After a number of years of fruitful service, he discerned a call to a more contemplative way of life and joined the Camaldolese in 1993. Father Arthur spent his early years with the Camaldolese at New Camaldoli Hermitage in Big Sur, CA. Over 20 years ago he transferred to our urban monastery in Berkeley, where he served for many years as guest master. Besides his theological training, he holds a degree in fine arts from Loyola University in Chicago. Father Arthur gives retreats and presentations on the spirituality of creativity and the creative process.
When you come to visit or stay at Incarnation, many of the works of art you see around the guesthouse are works completed by Father Arthur. His paintings have been extensively acquired by people living in his native California as well as throughout the United States and internationally. His paintings echo the Impressionists, yet he has developed his own original style. These landscape paintings reflect the stunning beauty, harmony, and unity of creation: deep values that need to be celebrated and shared today.
View more of Father Arthur’s paintings at fatherarthurpoulin.org
Father Arthur states of his experience of painting: “I begin every painting by covering the canvas with 20 to 25 layers of black gesso, building texture and preparing the ground for the sacred image. This is where the contemplative process and the experience of painting begins for me. I next apply layer after layer of small brushstrokes of paint, starting with darker shades of color, including their opposite colors. In time (2 to 3 months,) the mysterious gift of a work of light and beauty gradually emerges. Even though these landscapes are based on places I have seen and visited, I interpret them through paint so that new vision can be seen and experienced.”
Father Arthur’s works are widely published as cards and can be seen on covers of books, magazines, journals, and CDs. His cards are now available at over 70 Art Museum gift stores around the country.
Father Arthur now exhibits exclusively at his monastery in Berkeley. Father Arthur is happy to meet with people who wish to see those paintings that are still available or to commission a new one.
The art critic Sr. Wendy Beckett has written the following to Father Arthur regarding his work: “it is intense and strong, with the pure clear inner radiance that is a silent witness to your vocation.”