Three reasons why I’m not trying to sell you my art

3 ladiesYeah, so here are three reasons I’m not trying to sell you my art:

1) No one has ever sold me any art. I have enjoyed viewing and buying art for the last 12 years. I have purchased several pieces for enjoyment purposes. I was out browsing, usually for something else and a piece would catch my eye and my heart. I would buy it on the spot. Only once have I bought an “investment” piece.  But I didn’t buy it for the investment possibilities. Proof of that is I spent lavishly on the framing and the next person to own it won’t care at all, beyond that the LE was well protected.

2) Original art is not a 2014 car. No one needs to explain anything to you about my art when you are looking at it. The title might make you smile. The measurements might help you figure where you are gonna put it, but that information usually comes with/near the art. No one needs to convince you that the acrylic paint used is the coolest new color and your neighbors will be jealous. (Although they very well might be. Just sayin’.)

The story of how my art was birthed out of direct instruction from God to draw, and that without any training and little confidence in my abilities, I launched My Blue is Blue is encouraging or inspiring to some. It may cause you to take a second look at a piece. But it won’t make you buy it.

3) The folks who happily spend $49.99 on a two by three foot reproduction of abstract art are not my customers. I have nothing against those folks. Mass reproduction and distribution have made it very easy for everyone to afford eye catching pieces. I have nothing against the art or the companies that are churning the stuff out. I hope the artists are being properly compensated, but I suspect all those talented, unknown artists somewhere in China are not being paid fairly.

I’ve never wanted to run with the crowd. I never wanted art that I had seen or might see on someone else’s walls. And even though I didn’t know that for what I was willing to spend, I could have had original art, I chose unusual pieces that spoke to me as a woman and as a person of color. I chose pieces that made me smile or added to my sense of peace.

I’m an artist. That’s how I earn my living now. I paint almost daily as part of my continuing therapy. I have produced a lot of art. Almost all of it is for sale. If you see something that grabs you, don’t let price stand in the way. If you’d like something completely unique, I’d love to create it. However, I’m never gonna try to sell you something.

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I was angry with God

At this point in my journey I’m all about being honest with myself first,  the Lord second and the world third. It’s not like I was ever big on lying to the world, but I’ve learned I couldn’t really be honest with them when  I wasn’t honest with myself. And really what point is there in lying to God? He already knows!

English: Angry woman.

English: Angry woman. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So I was angry. I had come to believe that God had let me down when He should have been protecting me from emotional harm. Also, when I prayed earnestly for a particular situation to resolve itself as I wanted it to, He ignored me. Perhaps the real fuel was that I found myself in those situations as a new Christian. I hadn’t made it through the entire Bible yet. I didn’t know about praying in tongues. I didn’t have any good female Christian buddies yet. No one in my immediate family was walking with Christ. All I had was Him. And He let me down.

When this revelation came to me in therapy, I was embarrassed and immediately penitent. I realized how foolish I had been. I realized how ungrateful I had been. How could I ever know all that the Lord had protected me from? How could I take for granted that I was still breathing? I couldn’t!

On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it?  -Romans 9:20

Romans 8:28 became real to me all over again. “All things work together for good for them that love the Lord…”

You may have asked or stated, “Why did you let my uncle do those things to me?”

“Why did He let my son be murdered?”

“I was a good husband. I deserved better, God.”

The reality of our lives is that some incredibly painful events and loses have taken place. As Christians, on  a certain level, we want to feel we will be protected from the hurts and losses. But really we know, or we come to know, that neither of those are true. As we mature in our understanding of the word and God’s nature we accept  that pain and loss is a significant part of this walk. We gain strength accepting that God’s grace is sufficient[i], that He has equipped us and that when we lack wisdom we can ask Him for it and we will receive it[ii].


[i] 2 Corinthians 12:9

[ii] James 1:5

all verses from the New American Standard Bible

 

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Time For Another Installment of “Really obvious things I just figured out.”

I’m sure you’ve heard the question, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” similar to that is, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”Those questions can apply to various situations. In the past  I’ve had trouble answering those. But maybe now I’m moving into a space where I trust the Holy Spirit inside me enough to realized I can answer them, for certain situations at least.

Sunday, listening to my pastor, I knew I wanted to take a vow or a fast to show God my commitment to being self-disciplined, and hungry to hear and do His will. A side effect would be better health, which glorifies God since my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.              (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

I texted my husband that I didn’t know what the vow(fast) would be. However, before I could finish writing I realized I did know, but I was afraid of disappointing myself. As if pastor was reading my mind, he said “And if you fall off the wagon, get up and get back at it!”

Then I said to myself, “Don’t condemn yourself for a mistake, dear. Don’t limit yourself, afraid of a mistake that may happen (will happen). ”

Ok, a few deep breaths later, I asked what did I want my vow to be. The big, horrible answer was I will give up all types of meat, poultry and fish. At this point I believe I am vegetarian, not vegan. We’ll see.

(About five years ago, out of the blue, God asked me to become a vegetarian and I stuck with it for about two years. Back then I felt he wanted me to understand about addiction. I just wanted to be obedient. Just as mysteriously, He released me from that eating style. However, I had a sneaking suspicion I would commit to being vegetarian for life at some point. And now I am.)

Vegetables

Vegetables (Photo credit: Martin Cathrae)

Well, it’s not necessary for you to agree with my choice, but if you haven’t figured out how limiting being conflicted is in your life, please re-examine your motivations, behaviors and results. Two of the tell-tale signs that I didn’t recognize for years was being indecisive or taking too long to make a decision. Of course there is the old flip flopping back and forth too.
God is not a God of confusion and He has given us a sound mind. We may say we are confused or conflicted, but I would suggest that often we know the answer. We simply don’t want to accept it. We may say we are hesitant because we don’t want to hurt someone, or we don’t have all the facts or we haven’t heard from God.  Those may be true. But if fear, of failing or succeeding, is really what’s holding you back, recognize it, push it aside and hear what’s in your heart.

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Lord, You Know

1 “The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. 2 Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeedthey were very dry. 3 And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

So I answered, “O Lord God, You know.”

4 Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. 6 I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am theLord.”’”

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.

9 Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.”’” 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.”

April's Swoops crop

My Pastor was preaching on Ezekiel 37. I’ve heard the passage preached many times. But this time, one phrase jumped out at me. God asks, “Can these bones live?” What I heard was, can what has been dead/impossible come alive/be possible? Only God can know the answer to the miraculous. Ezekiel was so wise and humble to know that when God suggests the impossible, it’s never about what we can do to accomplish it.

Ezekiel’s response was simple. “Oh Lord God, You know.” In that I heard, “Lord I have no idea, but I know you do and you are able. I trust you.” That resonates in my spirit these days. It feels like He suggests the impossible to me everyday. My humble whisper is “Oh Lord God, You know.”

Is He asking you about some “dry bones”?

What’s in a name?

 

Pastels

Pastels (Photo credit: ahisgett)

Hello readers,

There are a couple of issues I’ve been chewing on. I think I’ve made my decisions, but I thought I’d throw it out there for your feedback.

First up is the name of the movement: Blue is Blue – creating pastel art to overcome depression. What’s all that about, huh? Well, blue is blue is a pun.  Depression is also called being blue. I’m turning my depression (blue) into art (represented by the color blue.) I’ve had that part of the name square in my mind from the beginning. The second part of the name is my attempt to make my goal immediately known. However, I realized recently that it started as creating pastel art to combat depression. At some point it morphed into creating pastel art to OVERCOME depression. So I went back and forth on the meaning of combat vs overcome. And I not just thinking of the meaning to me, but what it will mean to folks who join the movement later.

It is certainly true that dealing with depression is a battle and it is an ongoing, lifelong battle really. Even if my doctors allow me to come off the medications, I’ll need to remain aware of my outlook and have coping techniques in place for stressful, or scary times. However, I’d like to think more about the reward than the struggle. (That’s part of my new mindset. Like that, huh?) So I believe “overcome” is where I am, where I’m going and where I want to take the good people who join me. I see “overcome” as a process too, but with a positive spin. (hey, you caught that one too?) So “overcome” it is. Unless you convince me otherwise.

My other issue has been signing my artwork. I have been really reluctant to sign my art. Is that odd? When I was a kid I dreamed of being a fashion designer, and having my name in the label! But Blue is Blue isn’t just about me. God gave me the direction to draw and is increasing my abilities daily. And there are so many women I hope to reach. I envision a team of 4 artists who understand depression and the 4 of us will be out doing art with people to help them heal. We will be writing and speaking on the subject across the nation.

There have been several public health awareness campaigns in the last twenty years. The most recent one to come to mind is a push to get kids to exercise daily. That’s what I see for Blue is Blue. So my compromise is I’m signing my work as “Blue”and I put the month and year. At some point in the future perhaps, there will be art that I don’t associate with my Blue movement and I’ll sign my name.  I’ll be happy to hear your thoughts on it, but you’re not going change my mind on that one.

 

10% of profits to TWLOHA

To Write Love on Her Arms

To Write Love on Her Arms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hey there,

You may recall in my post Aware of the Hurting I talked about To Write Love On Her Arms.  Well I want to talk about it some more.  The following is taken directly from their website:

“MISSION STATEMENT:

To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.  TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and to invest directly into treatment and recovery.

VISION:

The vision is that we actually believe these things…

You were created to love and be loved.  You were meant to live life in relationship with other people, to know and be known. You need to know that your story is important and that you’re part of a bigger story.  You need to know that your life matters.

We live in a difficult world, a broken world.  My friend Byron is very smart – he says that life is hard for most people most of the time.  We believe that everyone can relate to pain, that all of us live with questions, and all of us get stuck in moments.  You need to know that you’re not alone in the places you feel stuck.

We all wake to the human condition.  We wake to mystery and beauty but also to tragedy and loss.  Millions of people live with problems of pain.  Millions of homes are filled with questions – moments and seasons and cycles that come as thieves and aim to stay.  We know that pain is very real.  It is our privilege to suggest that hope is real, and that help is real.

You need to know that rescue is possible, that freedom is possible, that God is still in the business of redemption.”

TWLOHA has a campaign to high-school students and chapters on university campuses where students can raise awareness about depression and suicide and suggest help. A TWLOHA information tent can also be found at fairs and concerts.  It’s very much a grassroots type of non-profit.

I believe that their Mission and Vision complement Blue’s purpose. Especially important to me is their work with young people. I have decided that for the next year, 10% of profits from Blue is Blue will go to TWLOHA. And this is after the 10% to my church.

So when you purchase art or a book (early next year) you’ll be blessing two movements.  I’m excited to see all that we can accomplish together, you me and TWLOHA!