2014-11-05 - Layers
Since I was in grade school, I have always found solace in artwork, as an outlet for returning to center, when the world seemed too much to handle. As a kid, it was more of a distraction - such as the time I was stuck home with the chicken pox. I took the time to do a detailed drawing of our house in Penn Hills, right down to the shrubs along the front sidewalk, completely from memory. God has always spoken to me through nature. As an adult, very often it has been for personal enjoyment through photography, drawing or painting. I might feel led to make something that ended up being a gift for someone I knew, sometimes a gift for someone I really don't know, and most often for me to learn more about myself and the world around me. I believe God has always used the gifts he gave me artistically, to connect me to him and to other people in different ways, throughout the course of my life. Most recently, upon creating a mural, I was once again given more than I imagined in the process.
I wanted to add color to the laundry room in our house. I have always found palm trees fascinating, and I think it started when visiting my grandma in Florida, several times throughout her living there in retirement. I found a photo on the internet, of a palm leaning to the right, so I could paint it where most visually accessible in that tiny room that has two doors. The two of them nearly touch, when both open simultaneously. The 40x60 painting is placed in that space, where 90% can be viewed with one door closed and 100% with both closed. I had several colors of house paint, from different projects done over the past several years. Each of the colors somehow worked with this visually, so I wouldn't have to buy anything to do it. The colors I didn't have in house paint, I had in water-based screen ink from a couple of prints I have done in the past few years. Over the course of a couple weeks, I was able to recreate the photograph - with some artistic license. By that, I mean I had the tree bend a little more than in the photo, I used color at my own discretion, and I also painted a frame around the drawing when it was complete. It reminds me of beautiful things I have seen, and places I have been, with people I care for deeply.
There was another level of depth that hit me while I was painting. You see, it's a process to paint. The process occasionally requires one to paint over an area and do it again. I used to struggle with it more than I do now. Sometimes you have to let go of the idea you think is right in the painting, and allow the opportunity for a better one to be seen. I used to think it was mainly about correcting an error. But while working on this mural, it became clear to me that sometimes it's really about adding a layer, to make it as beautiful as it is intended. It may need a different color, a contrasting one, which ultimately can enhance the piece in a manner that isn't so obvious to our deceptively narrow view. While for a pencil drawing, erasing is the best way to do this, in a painting, we have to paint over an area, with a new color.
In life, we can't really erase where we've been or what we've done. We can, however, be given a new canvas - with forgiveness. And it is a beautiful thing to be able to begin again and not be trapped by our past. Like a beautiful painting, we can again be filled with bold colors that mesmerize the viewers, so they wonder how they fit into the tapestry of life. We can draw them, so to speak, into our Father's heart - each in our own way.
For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: It is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV)
All scripture references are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted.