One artist found the true meaning of painting in a letter from Pope John Paul II

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These paintings were made by Fr. Barry Braum. Now he paints often, but this was not always the case. After studying art, he felt that his work was superficial and self-centered, until he came across one pope's writing.

Painter of saints' portraits

I came across Saint John Paul II's letter to artists which had a very profound impact on me.
If art or beauty is the particular vocation of an artist and if that beauty is connected to the goodness of God in some way, then I think that that art takes on the purpose that it's supposed to have.

This letter gave new meaning to his work and helped him discover what he calls quote “a gift from God that he had rejected” years before.

St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus was one of his first portraits and Fr. Braum says he has always been interested in drawing people's faces.

Painter of saints' portraits

The saints are saints because they manifest the goodness of God in such particular way and so I think by highlighting the saint, you see in the saint a certain light of God and I think that that's particularly captured in the eyes.

His paintings are made with watercolors, oils and even digitally. For him, painting is more than just a physical action. It has a vocational dimension as well.

Painter of saints' portraits

Life becomes beautiful when we can percieve meaning in the things that we're doing or when we can see meaning. Well, I think it's more something that's percieved and experienced. And so there's something fullfilling about it. And so I think whenever we can find things what fulfill us I think that's when we're encountering in some way, at least, certain vocational aspects of maybe what the Lord has put on our particular life to do.

Fr. Braum adds that his vocation as a priest is the one that most fulfills him, but he knows that his artistic calling is by no means separate from his priesthood. This is what the letter from the Polish pope showed him. And that is why Fr. Braum says that his favorite portrait is that of John Paul II.


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