Tag Archives: Art

Green is…

I’m feeling better. Several hours after writing my last post, I lay down on my living room floor, looked over at my cat, Romey, and asked, “What is my deal? Why am I so full of angst?” I closed my eyes and prayed, “God, help me understand.”

Clear as day a memory flooded my mind from late November 2014–it was week three of my anorexia rehab. I was at my friend Jen’s art studio painting a canvas for a creative non-fiction piece I had written for my friend Kelcey called “Green Is.” I was so nervous; I was afraid of painting something wrong–mixing the colors wrong, making the lines wrong, making a complete mess of the vision that was in my head. The piece was supposed to be green and gold with the writing placed in the middle of the canvas.

As Jen guided me through the process, it didn’t take long to see why God had led me to the studio. Among other things, this session was a lesson in patience.  As I had finished applying the paint to the canvas, I was pleased with what I saw. “Great! All done,” I said. Jen grinned. “Art is never done in one application. You have to go back and fill in all the thin spots.” She held my canvas up to the window and streams of light filtered through my green and gold landscape.

I huffed.

“It takes patience.” Jen said.

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Here I was again, lying impatiently on my living room floor praying to God to help me understand why my eating disorder was triggered. I thought I was better. I’d done the hard work and even went back and uprooted my childhood with my dad. We were healing. What’s the deal, man?

Patience, dear one. I’m not done yet. Don’t let go of Me. 

Then I had the strong urge to revisit the Bible verse that had helped me compose the piece:

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
    whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
    that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
    its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
    and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)

Reading it, taking it in, has brought me peace. There are things about my journey I can’t see and don’t understand. It’s going to take patience on my part when I am feeling frustrations of my mental illness.  Despite the mundane-ness, my leaves are still green and I am still bearing fruit… progress is happening and I am being made new.

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“Green Is” is what I call a “color profile” of my friend Kelcey. I write color profiles about people I love, combining the psychological and Biblical meanings of a color with what I know to be true of the person about whom I am writing:

Natural and raw and unmasked, green hides nothing and exposes a balance of the heart. Green is shades of jade, not of judgment and querimonious brood but of life, compassion, and mercy. Abundant in strength and zeal, green constantly flourishes in growth; it boasts endless seasons of spiritual and emotional generosity and spreads a wealth of renewal for withering meadows.  It is the healing Chroma not easily faded, for its peaceful vibrancy remains bold against grey.  Green does not burn in firestorms, rather it braves that which threatens to destroy life and draws upon the waters of faith rooted in the depths of the heart. Green bestows and honors organic love.

Soft are the hues of this lush color in times of revival, planting tender seeds of security and peace, and promising vitality for those who rest upon the nurturing stem of the emerald spirit. Green is a canopy under which lies introspective energy and safety; a refreshing refuge for the weary and fearful.  Verdant harmonies, cast from the warmth of optimism and the coolness of insight, produce the richest of hope for mournful souls. Green is the purest giver of gentle spiritedness among an earthly grove of living treasures.

Purple Is

Cyan Is

Orange Is

Gray Is

The coolest thing about parenting

The coolest thing about parenting is when my kids shock me in revealing how awesome they are. I don’t mean this in a braggy “my kid is awesome-er than other kids” kind of way. I mean it as in “Whoa, I had no idea you could do that.”

I don’t know how it happens that I don’t notice when she (or my son) advances in learning or skill development. Last night while working with my daughter on her homework, (yes, my kindergartner has homework… and kind of a lot of it), one of the assignments was to read a book and find five “heart” words–a, see, for, I, and, the, in, can– and write them in her workbook.

20131203_190642

Haley reading My Dentist is not a Monster.

Typically when my daughter reads for school, she reads her reading-group worksheets, which consist of basic word/letter sounds and simple two-to-three word sentences.

When we read books together, I read to her. Only last night, when she picked out her book for her assignment she asked, “Mom? Can I read the book to you this time?”

Of course I said yes, thinking it would be a long, tedious session of helping her sound out every word outside of the basic heart words she already knows.

Um. She read the entire book to me… with minimal help! I was shocked and amazed! I kept looking at my husband  and silently mouthing, “Our daughter can read!” I was so delighted, and she was proud. Oh she was so proud, and her bright, little face was so excited in response to my praise. 😀

Rewind a bit back to Monday, I took Haley to her first art lesson. Haley loves art. When she’s bored, I can usually say, go draw or paint something and she will, for about an hour.  Then she gets frustrated. Angry-frustrated. She struggles to match the image in her head on the paper with her paint or crayons.

Typically I try to calm her angst with the suggestion to take a break (it works for me when I can’t seem to get the words right when I’m writing). She refuses every time, declaring with angry tears, “No! I want to make it right!”

I don’t know how to teach her; I am no help in these times of frustration for Hales. I’m not exactly a visual artist myself, which is strange considering my mother is an amazing artist.

So, we’ve invested in a few art lessons with a local art teacher, who I just adore. Imagine my shock and amazement when I picked her and  she was putting her initials on the bottom of her first “official” painting:

HaleyHorse

That’s a pretty good looking horse for a five-year old artist!

I’ve always known my girl has an artist’s soul, but I hadn’t realized the extent of her skills yet. Of course she’s going to get better with time, but I’m so excited to see what she already embodies.

I am incredibly grateful for teachers. As a mom I can teach my daughter a whole lot about life, but I can’t always harness her unique skills in a way that makes her feel successful. Teachers can. These little headline moments I experience with both my kids are so precious to me, and I love the shock value they punch into my day.

Three Ladies, Two Months, One Ice Cream Truck

Wouldn’t it be so cool to jump in an ice cream truck with your friend and travel across the country, performing for people in cities all along the way? I mean what an adventure that would be, right?

JenAmandaAmeliaI have a friend who is doing just that. Check this out. My friend Jen wanted to go on a pilgrimage to learn more about her Native American heritage. She’s an artist… and award winning painter, a singer, and a writer. Her friend, Amanda, is a folk singer and a writer who owns an ice cream truck and a spirit of adventure unlike anyone I have ever met. Together with Amanda’s eight-year old daughter, Amelia, they are trekking across the United States from Sherwood, Oregon to New York City! It’s called The Indian Summer Tour! Isn’t that fabulous? They have 32 scheduled tour stops where they’ll be performing music together, and Jen will be doing performance paintings.

It’s one of the coolest and craziest things I’ve ever heard of, and I am looking forward to keeping up with their journey! I’ve joined their Postcard Club, so I’ll get a postcard from every city they stop in along the tour. 🙂 Their voyage begins with a send-off performance on August 31 at the Rebekah Lodge, and they hit the road September 1.

I hope you’ll join me in sending up thoughts and prayers for safe travels, awesome discoveries, new friendships, and a memories for a lifetime for all three ladies!

Here is a sneak peek at what this adventure holds:

Follow the journey:

Blog: http://theindiansummertour.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theindiansummertour

Postcard Club: https://squareup.com/market/the-indian-summer-tour

I’d like you to meet two of my friends… both inspire me

JenAfricaPainting

JenPainting

Last Summer I met a beautiful and talented artist/art teacher, Jen Predoehl. We connected right away but became swept away in one another’s love for Africa. She taught art there several years ago and has kept in touch with a few of her students who are now in college! She gets to go back for a visit later this year and I am so excited for her. 🙂

I’ve learned so much from Jen about art, African culture, and the people. It is through her I met Phumlani Mtabe.  Over time and several early morning chats with him on Facebook messenger ( got to love social media!), I have learned his story, grown fond of his artwork, and fallen in love with his dreams for his township in Kayamandi.

One of my favorite paintings Phumlani has done.

One of my favorite paintings Phumlani has done.

On March 15, 2013 a fire, sparked from an unattended paraffin stove, destroyed Phumlani’s town and left over 4000 people homeless. Jen informed me the second she learned of the news, and it was mere hours before Jen had the wheels set in motion for a fundraising event to help her students and fellow brothers and sisters. Tonight is that event, and I am SO thrilled at the community love that’s already been poured out in support of tonight’s festivities! I feel so lucky to be a part of it too!

Today I had the pleasure of reading Phumlani’s story… written for and in response to what’s going to happen tonight. I want you to take in his heart and feel the hope that permeates through his words:

PhumlaniMy name is Phumlani. I was born in 1990 in South Africa, and I was raised by my mom with my three brothers.

I grew up in a very poor family, but , like the other children, I had a dream– dream that one day I will become someone important in the world.

While I was growing in the township of Kayamandi, I realized that there are many challenges that our community people are struggling with.

Poverty was the main cause of hopeless among the youth and the elders.

I wanted to be an artist–that was my goal and career that I dreamed of. I was Phumlani Artglad when I heard about an art class program that was provided at Kuyasa. I join the group of the art class. That’s when I met Jennifer, my art teacher, who became a best friend of ours. 
In 2010, after passing grade 12, I applied for a BA Applied in Design at Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography. This year I’m doing my final year. I love art! It was always my passion. 

One of my objectives is to plant an art studio in Kayamandi were I will teach young and adults about how they could make living with their talent and art and also making ways on how they can open business for themselves and provide job opportunities for the community. This business idea will benefit the Kayamandi community. The idea existed to me a long time ago– I want to make a change in Kayamandi .

FiredamageBut on the night when I had a loud voice shouting louder (KUYASHA), which means the fire is burning, everything was vanished away. I lost everything my artwork that was on walls decorating my home, art portfolio and my computer they all vanished away. I tried to save some stuff but people suggested to leave everything because the fire was everywhere. When I look around I became hopeless –everything we own was vanished by the fire. But still the dream that I had and the hope for Kayamandi still remain in my heart. I couldn’t hold my tears on that night; braveness and confidence fades away as I couldn’t stand watching our shacks burning. But still I remain in tear because I did not have a choice. 

We have to start from the beginning, rebuilding for a new hope that one day God will listen and hear our prayers. 

The fire affected my working process. I don’t have any material for artwork; all the work I already produce was burned by the fire. I lost my computer, even my cell phone that I kept on the shelf. I lost many book for inspiration. Everything was turned into ashes. 

But I still have hope that my dream will come through even if how hard I should work. Kayamandi will rise again; it will become a place of hope, a place of joy and happiness.
With your friends and families together we can make a difference in Kayamandi. Hope will rise again in Kayamandi.

I just wanted you to meet these two people I am honored to call friends! I encourage you to check out Jen’s blog or send her a hello on Facebook. Phumlani doesn’t have a blog, but you can say hi over on his Facebook page. 🙂

One of Jennifer's pieces that's up for auction tonight! Isn't she amazing!

One of Jennifer’s pieces that’s up for auction tonight! Isn’t she amazing!