Monday, November 26, 2012

Self Portrait

I though I would share a painting I did at the beginning of this year as the year closes. Besides I have been so busy lately with the end of the semester that I haven't had a lot of time to paint. Thus I am pulling out something I did awhile ago that I haven't shared yet.

Self Portrait © 2012
My original plan for this piece was to take many photos of myself and paint them one on top of the other until I made it to this last and most current photo, as a way to see my self through time, like a life map of sorts. I made many life maps during November through March. Somehow I didn't happen though. I think God knew I needed to see me in the now more at that moment. I needed to figure out who the new me was shaping out to be. He knew I could see who I was in the past but the current and the future were to hard for me to handle.

I don't know about you but I hate photos of my self, so it was a challenge to find one that I would be okay using. The photos I do like of myself aren't always the ones others would necessarily choose as characteristic of me either, but I guess that is what makes it a self-portrait. This photo was from a friend's wedding I attended in October of 2011. In the photo I was watching from behind in the crowd peering behind two bridesmaids. This pose is reminiscent of the purpose of the painting to give myself a look at who I am.

The twiggy stems represent the new growth of learning to set boundaries with others, after reading Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend, along with a lot of other adaptations to the change. But the sycamore leaves represent the inner strength to move forward and the promise of more strength to come. At my college by the administration building there is a huge sycamore tree that I have fallen in love with that first came to mind when I started this work. I love how the tree has patches of exposed bark and battle scars from years gone by, that give it such visual interest.

My life was so raw then. So much had changed, and was still changing rapidly. I think of the second verse from Sara Grove's Rewrite this Tragedy:
"Sometimes it's hard to tell what to keep and what to kill
What of this makes us who we are
All that we love the most, all that we cannot let go
How much of change can we survive?"
I needed a way to see myself. To know that there was some constant, something to hold onto. I was changing and everything around me was simultaneously. I want to end by asking if you have ever struggle seeing who you are, and how you have coped with it?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Flying Music

I have been so busy lately finishing up my semester. Last week I had my senior saxophone recital. It has been something that I have been looking forward to for a long time. I have been working so hard for it for so long now it seems strange that it is over now.

This painting I started the day of my recital as a way to keep myself focused and keep the nerves at bay. The bird in this painting is a yellow warbler, a song bird. I chose this bird to represent me a musician. Singing my heart out as it was created to do. I associated the word warbler with shaking which reminds me of nerves. I like this association because naturally I am a very anxious person. I have struggled with performance anxiety sense almost the moment I began playing the saxophone. This year has marked the beginning of me being able to manage my fear and rest it in Gods arms.

I chose the aspen leaves in the background because I have always loved the sound they make in the wind. As I painted I thought of the Holy Spirit is often manifested as wind in the Bible. I wanted to think of the Holy Spirit moving through me to show His grace as I played, and that He would provide me the strength, creating something beautiful for His glory.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Shame Covering

Shame Covering © 2012 2.5x3.5"
I can't seem to feel your touch,
as I close each opening door.
I can't seem to hear your voice,
as I choose to overhear.
I can't seem to find you,
As I run the other way. 

 This is a poem I wrote recently. As of recent I have been finding myself caught in the grasp of fear and self-condemnation. Soemtimes as I go to perform a peice the voice in my head echos "don't look like an idiot, or just don't embarris youself.." Then I get angry with myself and heap on more fuel to the fire of shaming myself. 

I painted this starling to represent this cycle in me. I have always found it perplexing that these dirty black birds are called starlings. Maybe someone can clue me into the reason...  When I condem myself I feel flithy and my mood becomes black. I kept the details on the bird very muted to represent the feeling of filth from my own negative self-talk. 

Now that I have had some time to process away from some of my busy routine. I have been thinking a lot about where I am looking for help and how I am viewing my behaviors when I find myself in this place. This is where the poem comes in. Sometimes after I find myself running in this direction I know I haven't asked Jesus for help, and I haven't sought prayer from those who love me. I am ashamed of my weakness, and forget they already know I am flawed. I run away as they did in the garden. I fear My Creator's response. I forget to be humble, lost in pride, and to see my brokeness. God sees me and knows my needs. He sent His Son to take my sins. He knows I am a star with His power and grace. If I only look to Him and ask for the mecy I so desperatly need. If I listen to His voice about who I am and not choose the voice of the world. 

Isaiah 58