microscope to what you believe.

And right now I need to thoroughly examine hope. I need to see what it looks like in the light and in the dark, and I need to write it down so I remember how the story ends, how good trumps evil. Always.

I need this.

I’m starting Feb. 13, which is Ash Wednesday, in hopes that my heart will be better prepared to celebrate Easter. I’d be honored if you chose to join me and to send some of your own thoughts on hope. Maybe you could write about how you’ve found hope in the middle of your troubles or tell us about something wonderful happening. For those whose creative outlet is music or art, would you share a song recommendation or a painting or photograph?

How about designing a journal page to share with us? I have seven already but I’d love to offer 40 unique and inspiring pages that people could download and write on. Imagine how beautiful a journal like that would be.

Maybe we’ll find we don’t need many words. Maybe we’ll find hope alone is our balm.

Update: I introduced this idea a couple of weeks ago here at this blog and then shared it with readers of the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle. They have been generously sharing their thoughts on hope ever since. I do still have room for more, though… especially for those who would like to create a journal page. If you are interested, here are the details:

  • People of all ages and artistic abilities are encouraged to participate.
  • Decorate an 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper with words or symbols that remind you of hope, but leave room for people to write.
  • Create a pdf of your page or send a copy to me, and I’ll be happy to scan it in for you.
  • Email me a picture of yourself and a short bio so people can learn a little about you.