My mom use to say she wondered where my artistic abilities came from when she seemed to have missed out. It is not so. My full blooded German mom, her mom, and her grandma all were all gifted cooks, bakers, housewives and makers, seamstresses, quilters, flower, fruit and vegetable gardeners and cooks. All such beautiful and artistic talents. They also cherished a few sentimental keepsakes from Russia where they came from.
My great- grandma Eva, pictured here, is one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. She died before I ever met her. She had a hard, broken life. Her life was even more heart wrenching coming to this country, not knowing English or having much self-esteem and power. This artistic lady lived a isolated life and was often not understood or valued. She was a mother to a very large brood of children. Joys were precious, but perhaps few.
My mother has tender memories of her sweet Grandma Eve. This tender lady loved children, baking beautiful bread and delicious, rich, authentic, homemade food. Her loving hands made what her beautiful heart and mind were feeling.
So I paint, draw and write a bit. These other ladies I doubt ever got the chance to do these things. So maybe, if they had had the opportunity, they would have. But artistic expression isn't just a painting or drawing anyway. It may be a warm, fresh, delicious, beautiful loaf of bread or a bouquet of home grown roses in a lovely glass vase.
I am looking forward to meeting my sweet Great Grandma Eva someday. My eyes tear up as I imagine kissing her soft full cheeks, and holding her strong worn hands. I am honored to be related to this amazing artist.
It is nice to go on a walk and look forward to a greeting from a friendly cow. My walking buddy Cisco, seems to enjoy the greetings too.
It brings back fond memories of us raising cows in Canada. But only a fond memory up until, as a young girl, I went with my dad to the slaughter house,heard our gentle cows bawling in very high distress, and saw the horrid truth. It hit me terribly, we were raising them only to kill them. Or sell them to someone else to kill them. And then we were eating them....or someone else's. These trusting, innocent creatures.
Sadly, I kept eating cows for a large portion of my life, even after the sad discovery of the fate of our beloved cows of my childhood, and after being convicted as a teenager, the truth a vegan diet was kinder on animals and better for me. For years, I blocked the reality of what really happens to most cows, and kept eating them.
I feel proud, grateful and touched my sons who care so deeply about animals, chose to be vegans. They have been inspiring me to do the same again. Even though I knew better long ago...
I don't own any cows. I don't eat cows anymore. But someday I'd like to raise a couple of cows as pets. They can be friendly, curious and cute. Or at least I remember them this way. It seems the cow on my walk is.
Until then, I am going to do a painting of this seemingly friendly cow soon. I hope it lives a long happy life.
When I was in grade school, some of the best times I had were times the teachers would read wonderful story books to us and let us draw. Wonderful times!
As an adult, I carry a pen or pencil and some paper most everywhere I go. Just in case I have some waiting or listening to do. I did this on Sabbath in church. I enjoyed the sermon, sitting by my elderly dad, quietly drawing while listening. Sacred times!
I grew up being being quite fearful of the world and insecure about myself. I was shy and self conscious. I kept to myself and watched, read and drew a lot. I had no real confidence.
For many years feeling this way, this painting and many were others were often retrieved from the alley garbage can before they got ruined or soiled, by someone who did have confidence in myself and my art. Sometimes, in despair or insecurity, I would just give up and throw a whole lot of my art in the trash.
It was hurtful for the person who loved me, to find my art thrown out. It was sad as I was casting a lot more than my paintings away.
I don't do this any more. If I want to throw some art away, I do. Not everything needs to be saved, sold or kept, but I don't throw myself away. I don't cast my confidence away. I have faith in myself now and believe in the faith others have shown me and the faith God has given me. It's ok to throw away some artwork, but I don't want to ever be retrieved from the "trash can" again.
I am confident God and others love you too. I am confident you have a special gift as well. Do not cast it or yourself away.
"Cast not your confidence away..." Hebrews 10:35
I started this painting about a year ago. Stopped and started it a few times. Left it untouched for quite a few months, waiting for some inspiration or motivation to finish it. Sort of how I have been feeling about life this past year.
I picked up my ink and pen the other day, determined to finish it-again. This is as far as I got. For some reason the painting seemed to huge, complicated, tedious, irritating,overwhelming and discouraging. Usually I love this kind of challenge, I sometimes create when I get gung-ho. But not this time. Again, similar feelings about this past year...
I went upstairs many times this year- kneeling in despair and sadness, praying, pleading, asking God for help and surrendering all I couldn't face and handle. Wanting to complete and tackle so many things. Sad so many things hard, unfinished and dark.
A year ago has come and gone. Many good and important things happened as well as many difficult times. I know with God, I will finish this painting, and the hard, tedious tasks and and whatever in life lies ahead.
"Be merciful, unto me, O GOD: for this would swallow me up-as it's fighting daily,oppressing me...What time I am afraid, I will trust in HIM." Psalms 56: 1-3
"Cast your burden on the LORD, and HE will sustain thee."Psalms 55:22
These old Bible promises used to seem very irrelevant, tedious to read, and hard to really understand. Now, as I have lived more life, felt and been affected by the consequences of my choices and the choices of others, I value, treasure, and cling to these dear promises. I claim these as my own. I crave what these troubled people of Jehovah craved and longed for. God kept His promises to these people, therefore,I am encouraged God will always keep His promises to my family and I too. He always has.
I paint these quiet dwellings and think about peaceful living. I reread these dear promises from our loving God.
"Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with My whole heart and with My whole soul" (Jeremiah 32:4).
I used to walk to and from places a lot as a kid. Often the same route and routine. It got old. Real old. To lessen the "misery," I would play games like skipping, counting squares in the cement, and walking with my head down in hopes that when I looked up I'd be almost there.
I still walk a lot. Often the same routes and routines. It gets old sometimes too, even though I choose and really love to walk. I still play games sometimes to make the trip more enjoyable. I look down often, hoping that when I look up I am almost there.
On my walks this week, with all the crazy amounts of snow falling, the snow looked like glistening chips of glass or crushed diamonds. Soft snowflakes like pure white cotton candy. I looked down a lot so I wouldnt slip and fall. Even some snow tire tracks were interesting.
While drawing, painting, and working, I do a type of walking in my thinking and praying. Often yearning to God, "Am I almost there?"
"Trust in the Lord with with all your heart; and lean not unto your understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5,6).
Looking up, I find with Jesus, I am almost there.
It's snowy this year, but usually it is overcast, cold, damp and barren here. There's a certain sadness I feel after Christmas, like there is nothing to look forward to. But there always is. It's the winter's edge. Something happens. Something is happening.
God doesn't waste any season—even when things seem dormant. He is alive. He is working in unexpected ways and places for our best interest and His glory. He is in control. He uses everything to work together for good.
Someday all wrongs will be made right. All sadness will disappear. New life, growth, meaning, healing will be complete.
I do not see or feel this all now. But I believe still—He is in the winter's edge...
Artist & Storyteller
"The grass fadeth and the flower, but the word of our God shall stand forever." -Isaiah 40:8