Quality is the first norm for art, but its final norm is love and truth, the enriching of human life, the deepening of our vision.


Snow Lady, Lisa - by Lisa Snow Lady


by Lisa Snow Lady

Sanctuary: Holy Place, Refuge, Dwelling, Oasis, Haven, Safe House, Shelter, Harbor, Retreat, Mission, Holy of Holies, Place of Worship, Temple, House of God, Basilica

A passion for travel has led me throughout western Europe, along the Aegean Coast of Turkey and into Central Mexico. In these places, along with many others, it has primarily been the architecture – specifically the places of worship – that consistently captivate me. Filling my journals with watercolor sketches of Islamic mosques, colorful domes, and steepled churches has often been my focus.   

These sacred spaces are common to all cultures: ancient and modern, throughout the ages, and around the globe. One has only to think of the beauty of the mediaeval cathedrals in France with their richly colored stained glass windows portraying the narrative of Christ’s life for those who could not read or write, the frescos on the interior walls of the Byzantine churches, mosques, desert missions, or Celtic monasteries. 

There are many references to Sanctuary in the Scriptures. Worshipping the one true God of Israel at the Holy Temple (Sanctuary), the place where heaven and earth collide, was one of the main themes in the Torah. Jesus himself refers to his body as the Living Temple (John 2:19-21). And we are told that as his people we have the Temple of the Holy Spirit within us (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Physical structures set aside for worship can serve as important reminders of this. Their primary purposes are: to point us to the Creator, to create a communal space to gather together, to provide a place of quiet reflection, and to serve as a shelter to recharge before being sent out into the world.  

As one of the fortunate ones during this time of Covid-19, I am able to continue making art in my home studio and carry on with life in this new strange version of “normal”, but what I miss most of all is the ability to worship physically in my small intergenerational, neighborhood Presbyterian church. While virtual church has been a way to keep connected during this time, for me it can’t take the place of worshiping in a physical space. The music, quiet reflection, the passing of the peace, the partaking of the sacrament of communion at stations in the church, the after-service fellowship, the shared space are things that I sometimes took for granted and now dearly miss. 

In 2019, before the shut-down, I completed a series of twelve collages inspired by places of worship based on my travels both domestic and abroad. I compiled these small works, fashioned from discarded wallpaper samples, into a small edition of a handmade book titled Sanctuary.

On each page are the words “Peace to all who enter here.”

Clonmacnoise Monastery, Shannonbridge, Ireland

Oratorio de San Felipe Neri, San Miguel de Allende, México

Mission San Xavier Del Bac, Tucson, Arizona, USA

St. John the Evangelist Parish, Seattle, Washington, USA


Lisa Snow Lady is Fine Artist living and working in Seattle, Washington, USA. She has a BA in Art History and a BFA in painting from the University of Washington. An extended stay at L’Abri in the Netherlands upon graduation led her to see everyday living as a creative, sacred act and portray beauty found in the ordinary. She loves traveling and making watercolor sketches to document her journeys and is enthusiastic about teaching sketching skills to others.