The Painting Table

A Journal of Loss and Joy

Roger Hutchison

Dec/2013, 64 Pages, PAPER, 7 x 9

ISBN-13: 9780819229052

Foreword by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso

• A story of hope, mixing color, food, artwork, and memories
• Guided questions and blank pages for reflection in word or art by the reader
• Offers a model for small group and individual reflection in times of tragedy (individual, local or national)

This is for anyone experiencing significant loss or change; it’s an accessible, simple, and beautiful book for those who may be grieving the death of a loved one, struggling in a relationship, or facing a major transition in their lives. Where there is grief, sadness, and loss, there also is hope. There is an opportunity for celebration as we gather together, break bread, talk, and are welcomed. Whether through cooking, or painting, or Eucharist, we come together to remember past experiences and to consider new ones. For many, life happens around the kitchen table, but in this case, we gather at The Painting Table as the reader is invited to draw pictures, record memories, and celebrate living through the creation of something new.

AUDIENCE: For use by ages 6-106 and of particular value for chaplains, clergy, pastoral counselors, and Christian formation leaders.

Roger Hutchison is Director of Christian Formation and Parish Life at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas. He is an artist/writer whose first book, The Painting Table: A Journal of Loss and Joy, has been used by schools, churches, and community groups across the United States. His artwork has been exhibited throughout the world, and he regularly offers workshops nationally for children, youth, and adults on expressing their thoughts and relationship with God through painting with their hands. Roger lives in Sugar Land, Texas, with wife Kristin, and daughter Riley.

Roger Hutchison invites us to pull up a comfortable chair to his kitchen painting table and begin to write, to draw, to mark it with our fingerprint. – from the Foreword by Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, an award-winning author of many children’s books including God’s Paintbrush and Creation’s First Light as well as Midrash – Reading the Bible With Question Marks, a book for adults.

The Painting Table allowed us to be expressive, in the moment, happy, sad and excited to be wet with paint. It taught us about color and blending colors to make new colors. It brought out conversations about ourselves as we expressed excitement to paint as well as some fear about lack of skill to paint... mostly the parents.  The Painting Table allowed us to bond over the art while also allowing us to reflect together with our fellow parishioners. The Painting Table is addictive. Once we finished one painting we went on to another and another until the drying table was more than full with beautiful creations of art and the room was filled with happiness.  The Painting Table is healing. – Tracy Day, Parishioner, Trinity Episcopal Church, Newtown, Connecticut

Roger Hutchison knows that the One who ordered and turned a formless void into immense beauty is creative beyond imagination. He also knows that same God is still at work--in our little worlds, in our everyday challenges, and in our own modest efforts to create things of beauty. I have seen Roger guide the hands of young and old into the joy that pens and paints and markers bring. Through The Painting Table he eloquently reminds us that creative expression is not just for formal artists, but can become a part of every life--and an aid to deepening prayer.  – The Very Reverend Timothy Jones, Dean of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Columbia, South Carolina and the author of The Art of Prayer: A Simple Guide to Conversation with God. 

All of us need space to tell stories, reflect, and record thoughts in words, doodles, and drawings, but few of us find the resource to make that space possible.  In “The Painting Table” Roger Hutchison invites you to a sacred place, the table of his beloved Mammaw.  The table has shared the laughter of children in celebration and the tears of those in sorrow.  Join him there to find the space you need to gain the life God created for you.  Join him to celebrate God’s gift of life, moving from loss to light.  – The Reverend Michael Sullivan, Rector of Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church in Atlanta, Georgia, artist, sculptor, and author of Windows into the Soul and Windows into the Light. 

Imagine an ordinary kitchen table transformed by remembering, telling and listening to stories into a sacred place. In The Painting Table Roger tells a tender story through word and paintings rich in color, texture and symbolism that invites us to set an ordinary table that will be transformed into a sacred space of remembering, telling, and celebrating our own stories with vivid colors of paint, crayons and markers. With the playful spirit of an artist and blank pages with prompts he gives us permission take time to dig deeply and let our very souls talk in a language beyond words. This is the perfect book for home, Sunday School, retreats, intergenerational events and more. I can imagine a child coming home from school or an adult from a long day's work pulling this book out to trace the lines of the paintings and painting her own story for the day.  Families grieving the loss of a loved one might use the book to create a storybook as handed down to the next generation. The possibilities are as endless as the communities we gather. It is a place for us to interact with sacred Word and Table of our liturgy of telling, remember, and celebrating. – Jenifer C. Gamber, author of My Faith, My Life: A Teen’s Guide to the Episcopal Church and Call on Me: A Prayer Book for Young People

What a gem!  Roger Hutchison has written a wonderful little book about death and life, illustrated with his magnificent paintings.  In telling his own story about his “Mammaw,” Roger invites us to experience his acclaimed “Painting Table” method of Christian Formation through story telling, painting and journaling.  An invaluable resource for all ages. – The Rev. Robert L. Tate, President, Episcopal Church & Visual Arts (ECVA).

The Painting Table is a treasure for one person or a group experiencing the grief of loss and the sacred work of living beyond goodbyes. This book is beautiful in image and moving through word and silence. As a priest and a hospital chaplain, I have witnessed the multitude of emotions that accompany grief and loss. The Painting Table is a beautiful way to meet these unorganized and deeply personal emotions through art and reflection. Many people have experienced taking their own seat at a certain 'story-drenched' table, learning to grow as family through the sacred act of holding on and letting go - saying hello and goodbye. 

Roger Hutchison's gentle, heartfelt telling of his own loss and treasured memories touches those deep and familiar places. A wonderful resource for all seeking a safe place to remember. The Reverend Carrie Craig, hospital chaplain

"It was a simple oak table adorned with plain dishes and a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables." So begins Roger Hutchison's book The Painting Table: A Journal of Loss and Joy, a combination storybook and guide, inspired by a table left to him by his grandmother. Readers are invited to paint while they explore grief, loss and relationships. The gift of the table is one that Hutchison, canon for children's ministries at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Columbia, South Carolina, passes on to people of all ages in schools, churches and community groups. - The Christian Century

"In his book, The Painting Table, Hutchison invites readers to journal and share their stories of healing. In his own story, Hutchison lovingly describes how he got the idea for The Painting Table activity from his grandmother's kitchen table, a place where he spent much time: he equates childhood memories of preparing colorful vegetables such as summer squash, tomatoes and okra with the vibrant pigments he uses in his work as an artist." - The Huffington Post

Review from Christians in the Visual Arts  http://civa.org/civablog/art-healing-in-newtown-ct-the-painting-table/

More reviews:

The Living Church

http://www.citizen-times.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014301090071

http://www.malaprops.com/topten

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