- Baha’is believe in the power of prayer and you’ll find Baha’is and their friends, throughout the world, getting together to pray. This is often referred to as a ‘devotional gathering’ or ‘devotional meeting’, and they happen in diverse settings, whether in cities or villages.
I was delighted to meet Juan Pablo Ruiz Morales a few months ago and I was equally happy to discover his sketches of Baha’i Holy places on Facebook under the name El Arte de Juampa! Better still, he agreed to tell me a bit about himself and his work, whose incredible details really transport me back to the Holy Land.
Here are a few of his words and a gallery of his work. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
Baha’i Blog: Hi Juan Pablo! Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself and your amazing sketches?
Hola! My name is Juan Pablo and I am from Chile, I studied industrial design and a few years ago I also became a firefighter. Ever since I was a kid I liked to draw and paint; I was that child that was always painting on random papers, books, and, of course, on the walls of my room. I grew up seeing my mom making tablecloths and painting them with many different and colorful flowers. During the summer, I was at my uncle’s woodworking shop helping him to create old style furniture. I didn’t know that later on, those two types of art would one day become my lifestyle.
Many artists join an art school and others, like me, learn by ourselves. Our way of learning is going to museums, art galleries, reading art books and we are lucky that there are many artists showing and teaching different techniques and helpful habits on the internet now; all beautiful tools to help us to improve our art and to set goals.
Personally I enjoy drawing Holy Places and their ornaments. As my wife and I are currently serving in the Holy Land, I have such a beautiful opportunity to be surrounded by the gardens and derive daily inspiration from them. Artists have different purposes when they choose what they are going to draw. For me, everything is simplified in the connection I have with certain places, a special connection given either by the historical meaning, the beauty in the detail that each place has, or by the personal experience lived every time I have the opportunity to visit them.
Sometimes I want to draw on the spot so I always carry a small sketchbook with me so I can make a quick and simple drawing, but there are other times where I take a picture and then I draw it when I am calmer and not rushing, with a cup of tea in my little studio I have at home. There are some very simple drawings that take me two minutes to make and others, a good amount of hours, depending on the technique, amount of detail, and its intended purpose.
Making art is not complicated; what is complicated is to be constant in our learning so over time we can improve. Our mistake is that we compare ourselves with great artists so we say, “I will never reach that level of art,” but many started without knowing anything and it was dedication, perseverance and love for art that drove them to achieve their goals as artists.
Many of you are artists, you just may not know it yet. I invite you to practice, to find the beauty around you and to transfer it to a canvas or paper. I invite you to share what you are learning with your friends and inspire others to continue creating.
When you have the time, visit the Instagram account @strokes_united, a Baha’i-inspired initiative that seeks to connect/inspire friends to create art. The purpose is that people like you or me, from all over the world, share our advances in the visual arts, whether we are just beginning artists or have been practicing it for years and have made art a career.
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