A few months ago, I discovered an online publication, “Collected Magazine”. I connected and they connected in reply. The result includes some of my artwork and an interview about my Psalm 23 series. Here’s the link:
“On different days, I’m different too, You’d be surprised how many ways.” Dr. Seuss, “My Many Colored Days”
Someone commented on Sunday, her love for the colors in my paintings. I smiled to myself. My palette has decidedly changed.
Formerly, I had a bend towards neutral, bland in conversation and tone. My aim was ethereal. I now see it was timidity.
Yesterday, I watched a tiny lizard fade from black to green to gray. I convinced my granddaughter to let him go as she clutched the caught creature, tiny thumb and forefinger keeping “the baby safe”.
Once set free, it scurried with a whip of a long tail into the sandy ground overtaken by green.
There was a time, I turned all the books exposing only the pages, clean and pristine, no color showing. My husband asked how we’d know the titles, I answered, “Pull it from the shelf and look and keep looking until you find one you like”.
Explore. Truth is, I felt comfortable with the quiet untouched arrangement.
It was safe, not noisy with color, uncluttered, avoidant of engagement.
Now, it appears I’m becoming vibrant, creeping towards but resisting crowded clutter.
Discovering wonder in tiny things again.
Like sunlight landing on spines of books I love.
Morning greeted me that way, touching the den’s corner and I saw the beauty, I saw the gift of a perspective change.
I lean my paintings against my mama’s white chair, the backdrop a mixture of blue speckled paintings and a splash here and there of yellow.
I’m layering color more boldly these days, still soft and easy, fluidly filtered but not at all shy.
Ebony paint fencing in water, creamy white shadows only slightly dulling the grasses.
Verdant green, velvet like a cool cushion.
Happy pinks and confident blues.
October 11, 2022, I paused to see if my memory was correct.
Then I tallied the years since my father passed away on October 11th, 24 years ago today.
I remembered the room where the decision was made and thought of how it seemed to be a circle of voting, “what do we do?”.
Hang on or let go?
I wondered, this afternoon, what might have been had we decided differently and for a minute I felt lonely. Then, a thought that might not be true for others; but, for me it quelled the useless wondering question.
Don’t waste your wonder over what might have been, only and always open your heart to the wonder of now and the wonder of them.
A cousin I haven’t seen in over twenty years wrote to me today. She said my daddy would check on her when he was in Savannah. It was always unexpected; but, sweet, so sweet when my daddy, her uncle came by to be sure she was okay.
I found myself like a child, filled with wonder and my day, one of many colored, was bright yellow dancing with indigo.
Not murky grey like regret, nor blah with grey from the dirty jar needing brushes washed.
No, blue like the eyes of a girl like me, filled with wonder. Coral like kindness, turquoise the assurance of hope for tomorrow.
These are the colors on this day, just one of my “many colored days”.
I have so many more.
“a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;” Ecclesiastes 3:4 ESV
I was given an opportunity by Hayley Price, owner of The Scouted Studio and The Art Coaching Club of which I’m a member, to share my thoughts on being an artist and why I continue this intentional journey.
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” e.e. cummings
Last month, I noticed a new follow on Instagram. A talented photographer with an affinity for capturing beauty in found objects fresh or ancient and in spaces you’d think too battered, but made brilliant.
His images compelled me, their stories.
An invitation came to be photographed.
Surprised. I was surprised.
I studied his work, admired the portraits of others and felt drawn to each of them through his retelling of their time together, their stories of being themselves, artists.
He must be observant, a good listener I decided.
And so, I said yes to this beautiful surprising invitation to sit and be captured through his eye and his lens.
He listened as I responded to how I began painting. Then, he listened some more to the story of the ill-fitting art scholarship recipient who lost her chance and her way because of hardship, horror and harm-filled days.
Then, the always answer to my return to painting came.
“It began with the gift of a Bible in 2016. Subtle sketches in the margins of women who understood me and I, them.”
And I sat for him twice, occasionally worried I’d overshared and yet, deciding that’s not for me to say.
It’s up to the listener.
The capturer of me now, the shadow of the old fading to barely there grey.
I am grateful.
In quietness and confidence shall be your strength…Isaiah 30:15
Follow Drake White on Instagram to view the other artists’ portraits and his website to view his other work.
I cried because the mean old thing called fear has been catching up, wrapping its arms around me like a stranglehold suffocating and silencing my wildest, most wonderful hopes.
I cried a little on the trip to find shelves to organize my paint (again).
Tears that said “not again”.
I’ve been hoping I was wrong about what I giddily decided was just right for right now.
I cried because my jaded conclusions drawn because of past hurts, harms, manipulative grooming and demands is putting me in the corner again.
I’ve been hoping I’ll hear they decided it was not right for me to paint and speak after all.
Then, I can sigh and sit quietly hidden in the identity that is me after all.
Alone and isolated, but safe on my own terms.
So, once the quiet tears stopped on their own, I reread the invitation to be photographed and have my artwork possibly featured with others in a future exhibit.
I reread, researched and respected the questioner, trusted it and him.
I said yes because my tears were not from fear, instead from fear that I may again be trapped in my decision to hide and that would mean
I wouldn’t go on.
It would mean ignoring how far God has brought me and that would be dishonorable.
Dishonoring myself and the one who made me to walk through doors I didn’t even knock on,
“You were not made to cower. You were made to create and to share what you make. You were made to be authentically brave.” me
Why do I write about such things, things like declining invitations because trauma triggers say “stay safe, stay humble, stay nothing, be nothing other than afraid and small”?
Because tears on the way to Target may be sweeter than you think, might be a tender gift.
Good tears, friends, very good.
I write because it helps me see the tears on the way to Target were not sad tears at all, rather than were cleansing, clarity, another swash of the trauma residual slate washed clean.
Tears that say okay, now
Take a breath, check your mascara, dab a little color on your lips.
Take a breath, say a secret prayer.
I assembled the shelves from Target remembering the time I felt so excited. I put the bed frame together for my newly relocated to Colorado son. He’d gone to run some sort of errands, returned to realize I’d done it all wrong.
This son of mine who invited his mama to accompany him cross country, the gift of this will not, does not, has not escaped me.
I lined all my pastels, pencils, watercolor acrylic and oil tubes of paint in their own places and threw the dried up paint away.
Then, I painted.
Not as planned or expected, but I painted.
I’ll paint tomorrow.
I’ll keep on.
“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15 KJV