So, here we are ...at the finale of this little 4 part series that began with the "6 words that changed my art forever"
"Paint the opposite of your pain"
That directive not only changed my art, but changed my heart.
I was coming off of a very difficult situation that sprung from a misunderstanding that was taken a bit too far. Without going into it, I removed myself from it in an effort to allow it to die, but it was kept alive by others. The pain from it was so deep and, as I spoke in the previous entries, pain leaves a residue of lies that I was unintentionally entertaining. If you've ever experienced this, and I believe many of you have, it can be excruciating to deal with when there is literally no resolution in sight. It was affecting everything from sleep to creating, even dealing with family and friends. Even sharing it here, I'm sensing ickiness in my spirit.
That's when my journey really began in putting out into the world the opposite of the pain I felt.
In feeling demonized, I began painting images that edify.
In experiencing rejection, I began creating images that reflected bonds and togetherness
In really getting to the roots of why this one incident brought me down so low, I began creating paintings depicting beauty, nobility, worthiness, magical moments, life giving moments,...saving any photograph that lifted my spirits and creating vision boards with them.
I collected colors, sheens, and materials that even on their own had a message that I could use in a piece.
What I didn't realize that what I was doing at the time was I was surrounding myself with messages that ministered right back to me and the unexpected thing that happened was that in speaking healing over myself, others were being spoken over as well as I shared my artful response to an impossible situation.
There is a special piece that was created during this season where everything that I've spoken about in this series has a part to play in how it was finished.
This piece is pictured here and is entitled "Nobility"
This was created as a "hero" image.
Not what I think of when I see a raven.
I had the experience of being up close and personal with several ravens standing near the South rim of the Grand Canyon one time.
I was annoyed by their scavenging, how they would eat anything and follow us around without concern for their proximity to us. They were kind of dirty and lowly to me, but as someone who really finds beauty in birds and an artist who birds are a favorite subject, my first impressions of a raven was not awesome.
But first impressions aren't actually what's true. Are they?
Conclusions can be made with very little information and those conclusions can lead to destruction.
(going back to conclusions made about me)
In using what had been spoken over my art and changing my focus, I put it into practice in painting. I began researching interesting facts about ravens.
Here are a few...
Ravens are highly intelligent
they are skillful hunters
they can mimic human voices
they can thrive almost anywhere
they have the ability to remember faces
I've also been inspired by the story in 1 Kings 17:2-16 where ravens were used by God to feed Elijah. That lead to the painting "Receiving the Assignment" celebrating the moment a lowly, often demonized being was used for a higher purpose.
The moment a seemingly lowly creature received an assignment by God himself. I painted head lifted high, shoulders back, worthiness, a glow, an anointing. It's an image that depicts a calling and a determination to finish his assignment well.
"Receiving the Assignment" (right) was painted 2 years prior to "Nobility" (below)
The difference in process and skill are remarkable, but the message is much the same.
Because of what has been gained in the process of painting the opposite of my pain, I'm a better visual communicator.
I really find it interesting that I am grateful for those painful moments.
Because of what that phrase, "Paint the opposite of your pain", impressed upon me as an artist, I will forever push through my own pain, gleaning from it what is valuable and discarding what is untrue. I will strive to respond and not react.
I pray we battle the lies that cause the hesitation that keeps us from making that first mark. (Part 2)
Somebody out there needs you to do it. I pray we engage in the process keeping the win and the why in mind, knowing that this piece will speak life to someone we may not have even met or may never meet and that it will be a lasting reminder to them that keeps them in process. (Part 3)
Let's seek to finish each piece well in the most excellent way allowing our past experiences, be they painful or wonderful, to inform the collection of marks and brushstrokes as we go along the way.
If you are reading this and this spoke to you, please feel free to reach out to me here .