I take pieces of my life (and self) and smatter them on canvas. I arrange the chaos in a fashion that feels often wandering and haphazard, but often comes out grittily “right.”
Even with all the questions and confessions and shadows—scratches, tears, smudges, stains, splatters, and drips—there is harmony. There is light and grace and acceptance and some strange roaring beauty.
I see it. I stand up and step away from the work feeling resolved, as if the troubles of life have been set down. Placed aside. Moved past.
Then those canvases, they are transferred from my life to someone else’s life. Maybe the patron sees a bit of her own shadow and turmoil in all my mess. Maybe he sees some way to synthesize his own questions in my questions. Maybe they can even rest in the midst of the storm after seeing a path of peace in mine.
Often it’s just an awkward sterile exchange of money. One hand to another. Payment to painting. And then a piece of me is gone. And I don’t know where it now rests. I don’t know where I am.
The treasured moments come when they say, “Tell me why you created this one. Tell me what you were thinking.” I oblige with as much vulnerability as I can afford; and I delight at the chance to ask them, “Tell me why you want to take this one home.”
And the beauty of their story mingling with my story, it is a powerful work of art in itself. I walk away with the illumination of knowing these pieces will hang on the walls of their lives, bringing some light to their shadows. It is the full circle of resolution—knowing the further purpose of that piece of my life. And knowing: I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
Imagine holding up your secrets for everyone to see. Or maybe your quiet thoughts from just-before-sleeping or from driving down the road by yourself. Or from a longer-than-usual and hotter-than-usual shower that you really needed for your body and mind to settle down a bit.
Imagine taking all of those things and packing them into your car for a room-full of strangers.
But, then, here’s the crazy thing: Imagine wanting to do this. Imagine this being a dream come true.
We loaded in and set up for a beautiful fundraiser—an opportunity to support the changing of lives in corners of the world I can’t reach with my own two hands. But I carried in what I had. I carefully set it out, heart pounding over what they would think and what they would say. Or if they would care at all. I saw a few familiar faces and heard “oh I know your mama and daddy.” But most didn’t have expectations of me at all.
I invited them into the art gallery, explaining that this was a chance for them to “listen” to what the art was saying—engage with art as they would engage with the music and lyrics they’d just heard. Let it speak to them. Let it draw truth out of them.
That’s the “why” of my art. To share truth. To share the world as I see it and as I so desperately want to see it. Art is a conversation, both between me & God and between me and those viewing.
The response was beyond what I anticipated. Story after story. Question after question: tell me about this piece, what were you thinking, what does this mean.
And I told them. And then they told me. I heard stories of homes destroyed. Marriages destroyed. Lives destroyed. I didn’t say it, but I knew the truth of my art—a dance of joy and sorrow, pain and contentment. They answered my questions with questions of their own. They responded to my whispered confessions with tears and stories and memories. And hope and healing.
And I was changed because they showed me who they were.
For those who have tripped
in the church yard.
Brush it all off.
Stand by me.
I have a friend who’s daughter wishes all art could be free. (Remember this, Mandy?) I happen to agree with her. I wish all art could be free as well.
But, well, artists gotta eat.
So, in the recent recesses of my subconscious, a concept bubbled up: Why not have moments where I hold sales so others can have budget-friendly non-mass-produced artwork?
Just like that, Ten Buck Tuesday was born. The Ten Buck Tuesday section of my Etsy shop has hand-picked listings at $5, with $5 for s/h. I chose them myself, with a few brand new pieces added to the mix:
- Click to jump to Ten Buck Tuesday.
I really am passionate about providing affordable art. So Ten Buck Tuesday is my way of saying “thank you” and for giving the world a moment to grab some art at a crazy-low price.
Delicate. Feminine. But firm.
Seeing through the mess, beyond the mess, to what lies ahead.
Seeing without depth perception, without knowing how much further or how much longer.
Present. Clear. Aware.
I can’t fight off the thought that I must dive deep into myself in order to pull up and out the kind of art that I’m hoping my fingers will make this year.
I also can’t fight off the thought that there’s little down in there right now. My inner life is feels surfacey—shallow. I close my eyes to much of what would pour out at any other moment. But not right now.
I talked to myself this morning. Asked myself who was down in there.
“Hope.” But that’s a painting for another day.
This post, this moment, is brought to you by some of last week’s makings. And maybe next week will come courtesy of my new friend Hope, who will soon have a face.
I thought I was ready for the fresh clean linen smell of 2013.
And then I heard an echo in my soul—the hungry sound of my inner voice reminding me of the year I made a goal to write 100 songs. THAT was the year I called myself a songwriter.
The voice grew bold and challenging. It danced with the idea of another attempt—no, not with songs but with art. “I call myself an artist,” it reminded me.
Yes. Oh big yes.
You know those moments in life when you realize there’s something you must do. Like writing those bucket list items, but for people who are dead serious about their bucket list. It’s the moment you feel alive at the thought; you know that this thing is an act of living. It’s your expression of aliveness. It’s your “I am here” mark on your own days. It’s like you hug your own existence and declare to yourself “I’m so glad you came, now let’s hit the road!”
I saw the wild glimmer of adventure in my own eye. I felt the artist heart in me beat just a little bit faster. I rehearsed waking up earlier. I planned to buy packs of canvas. I imagined stacks and stacks of art.
And then I told Drew, the one with the crazy idea of 100 songs, “I’m thinking about an art goal for 2013. I want to create 5 pieces each week.” I outlined the details, the “rules” and parameters of this goal. He grinned. He sat back in his seat, rubbed his head in his hands, and nodded to support me in making this happen.
If all goes well, by the end of the year I will have 250 pieces to offer the world.
We were just talking about it again this morning over tea and coffee and nothing to do but talk. He asked me how I felt about this upcoming challenge. I raised my shoulders and shook with excitement. I’ve already stocked up on substrates and collage material. I’m already thinking of the resources I’ll need to keep the muse alive. I’m scared. I’m giddy. I’m ready to see how high I can jump.
Sitting by my man on a chocolate colored couch by a simple fire with simple music streaming. I’m feeling quiet and reflective. It’s time to thank 2012 for what it has given me. And think towards 2013.
I’ve got my planner prepped. My word written. My goals for 2013 set.
We need this, don’t we? We need the potential and possibility of a new year. We need the turning of the page. The start of a new calendar. We need the end-of-the-year reviews and the new-year resolutions.
We need to hit the reset button on ourselves sometimes.
This fire and this night and this giddy anticipation of 2013 has me enchanted. Why don’t I do this more often? Why don’t I have end-of-the-season reviews? New-season resolutions? Why don’t I pick a word for each season?
Why don’t I hit my personal reset button more often?
Why don’t we all?
When I finish typing this sentence I will mark the change of seasons on my calendar and I will set aside time for End-of-the-Season Reviews and New-Season Resolutions, because once a year is not enough.