I’ve always been an artist when it comes to the poetry and musical realm of art, and I’ve enjoyed it immensely. I love that I can write out the things that are going on in my head and then sing them to a tune. That ability has been very helpful to me since I was a child, as it’s been one of the ways I work through and process the things that happen to me and the things going on around me.
But sometimes, I don’t have any words. Sometimes, I am thinking and feeling things that I can’t write out, because I haven’t quite identified what those thoughts and feelings are yet. Do you know what I mean? It’s those times when you know you’ve got a lot in there but you don’t know what to say about it so you feel stuck; those times prove especially difficult for me, as I’m used to defaulting to words.
My whole life, I’ve been surrounded by friends who paint and draw, and I deeply admire their craft and what they make. However, I’ve always been quite intimidated by this realm of art for myself. I’m very much like Abe (or really, he’s very much like me) when it comes to giving up easily on skills that don’t come as naturally as others. There’ve been a handful of times when I’ve sat down to draw or paint something, and it actually came out half decent and I’d feel really good. But 99% of the time, I put way too much pressure on myself to be really good at something I have no technical skill or ability to do, and it ends up looking like crap…. as it should, because I don’t know what I’m doing.
Several months back, I caught a glimpse of some abstract water coloring either on Instagram or Pinterest, probably both. I happened to be really overwhelmed that day, so I decided to pull out my water color palette and paper and paint how I felt. Abe sat down with me and did his own thing, which was wild and free; I love when kids paint. But, I told myself as I started that this wasn’t for anyone or anything, really. It was just to try and get out what I was feeling through a different medium than I was used to, in hopes that I’d be able to come to terms with what I was feeling. The painting above is what happened. The feeling that I had when I was finished was almost euphoric; I felt calm, relieved and emptied. I wanted to keep going, but Abe’s attention for painting isn’t very long and he was over it. I showed Daniel when he got home from work, and was able to talk about why I was overwhelmed earlier that day.
Since then, I’ve been painting with water colors as an art therapy for myself. In conjunction with writing and prayer, it’s quite useful and satisfying.
This was a piece I did one late night, when Daniel was gone for an event. I felt really upset and dark, but I couldn’t identify why, so I painted this. While I was painting, I talked to myself about being scared of someone breaking into our house and Daniel getting hurt on the job. After I was done, I felt so relieved and was able to sleep.
There’s this image I get in my head when I think about the human experience as it relates to depravity and the light of the gospel. It’s really hard for me to describe, so I decided to paint it. The red shape is the soul, and it’s got death roots sprouting out of it, as I believe that’s where we all start out. But then the green light is birthed and sprouts out from the bottom and begins to overtake all of the death until eventually it’s blotted out and we are free.
I wanted to paint pieces for Abe and Emery, and I started with Emery’s. I didn’t know what I was going to do when I started it, but it just kinda came out. We had a little scare at 24 weeks, when I thought I was in super pre-term labor with him. At that point, we weren’t 100% sure what we were going to name him. Right before we went to the hospital, my friend Rachel prayed for me and asked me for his name, so I just said Emery. When she was done, I looked up the meaning of the name, and of course was overwhelmed with emotion when I saw that Emery means “brave”.
Abram is a biblical name, and was Abraham’s first name before God changed it. God promised Abraham that his lineage would be as many as the stars. Although we didn’t name Abram his name because we want him to have a GIGANTIC family, our hope is that the love in his heart for God and others will grow as big as the universe.
So the above proves that I’m way better at abstract paintings than I am objects, haha. But that’s ok- I don’t have to expect myself to be good at something I’ve never done. This art medium has become something I really enjoy, and I want to get better, even if that means I have to work harder at it.