This painting is part of my presentation/workshop at the the Faith and Arts Conference (September 22-21) at Evangel University, in Springfield, Missouri. I am exploring visual art as an expression of discipleship and
compassion. I am often overwhelmed by the pain of brokenness, whether my own or that of my community/society. I envision the Lord picking up the shards of my sorrow, treasuring them and mending them to bring new life and beauty. The idea of the Lord as Divine Mender is inspired by the Hebrew word “raphe” which means to heal, or to mend by stitching. “Blessed Are the Broken” is 20″ x 30″, oil with wax on canvas, with broken clay and twine.
Jubilate Deo: Be Joyful in the Lord! When I was a girl, my family faithfully attended St. Thomas Episcopal Church. My earliest memories of art and music, celebration and contemplation, are deeply rooted in the rich history of the liturgy. The poetry of the Psalms and prayers still resonates in my heart. This painting expresses the vibrancy and delight of singing Psalm 100, also called the Jubilate Deo: “Be joyful in the LORD all ye lands, and come before His presence with a song.” With lively colors my heart still sings and dances with joy before the Lord my Maker. (Jubilate Deo, oil on canvas, 30″ x 40″)
One of the best things to do with children is to plant a garden. A reward of planting together is an increase in our sense of wonder. How a buried seed literally transforms into fragrant, fruitful beauty still amazes me!
In contrast to the patience learned while waiting for a seed to sprout, consider the results of following the “trending” issues on social media. These ideas spring up overnight like a mushroom, intoxicating our souls with the illusion of importance and significance. “Trending” increases the volume of what is perceived as urgent, and as a result our sense of spiritual hearing is dulled.
Perhaps today is a good time to find a patch of dirt, a small pot of soil, and plant some seeds. My favorite are nasturtiums!
The painting in this post is called “Good Soil” (oil with wax on canvas, 16″ x 20″). It is available for sale in my shop.
What is my response to the unspeakable violence in the world today? Science reveals 3 options to traumatic threats: fight, flight, or freeze. My thought is that when I create art in response to the aggressive acts of evil, I cover all three of those options.
I fight darkness with light; the darker the situation, the more I am compelled to create. I will not stand down and disappear. My posture is to stand tall in my studio and bring beauty to my canvas.
I will not flee my culture. I promise to stay, and through my art create a space where grace can uplift our souls. My body is earthbound and in my studio my spirit soars. God’s strength lifts me up, and on His wings we are all free.
There is a stillness I experience as I paint. This is a quiet breathing, not a frozen stance of fear. When I create from a place of inner calm, holding my paintbrush, breathing the wonderful smell of my oil paint, my soul is soothed and can channel God’s peace.
Today, in the face of the shootings in San Diego, I affirm that “though the darkness gathers round, songs in the night He giveth; no storm can shake my inmost calm while to that refuge clinging, since Christ is Lord of Heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing.” (Lyrics by Robert Lowry).
I painted “Holy Ground” to honor those who lay down their lives as they worked to save the people trapped in the damaged World Trade Center buildings. In the midst of darkness and chaos these brave men and women trudged up broken stairs, bringing glimmers of hope and life to the desperate and fearful. There is no greater love than to lay your life down for your brothers and sisters. It is right to take off our shoes in their presence; their great sacrifice has created hallow ground.
As a new year is appearing fresh and clean on the calendar, I am grateful for my dear family and friends. This painting is dedicated to those loved ones who bring the beauty and brightness of their lives to warm my soul. The word “companion” literally means “sharer of bread,” and that is what nourishes our hearts as well as our bodies. May this painting remind us of our need to sit around a common table and in the breaking of bread create a safe and peaceful place.