Monday, June 3, 2013

Living Our Art

It was all warm and enchanting to me. The sun rays piercing through the thicket of trees, casting shadows that bounced with the breeze, through the lace curtains onto the table.

In the corner of her kitchen stood an easel cradling her current art creation-in-progress. On her walls hung other pieces. Some tiny, some so grand in size that they overpowered the wall where they hung. She chattered about how poorly she paints and yet she spoke about each piece as if it were an intimate friend. I could sense the passion with which each one was bore forth.

Nature is her soul-palette.

Her brush strokes crowned mountains with snow and formed cascading clear streams that I could almost hear splashing across the canvas.

I'm in awe because she is a true artist. A visionary. One who produces something from nothing. One like you might find in a quaint little shop talking about mixed media, tone, depth and wearing a funny hat.

I tell her, "I wish I were an artist."

Matter-of-everyday-fact-like she replied, "Oh everyone is an artist."

I munched on my cookie.  "Nope. Not me."

She stepped close and touched my hand as if to make sure I had a pulse or in hopes I would hear what she was about to say with all my beating heart.

"The very first glimpse we get of God is this: 'In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth....' "

She went on stating her case, that since the Bible says we are all made in His image, she believed that every person is made with gifts and talents to create art and express themselves creatively.


And she believed that art isn't a thing.

It is a way of life.

She pressed me with a question: "What in me could not be silenced? What thing keeps bubbling forth? "

She told me too, it probably would seem impossible.

Then I remember this blond headed little girl drawing a picture with green grass, a fence and my dream horse. Proudly displaying it in class, only to have the teacher say, "Well your picture almost looks like a horse."

That little girl never drew another horse. And worse, she started listening to the crowd of voices in her head that taunt doubt about ever being good enough to even bother.

And doesn't that happen every day?

Children who feel free to create masterpieces that cover refrigerators, until they are stifled by "educated" well-meaning people. And then the refrigerator art dwindles and they too believe that art is for people who stand on boardwalks with easels.

That day I admitted to her and hoped no one else in the whole wide world could hear me say it.

"I think I'm supposed to write."

It was a relief to hear the words tumble out. Truth was, I had boxes full of small scraps of papers with a single word or a scrawled out sentence on it.

I wrote in my head all the time. Once I bought a typewriter with dreams of hearing the metal arms slap repetitive tics as I tapped out something worth reading. Mostly I used white out. Thank goodness computers came on the heels of that.

Fear kept me from ever putting anything together.

I just collected words.

And it scared me to think about trying to string them together. It paralyzed me to think of anyone ever reading my heart. Untouchable places, being exposed to the light, laid bare to people’s opinions.

The fact is, I am not a wordsmith. I'm not good at speaking the English language for goodness sake. I was thrilled when texting came into existence. Even blogging gives freedom to break the language rules. Yes. That was another problem. I'm just a rule breaker at heart.

The Creator God, takes my little bit and makes it into more than enough.

Now I know too, the thing I can't shake, the thing which burns holes in my heart, are people’s stories.

Seeing and hearing where the Lord is moving.

It. never. gets. old.

Recently my dad handed me, my mom’s paint brushes. It made my chest heave a little.

I don't really paint.

And I found myself saying, "I'm not an artist. What am I going to do with these?" 

The feathery bristles are all splattered and worn. Some brushes I know must have been her favorite, because the filament is worn down to the metal band.

They make me smile because I can still see her beautiful round face, glasses perched on the tip of her nose, with little painter’s palette in hand, as she dabbed and blended her art. 

Her jar of brushes are inspiration for me to keep smoothing the edges of my art.

Right now I'm sitting in a hotel lobby and it's 4:15 a.m. I woke up before my alarm, to write.

Trust me there are few distractions at this time of day. 

Soon, The Artist, will splash a new sunrise painting across the sky and it is something forever inspiring that His mercies are new every morning.

And in a few hours I will have another six month checkup since my cancer in 2010.

It is a privilege to be alive.

I don't know that me, writing once a week, will change the world or for that matter be recognized by the world as a true art form.

But for me it is.

And friends.

I need you to live your art too.

I need to hear what burns deep in your soul, what gets you out of bed when sleep still calls. 

I need to see your dance, walk through your gardens, smell your flowers, see the new splash of color on your walls, sit in your retro re-purposed chair, sip fresh squeezed lemonade and eat your cupcake creations.

No one else can sing the melody of your song.

I need you to sing it.

The world needs you to be fully alive and live your art.

Oh may we. create. good. art.

All for the Creator. The Ultimate Artist of our souls.

#1 Photo Credit   #2 Photo Credit 


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© Rhonda Quaney