Whenever I take a picture, I always try to shoot from an angle that pulls in the bigger picture. I took this picture on a beautiful, partly cloudy day that I will remember because of the glimpses of blue in the sky. When visiting recently, I saw many sections of walls and buildings that stand still from centuries ago while the city crops up around it in today’s busy world. Old and new.
I am notorious, as most writers, at procrastinating. I attend a monthly writing group, and typically write something that afternoon. I regret that because I feel that the time is a precious opportunity to get feedback on my writing — and I don’t want to waste anyone’s time.
However, month after month the same thing happens. To a point that it is a joke with the group. This past month, when I told my friend Roxanne that I had started my writing for that night on a napkin at lunchtime, she wrote two Haikus for me. (FYI – A Haiku has three lines, with 5 syllables in the first, 7 in the second and 5 in the third. They have no title)
A Haiku for Sally #1
Yep, just a napkin
Sally has done it again
That is all she needs
A Haiku for Sally #2
What has she written?
I can hardly wait to see
How does she do it?
I loved them. Wonder what I’ll do next month. Thank you, Roxanne Fawley – I don’t know how you did it so succinctly!
Well, I finally did it. I started submitting my photography to shutterstock.com! I’m excited about it.
Talk about a character building exercise! So far I’ve had more rejections than acceptances — but I’m improving. I’m starting to improve my prediction about whether they will accept it or not.
One detail is that you need to zoom to 200% to ensure that it is in focus – fully! Think about that for a moment. How would you like to have your life zoomed to 200%? God has our lives zoomed to over 1000% – makes me think about how I want to spend my time on this earth!
Here are some snapshots from my artistic life when I’ve bared, shared, and written things that I didn’t know if anyone would understand. Moments when I shared paintings with people I don’t know. Points in time when I made the decision to proceed rather than to pull inward:
- Inhale, hold breath — I just went to my first writing group and handed people copies of my writing. The first time that I ever shared anything that I wrote.
- Yikes! What had I done — I just hit the Enter key on my keyboard and agreed to publish a book.
- Are you kidding? I just registered as an artist in Art Prize.
- I have no picture to accompany a blog post so I’ll draw something groan-worthy in MS Paint. Is it too silly?
In each instance I cringed, wondering if I was making a fool of myself or opening a new door in my life. However, the drive to share was compelling.
Rewarding snapshots from my life I’ve received as a writer and artist:
- “Your essay made me feel like I’m not alone in the world.”
- “We are excited to connect with you as your Venue for ArtPrize 2015! We are thrilled to be showing your work!”
- “I have seen your board on Pinterest, and have to thank you for making me feel that I am not alone!”
- “Bought your book for my father (3 years post op for removal of AN) and he said, ‘it’s like I wrote the book.’ Passing it through the family so we can understand more what he is dealing with.”
Discouraging snapshots from my life as a writer and artist also happen, but I’m pretty good at denial, rationalization, and seeing rejection as a closed door redirecting me to a better path. I’m also vastly capable of self-pity, and wallow in it as I process life lessons. However, before long I get sick of myself and look for the next step to take. There’s always a new direction, new adventure, or a new opportunity. Artistic work is subject to interpretation and garners rejection as much or more than acceptance and praise. Acceptance without any rejection feels unbalanced. Rejection hones our skills as much or more than success.
Blogging allows me to think out loud. I’m merely talking and hoping that someone will hear me. I exhale feelings and observations. I write through things to figure them out, to better understand, to process what I’m experiencing. When someone comments on something I wrote, I feel satisfaction to know that what I wrote meant something to another human being. No currency of material worth has passed, but the currency of love, compassion, and connection was paid in full.
Painting is something that I do because it’s fun but am still surprised when someone sees beauty in my work. I love the medium of melted beeswax because if I don’t like it I apply heat to melt it down. Or I may apply a scrapper to remove layers of neatly applied colors. Conversely, I may delicately carve details into a piece that is coming along nicely to add accents or focus. When a piece speaks to someone and they see something in it that I hadn’t, I realize that art shared is no longer owned by my own perception.
I question why God placed a strong desire to share within me. Why can’t I just kick my feet up on the desk and read a book? Why do I feel that need to make others feel understood and to be understood? Why do I feel that strong responsibility for my fellow human beings? Why do I keep exposing who I am and what’s going on inside? I feel squirmy when I feel vulnerable but am driven to produce pictures with words and paintings with wax. Being vulnerable means being open to damage. However, without vulnerability, we live in an insulated life.
Vulnerability is what Jesus bared through his journey on earth. Jesus was drawn to vulnerable people. Baring of our hearts and souls is something that the God of our universe desires and blesses. While he’s the creator of each atom in the world’s most valuable diamonds and gold, he cares most about what is not tangible – but what’s in our hearts and relationships.
Vulnerability makes us stronger. Writers draw readers with vulnerability. Sharing what is lurking in pockets of our minds and hearts allows others to recognize their own reflection in a pond of words. Being understood and cared for is one of our strongest and most basic needs and cannot be attained by being alone and closed.
So, as much as I would like to disappear into the forest, a need for relationships draws me into the world. The desire for connection keeps me tethered to earth. The reward of touching someone’s heart keeps me going. It keeps me being vulnerable. It keeps me creating. It keeps me humbly remembering how tiny our vulnerabilities are in the eyes of God. Snapshots of joy are to be shared with others.
Roots are essential to nature. Tree roots support massive trunks, branches, and leaves, despite strong winds and earth soaking rain. Roots draw nourishment through the trunk allowing growth and productivity.
The roots of our souls strengthen us through life. Some are shallow as we are unable to burrow deeply into life’s circumstances, leaving us vulnerable. Others are deep and immobile leaving us trapped by circumstance; a boulder or burden that pulls us down. Some roots are deep and hold us grounded and provide strength as they send nourishment to our souls and bodies.
Relationships with family and friends ground us and give us purpose and joy. It’s hard to sever relationships that change due to geographic or life events that uproot us. While roots may draw us back to family, it can cause losses. Meaningful friendships are lost or changed forever. Familiar and content routines go away.
Tree roots are flexible. They adjust to their terrain and adapt to construction and sidewalks. Our roots adjust to the changes in our lives. Career changes, family crises, good fortune or bad; roots shape to our surroundings. The people in our lives change, at times causing us to feel unsettled until we are able to recalibrate and grow new, but different roots. A lack of fertile ground, perhaps temporary, may lead us to spread our roots further than we like, stretching our comfort zones.
Once we are shifted to a new location and have established a root base, we can grow again. Reconnect or develop new relationships. Reconnect with family members whose roles may have changed because of age or health. Our roots allow us to change our own roles even as roots change for drought, winds, and rain. Stability allows strength.
When a forest fire sweeps through a wooded area, at times the fire may be so intense that it destroys the tree – roots and all. Other times the tree is burned but roots survive. Shallow roots may be gone, but the deep, main root is able to help the tree rebuild. The tree adjusts to a new self, even as we adjust to our new selves following life events.
God provides roots of spiritual meaning that draw us to Him. The Bible provides nourishment, even as water and soil provide for trees in nature. “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 17:8, NIV)
Being in ArtPrize was a most enjoyable and humbling experience for me. The art that I viewed as I wandered around was simply amazing. I’m honored to have been a part of it! I appreciate the support that I got from the people in my life. Thank you to each person who stopped by, signed my guest book, or simply gave me support from where ever in the country or world you happen to be in!
Many of you have asked when I’ll be at my exhibit, so here’s my schedule (I’ll post any changes)
Venue is above – Central Reformed Church at 10 College Avenue, NE.
NOTE: if you are voting, It starts September 23 and the first round ends October 3.
Tuesday, September 29 – 5:00 – 6:30 pm
Saturday, October 3 – 1:00 – 4:00 pm
Friday, October 9 – 4:00 – 8:00 pm
Saturday, October 10 – 12:00-2:00 and 5:00-7:00
Sunday, October 11 – 12:00-1:30 and 4:00-6:00
Please stop by anytime, but I’d love to see you when I’m there!
Please post any pictures of the display when you do stop by.
I appreciate each of you who are enjoying this part of my journey. . .
Even as I post these, I see changes that I want to make. Encaustic Art is never done. Just melt and redo 🙂 Revisions coming soon. . .