Happy April! Spring is a good time for a fresh start as something in our spirits seems to awaken along with the whole earth reawakening. My fresh spring start is to try to do better at balancing my hours at the easel with keeping in touch with you all!
I feel compelled to share a bit of a personal journey story with you this month. The above painting is one I created using a combination of photos I had taken from a hike in April of 2020 at Coopers Rock State Forest and photos other people had taken of me painting. Why did I combine those instead of just painting the pretty scene? Well, when I went for that hike, I had just returned home from being with my youngest sister for 3 weeks as she passed away from metastatic breast cancer and was sadder than my heart could bear. It was difficult to get back into anything, let alone my painting. When I'm down, the thing that I most want to do is go to nature and be alone with God. So, I took a day and went to the forest. It's a sort of remarkable story how I came upon this waterfall that was tucked way off the trail, and when I found it, I knew this was where I would sit and pour my heart out to God. I truly felt like I didn't know how to go on with the extreme sadness at the loss I felt and at being the only person left in my original family of birth. I was there for a while, crying, praying, and asking Him to come close and help me somehow. He heard me and gave me new inspiration and strength to go on. That was not anything I could ever muster up on my own, and I'll stop here to say that how God speaks to my heart gives me all the evidence I need to know that He is real and that He loves me. I encourage you to go to Him with sincere honesty, whatever you're facing, and if you humble yourself and listen, He will not turn away. You will know He is there and that He loves you.
That helps you understand the significance of the place in this scene; now, why did I put myself there painting? If you talk to artists of any type, you'll hear that we do what we do because we have to, we are compelled. Because of my faith, I believe we are made in the image of a creative God and are all called to create, which is done in a variety of ways. However, people called artists have a compulsion to do their art, and I believe that is the pull of our calling or inspiration. Every person is gifted and called in a different way, and you've probably found that you are most fulfilled and give the most to others when you are living that out. When I'm painting, I honestly feel like it's sort of a devotion and I feel closer to God. So, in this scene, I'm in a place where I felt greatly healed from sadness and inspired, and I'm doing the thing which I am inspired to do. It's like a full circle. I titled the painting Inspired.
This painting was in my head for a while and I completed it to be a part of an exhibit at Tamarack in March called "Women's Work" for the month we celebrate women's history. Women throughout history have certainly done amazing things, significant work, given life, raised families, and so much more. We give life even if we haven't had children of our own. We are life-givers when we make life more meaningful and beautiful for others. If you are a woman, think about all the ways in which your presence in this world has brought life - even in small ways such as giving a smile or word of encouragement to someone. You are amazing. Live out of your calling and you will be giving life and making the world a more beautiful place. If you are a man, appreciate a woman in your life for bringing meaning and beauty that only she can do.