Updated: May 13
My journey back into the art world years ago, began with my friend Ann. At that time, we decided to call ourselves “Reclaimed and Repurposed”, which really had the double meaning of reclaiming and repurposing materials in the artwork, and also the fact that God has reclaimed us as His, and had provided a new purpose in our lives. We had prayed about our journey and were both sure that God was leading us to pursue this direction. At least I thought I was sure.
Ann had this idea to make candle holders out of repurposed tin cans, by punching holes in them and making beautiful designs. We figured we could sell them for $7. After trying various methodologies to punch the designs out including using a drill press, we still could not get the labor under 2 hours. Producing a substandard product with a time consuming process was clearly not what we were supposed to be doing.
Next up was painting on reclaimed pallet wood. For anyone who has ever reclaimed wood from pallets…well you know.
My very first painting on reclaimed wood was dandelions, as suggested by Ann. Everyone absolutely loved it. So I did another painting (pictured) also of dandelions, but different from the first. My husband, never to mince words, told me he hated it and he enumerated the reasons. My youngest daughter visited shortly thereafter and also hated it. However, she liked everything my husband hated, and hated all the things he liked. Between the two of them, there was nothing left to actually like.
At that point in my journey, I was thinking that perhaps I did not hear God correctly when I thought He was calling me to do artwork. Maybe “The Call” (see my last blog post), was really just one big cosmic coincidence and I was on the wrong track. Maybe I just really love creating, and therefore I interpreted the situation in an attempt to follow my selfish desires without feeling guilty. After all, how could I have created a piece of artwork that is so despised?
I figured I should pray again. I needed to pray some type of prayer that would not have me second guessing myself in the future. I needed a prayer and an answer that would withstand negative criticism and potential obstacles. I needed to know for sure that this was God’s plan, not mine. If it was not God's plan, I needed to know that too.
There is a story about Abraham’s servant in Genesis 24. He is tasked with finding a bride for Isaac, the son of Abraham, and had traveled back to Abraham’s native land for that purpose. While standing beside a spring he prays: “May it be that when I say to a girl, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink’, and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’ – let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac.” This is exactly the type of prayer I needed because it includes a level of specificity that leaves no room for interpretation, and it includes a level of difficulty that requires God to intervene…In addition to giving him a drink, the girl had to offer to water all of his camels! What girl, would offer that? Only the one God would choose. Yep, the type of prayer I needed to pray.
So I prayed: “God if I am on the right track, if I’ve heard you correctly, then let this hated piece sell first.” That painting was my interjecting a level of difficulty, that only God could handle. Yes, my husband and daughter disliked it so much, that I figured it would never sell without God's intervention, let alone first.
During that time, I’d asked a local restaurant if they would be willing to hang several of my paintings on their walls, and they agreed. Indeed, the “hated” artwork sold first, and it sold very quickly! Apparently, it sold to someone traveling through town who immediately knew that it would be the perfect gift for his wife.
My artwork has changed significantly since that time as I've experimented with different mediums and over the years have been led in a completely different direction. My friend too is on a completely different journey, not art related, as she has been called in other ways. My journey always presents new challenges and obstacles that often send me back to the drawing board, or should I say painting board. There are also challenges that are not related to the art itself, but with the business side of being an artist. If I find myself being discouraged, I think back to the confirmation that I received from God.
Next Up: Will anyone actually purchase artwork containing a scripture reference?
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