For this commissioned painting, Lilac Garden, I recently finished, I imagined a place of peace and rest. I would like to sit and enjoy a garden like that. I am so glad they liked the painting!
I used eggshells and sand for the texture of the wall and sawdust for texture in the ground. The stone path was also of eggshells. It is a fun way to create texture. The bench was made from acrylic paint I mixed and poured out on plastic so it would be like a “skin” of paint. I cut out the bench and attached it over the painting for another 3D effect.
As I write this, I am sitting on our deck in the cooler morning hours, listening to the variety of birdsong around me. and enjoying the beauty of the flowers in planters. This year for one of the pots, I chose a flame colored dahlia which I started to paint in watercolor to capture its translucent, brilliant beauty. I am including a short video here of the first part of the painting.
Since Easter, I have been noticing our resident hawk. I noticed when it looked like he got a mate. Since June started, I have been too preoccupied to notice, but this week, I discovered that the hawks have now become a family of five. They were all sitting in a tree together sitting perfectly still as the sun came up. Alittle while later, two of the younger ones were calling out and flying in circles like two children at play. I had wondered why I was hearing the call of this bird more frequently throughout the neighborhood. The “youngsters” actively and incessantly voice their flights, more so than the parents.
I love that even in the city, we can see and hear the beauty of the natural world if I stop long enough to notice, to sit and just “be present.”
The idea of sitting still is foreign to our culture. It has taken work, but I find myself sitting and not feeling a need to always do something. I must admit that I easily fall back into doing mode and wander around lost when I have nothing pressing on me to get done. I can feel the difference when I am racing around, exhaustedly trying to get a lot done; when I push myself past where I should have stopped or rested. But I find if I maintain being present as I work, pausing to smell the flowers and listen to the birds, I am more awake, alert and relaxed to deal with whatever comes my way. It is more peaceful and I feel content.
In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. Is 30: 15
We enjoyed a week with our children and grandchildren around. I had lots of opportunity to practice just being present with everyone and enjoying the time we had together. Like the young hawks, children have a lot more energy and keep the rest of us moving. So thankful for the visit with all of them!
Riding the Waves of the Unexpected…
This was to be the theme at the June Art and faith retreat, but as Alberta didn’t make it to 70 % vaccinated by June 10, the retreat had to be canceled. A group retreat would hardly be a group retreat if everyone is confined to their own room due to no indoor gatherings.
When I finally accepted that we had to cancel the retreat, I felt intense disappointment and that I had let people down. I had been so sure we could meet together following the “restaurant reopening” rules, but King’s Fold falls under a different category, so everything other than eating together was not allowed under the no indoor gatherings restriction.
When King's Fold and I finally got on the same page and how we would be limited, I thought we could still have the retreat and just make the best of the situation. We would forge ahead and ride those unexpected waves. But then Sam asked me what if riding the waves of the unexpected meant we cancel the retreat. That was a tough one for me. It made me feel like a failure. So, instead of agreeing with Sam, I wrote an email to our participants asking how they felt about it.
I received good questions in response to my email about how I saw this retreat moving forward which really put it into perspective for me. I realized that we could not offer the kind of retreat experience that the retreat was all about. I had to let it go.
Riding the waves of the unexpected this time meant letting it go - letting go of the retreat and my desire to please others and be a success. (One of the scripture passages for the retreat was Isaiah 30: 15-18 which describes the Israelites pursuing their own way ending on hill with a battered flagstaff. See passage link below.) If I had gone forward with the retreat at this point, I would have been like the battered flagstaff on the hill. I would have been forcing my own way and reacting out of the failure and disappointment I was feeling.
The scripture passages I had chosen for the retreat were:
Isaiah 30:1,15-18 Which is about the rebellious Israelites, and God waiting for them.
The book of Ruth There are only 4 chapters, and so much of the story falls under the unexpected and how Ruth and Naomi dealt with the unexpected.
James 1:2-4 I wanted to share with you this story and the scripture passages and invite you to contemplate your own journey that has brought you to this day. What was unexpected? How did you ride the waves?
I invite you listen, to sketch or paint it, write a poem or just sit with it. What comes up for you?
If you are willing to share, send me an email.
On Friday, June 4th at 6:00 pm MST, I will be hosting a live show on my youtube channel to debut my new series on the Northern Lights. The Dancing Lights depicted within my paintings are based on the Aurora Borealis my daughter and I saw this past winter. To capture the essence of our experience that cold winter night I used frost painting techniques to give the images an ice-like look. Needless to say, I had a lot of fun experimenting with different techniques in my efforts to paint one of nature's most beautiful phenomenons.
Though I will only be going live on the Friday the 4th, you will still be able to watch my show after the fact on my youtube channel. I will also be posting a few short videos on some of the paintings, to give you a more thorough experience. Below is the link to the show itself or you can access it by going directly to youtube.
This series has been a passion project of mine since February and I am excited to finally be able to share it with you!
To preview some of the paintings you will find them on the Store page under New Work: Frosty Northern Lights.
***Note*** If you would like to chat and ask questions during the Virual Art Show, you will need to have a gmail account and create a YouTube account for yourself.
The buds on the trees are swollen in anticipation, ready to burst forth, but waiting for the right timing.…
Spring in Alberta is this long, long anticipation of summer and warmer weather. Every year I watch the transition with interest. The grass is slowly starting to show some life. Once the trees decide the time is right, their leaves pop out seemingly overnight, maybe a week. This year has added the drama of a bird of prey waiting...and calling to a mate? There is a second bird that shows up and they flutter together before it flies off again.
Reena, Natalia, and I traveled the late-night roads near Elk Island last week in pursuit of another aurora borealis. (Another exercise in waiting and anticipation and hopefulness.) It was not spectacular. In fact, it was a very faint green haze, but the moon was bright and beautiful and the coyotes, ducks, and geese were noisy and active which added to the adventure. And since there is no snow now, I used the excursion as an inspiration for the last few paintings in my 18 piece northern light project. Watch for my online showing coming this next month.
We are in waiting mode in other ways too, wondering when we will be able to be together again in person. Waiting can be hard. How are you doing with it? I have found it frustrating to make plans and have them dashed to the ground. I lose some of the excitement of anticipation to skepticism. Disheartened, I look again outside to revive my hope, blue skies and ready to burst buds rejuvenate me. I see a bud on my tulip peaking through the green leaves. I am hopeful.
In hopefulness, I decided to participate in the Outdoor Bloomin Garden Show and Art Sale, even if there is a possibility of a cooler weather. If you are in Edmonton, I invite you to come see me!
The in-person classes I was hoping for were moved back online and begin mid May. Each class will be four weeks and we will have fun painting together online instead. Three classes: Watercolor, Mixed Media and acrylic.
The art retreat will run IF we get to stage three before June 10. (If that happens, are you interested in coming? I will contact you if you let me know.)
I am hopeful that our plans to see our grandchildren in July will come true. What are you anticipating? Where does your hope lay?
This morning I put my the handmade paper butterflies on the window and watched the sunrise. I love the sunrise and try to catch it most mornings as part of my quiet time in the morning with God.
Today I was thinking of the beauty of the sunrise after the dark of night... the spring after the winter with its new life and new growth...and butterflies that break forth from their cocoon. All ways of seeing the resurrection and new life.
I did a photo shoot of the butterflies flying across several of my paintings - the northern light ones.
We hid our daughters' Easter baskets, a fun tradition that still goes on. We sang and read a couple stories over zoom with our son and grandchildren in Victoria.
After the girls got up and found their baskets, we sang together our favorite Easter songs.
Later today we will go for a walk with our girls, and our son and daughter-in-law. Maybe we will see signs of spring and new life bursting forth. The pussy willows have started to pop in the last week or so.
How will you celebrate today?
Christ is Risen! Hallelujah! Have a beautiful weekend.
“Mom! Mom! Wake up! You said you would go with me. I got an Aurora red alert. You said to wake you up!” Reena whispered as she shook me awake.
I dragged myself out of bed, threw on more layers and drove out with Reena east of Edmonton into the frigid -28C to see what we could see.
We started to see them as we drove past Sherwood Park. We looked for a place to pull over and got out of the car for a better view. Beautiful dancing lights!
As I watched the lights dancing a set of vertical bands of pink, white and peach traveled from one side of the sky to the other amidst the luminescent greens. Amazing! Inspiring!
Reena’s phone captured the best photos. Here are a couple of them.
Since then, I have been working on some northern light paintings in watercolor. As it was so cold the night we saw the Aurora Borealis, and it was so cold in the couple weeks following, I felt it was appropriate to try the frost paintings again.
Frost pattern paintings are something I try every year when the temperature is low enough. I put a wet watercolor painting outside until it freezes. It works best with temperatures below -8C. It was in the range of -25C to -40C with the windchill.
Here are some of my works in progress. I have the ground (trees or snowscape) to put in yet on these. The first one here had the best most distinct frost pattern.
Here is a section with a frost pattern: You will have to look closely to see it.
What will this [year] be like? I wonder. What will my future be? I wonder.(see full lyrics below)
Do you recognize this first line of a song (with day instead of year)? As my daughters and I put away the Christmas decorations last night we were singing musical numbers like the song above, ‘I have Confidence’ from the Sound of Music. I enjoy this song and Maria’s approach to the unknown. I have used it to bolster my own courage over the years. Looking at the year ahead, I need bolstering. We are still in uncertain times when plans have to be flexible to flow with the changing circumstances. (Below is a clip of the song for you to enjoy with a copy of the lyrics)
This is the time of year I take to look ahead to the new year. Part of this is to look behind and see where I have been and to celebrate any accomplishments.
It was a rough year in many ways. I took on a huge learning curve to do more with filming my art as I paint, and learning to teach online. I am thankful for the students who came out to the plein air excursions around Edmonton all last summer. And I am thankful for the students that were willing to try the online class sessions in the fall.
This week, I am attending a class with art business coach, Alyson Stanfield of Art Biz Success, on planning. I could probably do it on my own as I have before, but it is good to have some new ideas. And it is encouraging (and bolstering) to do it in community, even if it is an online community. It helps me get the ideas and possibilities moving, besides just creating the space to get it done.
With this class, I have been reminded of the benefits of working with others through a community. Yes, we can be individuals. We can do things on our own. But the energy from a group to generate ideas and get things done is good too. There is a benefit to camaraderie, to bouncing ideas off each other, to encouraging each other. I have missed the in person community this year, but I am thankful for opportunities to still ‘get together’ online.
One of the things I will be trying this year, is online live sessions of Painting Prayers to invite people to process their feelings through art exercises. With all that has happened in the last year globally and locally, there is much to be processed. When we push down feelings, they can come out in other ways like through anxiety, lack of sleep, anger, eating disorders, etc. These sessions will be once per month. I will let you know when they begin. If you want a notification or to know more, send me an email.
Why take a class – a class gives you the space to paint. Do you need the structure to create the habit of painting time? Classes also provide feedback on your work, help with techniques and steps in your painting. A class can also inspire your own work to new directions through the interaction with other students.
I am starting up the Thursday afternoon online art sessions again. It includes ‘coaching’ on your own paintings and demos of techniques. In community we share paintings and encourage each other. All the classes are recorded for viewing later if the live session does not work for you. For more on how it will work.
Correction: Thursday Morning Online class 9:30-11:30 am will start on Jan 28, 2021.
Classes Starting at the City Arts in Edmonton - all online. Both of these classses will have two online workshop sessions first and last week with demos and Q&A. and video teaching for the two weeks in between.
Starting February 1, 2021 for four weeks.
Beginner Acrylics - Monday morning 10:30 am- 12 pm Link to MoveLearnPlay.edmonton.ca #684969
Watercolour Florals Monday afernoon 1-2:30 pm Link to MoveLearnPlayedmonton.ca #684970 includes painting kit.
I Have Confidence - Sound of Music.
Lyrics to I Have Confidence - Sound of Music
What will this day be like?
What will my future be?
It could be so exciting
To be out in the world
To be free
My heart should be wildly rejoicing
Oh, what's the matter with me?
I've always longed for adventure
To do the things I've never dared
Now here I'm facing adventure
Then why am I so scared?
A captain with seven children
What's so fearsome about that?
Oh, I must stop these doubts
All these worries
If I don't I just know I'll turn back
I must dream of the things I am seeking
I am seeking the courage I lack
The courage to serve them with reliance
Face my mistakes without defiance
Show them I'm worthy
And while I show them
I'll show me
So let them bring on all their problems
I'll do better than my best
I have confidence
They'll put me to the test
But I'll make them see
I have confidence in me
Somehow I will impress them
I will be firm, but kind
And all those children
Heaven bless them
They will look up to me
And mind me
With each step I am more certain
Everything will turn out fine
I have confidence
The world can all be mine
They'll have to agree
I have confidence in me
I have confidence in sunshine
I have confidence in rain
I have confidence that spring will come again
Besides, which you see
I have confidence in me
Strength doesn't lie in numbers
Strength doesn't lie in wealth
Strength lies in nights of peaceful slumbers
When you wake up
All I trust I leave my heart to
All I trust becomes my own
I have confidence in confidence alone
I have confidence in confidence alone
Besides, which you see
I have confidence in me
Songwriters: Richard Rodgers
I Have Confidence lyrics © Williamson Music
Last Sunday, we drove out past Drayton Valley, to the Alberta provincial Crown forest land to tromp through the woods and choose our Christmas tree. This has become a tradition in recent years for Sam and I and our youngest daughter, Reena. Then, we bundled it up on our car to bring home. I love the fresh, living pine smell. With the extra branches, we made wreaths: one for outside and one for a candle centerpiece. All our decorations are up, inside and outside. It was a fun time of decorating with both girls still at home. I even change the paintings on our walls to go with the winter-Christmas theme. I like to sit in the dark with just the Christmas lights on. It is peaceful and provides a serenity to begin and end my day.
With the pandemic encroaching on our celebrations this year, revaluating why we do what we do – and finding ways to still share in the joy of Christmas together -- seems important. I was thinking about this as we took the time to drive and pick out a tree, decorate the house, make or buy presents, and sing carols together. We were even thinking of ways to get together outdoors with our extended family until that was put on lock down too. So, we are now looking at ways to share time together online with those of our family not in our house.
What is the significance of traditions? They help us to remember, to take time away from our busyness and prepare our hearts for Christmas and the coming of Christ. Here are some of the meanings behind these traditional symbols we use in our home:
Pine tree – an evergreen, reminds me of the everlasting love of God, always present and green with life even in the dead of winter.
Wreath – a circle – complete, never ending
Candles and lights – Jesus is the light of the world. Star of Bethlehem.
Advent calendar - preparation, prepare our hearts.
Creche -manger scene - retelling the story of Christ’s birth.
Sing carols – singing the story, praise, and halleluiah. celebration
Ornaments – beauty – memories – ones given, ones made, ones chosen
Poinsettia - a winter blooming flower that is shaped like the star of David.
Gifts – to think of others – Christ gave himself to us, wise men gave gifts
I have been working on painting Ornaments again in these last couple months. They are miniature reflections on love, joy, peace, hope, life, and beauty. I found myself painting some of the symbols I find most meaningful as well as other themes that I keep coming back to. I will share a few of them here, all of ornaments are on my website in the "store" under Winter category.
Love Birds – (bashful quail on one side and “Love” on the other) My sister took the photo of these quail parading around her backyard. Their stance made me think of a bashful young couple not quite sure of themselves but loving each other. Love extends through thick and thin.
Shout for Joy – (two children jumping together) The exuberance, laughter and joyful wonder in children celebrates the joy in our hearts. I think of my two grandchildren, and the joy they are.
Walk through the Woods – There is a peacefulness and stillness when I go walking or skiing through the snow blanketed woods. Especially when the snow is falling, muffling the noises.
Garden Beauty, Anemone and Butterfly- Both of these are reminders of spring and the beauty of flowers and growing things. Spring will come again. This is also a sign of hope and promise of coming life.
Poinsettias – the flower that blooms in December in Mexico, like red stars illuminating the landscape. I don’t tend to paint these at any other time, but I enjoy it now as I let it remind me of the Mexican legend and its association with Christmas.
Waterfalls - God is the living water. He fills us up with his everlasting love. This is a theme I come back to all year long.
And the Angels Sang – What did the shepherds see when the host of Angels sang , “Glory to God?” I imagine it was like the northern lights – full of light and moving color vibrating with music.
Some of my favorite Christmas songs:
• What child is this?
• Mary do you know?
• Long time ago in Bethlehem (Mary’s little boy child)
• Angels we have heard on high
• Carol of the bells
• I heard the bells on Christmas Day
• Good King Wenceslas
• Ding dong! Merrily on high!
• Do you hear what I hear?
What traditions do you have for this time of year? What is the meaning or significance for you?
For each class, I will have you send me an image of what you would like to work on and send a picture of your painting to that point. (Take a picture with your camera or phone download it to your computer to send in an email. Let me know if you have trouble with this and we will look into alternatives.) Also include in your email any questions you might have about the painting or the process.
During the class time I will go through the images that were sent in and answer questions you and the other students have. The “class time” will be recorded so that even if you have to miss it, if you sent in your images and questions, I will cover them during the “class time.”
The class time sessions will be split between answering questions, helping with paintings and showing some demonstrations. There will be an assignment for each of you based on the photo reference you want to work on. As not everyone is an independent worker, there will also be a video available each week for you to learn from if you choose to and want more direction.
Dec 10, 2020
The white in the grass could be filled in more. I would take it slow with more of the same colors in dry brushing it so that I do not lose the light. (The image i worked from, from marji is dwon below here).
I separated the videos - the first is the demo, the second is the conversation about paintings you are working on.
Dec 3, 2020
This video has some additional camera angles with a better quality of image from the class time. Let me know what you think of it. The details of the woodgrain especially is clearer.
November 26, 2020
(Coming soon) I have a second video of hay bales you can watch to see how I defind tree lines after both salt layer and sponged layers. There is more "pushing and pulling as i define the grass (negative space) around the \hay bales (positve space).
The blue masking is still on this painting in the top of the foreground bushed and on leaves and the trunks of the tree on the right side.
Remember the colors of white are stronger than needed - so that you could see it in the webcam during the filming. Notice the pink-gray that was not distinguishable in video. The green shows the dffference the negative space has in shaping the petals.
The following image is the cling wrap demo. and what it looked like when I took off the cling wrap. When I go to shape it with pushing/pulling, I may move the top of the mountain into the sky following the paths of lines from the cling wrap.
November 19, 2020
Good afternoon, Class. Here ia a demonstration of sponge painting trees in fall colors. Sponging can be used to create texture in other ways as well: on rocks, paths and other foliage.
Below is the Beginning of painting an Iris: drawing the iris and laying in the first layers of paint.
Fall is here, the branches are bare, and the bitter cold winds are back. I brought my flowers in from the deck in to enjoy until they were done. My Gerber Daisy bloomed again, and the others have not stopped blooming. The flowers are all straining toward the window for the glimpse of light upon their faces.
They take up space on my office floor near the sliding glass door, but it is worth a little crowding to see beauty right there as I work. So fun to extend the season of growth and blooming as we move into shorter days and longer nights.
Seasons are not only about weather and nature, we human beings have our seasons as well. As I reflect on the last few months, this has been a season of learning to be present to what is right in front of me today. The outdoor painting excursions (plein air) over the summer and early fall were, perhaps, the greatest example of this. Covid 19 shutdown all of my indoor classes, but the outdoors were beautiful after all the rain in June and July, so we went outside. And there we learned to be present to and see the beauty right in front of us.
With all of the changes due to covid, the daily news, learning new ways of doing things and uncertainties of what is coming next, I looked forward to each plein air session. As I ended the plein air season, I started the online class and we have had three of the four sessions. Although well received, it has been a big learning curve, but I am adjusting and modifying it as we go along. (I had to try different tripods, and get a new piece, an arm extension, for my tripod to make it work better.) In the last session, I had us all painting the same flower (the one blooming in my office). I tell myself that I do not have to figure it all out, and I can ask for help, which allows me to be present and take one step at a time.
This all led to my thinking about the passage in Ecclesiates 3 that
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
For each statement there is an antithesis. Opposites. Even extreme opposites. As I looked at the passage this morning, I realize I prefer to focus on the positive sides: to plant, to heal, to build to laugh, to dance, etc. There are times when the opposite is necessary: to grieve, to die, to throw away, to speak, to hate, etc. But there is an in between place that is not spoken in some of these, not necessarily a wishy-washy middle ground either, but another space of time to be in. I decided to find the in between space for each. Here are my results:
Born – die… there is a time to live;
plant – uproot… there is a time to grow, flourish and even harvest
kill – heal… there is a time to get along with each other, respect, nurture each other
tear down – to build… there is a time to take care of what is there, appreciate what you have
weep – laugh… there is a time to just breathe
mourn – dance… there is a time to just be
scatter – gather… there is a time to not take personally what others do
Embrace – refrain form embracing… there is a time to just be together
Search – give up… there is a time to let go
Keep – throw away… there is a time to reuse, recycle, repair
Tear and mend… there is a time to clean and take care of
To be Silent – to speak out… there is a time to be yourself
To Love and to hate… there is a time to accept others as different from yourself
War and peace… there is a time to forgive
I cannot change others, or the world, but I can work on myself. What season or time are you in?
Saturday, September 18, 2021
10 am - 3:30 pm
6724 - 86 St, Edmonton
What to bring:
On July 17 in the evening I noticed that we had water on our floor in the basement by the furnace. We have had trouble with our washer before, but this was more. So that evening we started to investigate and pull out the washer and dryer and lift up the subfloor to see where the water was coming from.
Two nights before we had had a severe thunderstorm. It lasted three hours and poured sheets and buckets of water during the whole time. And, prior to that night, it had rained pretty consistently for over a month. It was so bad many farmers’ crops were flooded south of Edmonton.
After pulling up about half of the flooring in the basement and removing the sodden drywall, we discovered 3 new cracks where the water had come in.
It has been a lot of work, but we have made progress in repairing and cleaning it up. We are finally starting the painting stage, and we hope to get at least a couple of rooms finished before our grandchildren and their parents come next week.
I was not planning on mudding and taping drywall this month. But this task was in front of me. Adding one more unexpected challenge to the craziness of living in COVID 19 times and figuring how to do classes online, my husband, Sam having major surgery this summer and our dog being diagnosed with a malignant tumor that needs removal.
Did you know there is an art to mudding? Getting it as smooth as possible and extending it outward to make the bump where the tape is almost invisible. This is not unlike painting (with thick acrylic paint) and palette knives, only the mudding spatulas are much larger at 2 in, 6 in and 12 in.
How well do you deal with interruptions? Do you take them in stride? Do they cause you stress and shut you down? Do you set about making a plan to conquer it?
I find it interesting how each of us can react differently to a situation that is thrown at us out of the blue.
It made me think about Abraham (he is still Abram then) in Genesis. He had a number of interruptions or unexpected turnings thrown at him. One of these was in Genesis 14. Several kings had a war and looted the place where Lot, Abram’s nephew, lived taking Lot and his family as captives. When Abram hears this, he acted decisively, gathered his fighting men (about three hundred) and went after them, rescuing all the captives and bringing back the stolen goods.
This is not, of course, the first time I’ve experienced unexpected, life interrupting events like this, and, In the past, I wouldn’t have described myself as acting decisively. I certainly did act, I am good at getting things done, but first I would panic, then get anxious, and then get frustrated and annoyed that I had such inefficient feelings. Finally, I would push down my bothersome emotions and dive in to try to get as much done as possible. It created a stressful environment for those around me and usually exhausted and injured me.
I am happy to say I have been learning that I can take care of myself, both emotionally and physically – paying attention to what I can and cannot do, even as I work forward at an even keel; more practical, less panic, asking for assistance, and not trying to do everything myself. Acknowledging my emotions and my limitations frees me to be present to the situation and see things more calmly. It frees me to act more decisively, and, even, more efficiently.
I am so thankful that we were able to have our Art Vocabulary for the Soul Retreat at the end of June. King’s Fold Retreat Centre did a great job in putting in place social distancing, and alternative set ups to make it work. We had a small group of seven. I want to share with you some of the theme and images we made as we worked through the it, listening to what God had for each one of us.
The theme of New Life had been resonating in me since before Covid-19 struck. It was a theme of the dark and death of winter moving into the new life and resurrection of spring.
When we went into self isolation, and everything was battened down and restricted, I kept wondering how it would feel when we started to emerge again. Would it be like the image portrayed in the movies where a big catastrophe happens and when it stops people come out slowly as if waking from a nightmare and start to slowly move and embrace one another and picking up the pieces of their lives.
With the three stages of emergence, our picking up the pieces has been a slow process. We are still in the pandemic. It has not been eradicated, there were new cases in Edmonton again. It is still rampaging around in other parts of the world.
Then, in the last few weeks before our retreat, with the murder of George Floyd, the wave of worldwide protests and the outcry of justice and humane treatment for not only the blacks, but the indigenous and the people of color, we were again in the midst of a movement we didn’t understand and don’t know the end of.
There was a sense of death to the ways we have always done things, and we are trying to figure out how to change, to do things differently. Change can bring fear, but also optimism and a whole host of other feelings.
Our first exercise addressed the emotions we have been experiencing since mid March. We used tempera paints with sponges, fingers, plastic cards, q-tips and toothbrushes. What do you see in the paintings?
The next exercise we read Psalm 107: 1-21 and reflected on the Israelites continual falling away and coming back to God; death and resurrection. As we celebrate resurrection one of the things always included in resurrection, is the death that comes beforehand. So, we had participants reflect on that experience of death and resurrection or seeing good things and even transformation come out of some of the difficult times in life. The following were our painting responses.
Saturday and Sunday, we spent time creating and seeing where the creativity took us. I took a few pictures to give you a taste of the creativity abounding in the weekend. I also introduced some new pouring methods and we had fun experimenting.
Registration is now open for the next Art Vocabulary for the Soul Retreat, October 2-4, 2020 at King's Fold Retreat Centre. It will be a small group of 8. 5 spaces are still available. $375 early bird until Sept 4. $435 after Sept 4. Will you join us?
I woke this morning thinking and singing this song, Your Faithfulness, by Brian Doerkson.
I don't know what this day will bring
Will it be disappointing, filled with longed for things?
I don't know what tomorrow holds
Still I know I can trust Your faithfulness
I don't know if these clouds mean rain
If they do, will they pour down blessing or pain?
I don't know what the future holds
Still I know I can trust Your faithfulness
Certain as the rivers reach the sea
Certain as the sunrise in the east
I can rest in your faithfulness
Surer than a mother's tender love
Surer than the stars still shine above
I can rest in your faithfulness
I don't know how or when I'll die
Will it be a thief, or will I have a chance to say goodbye?
No, I don't know how much time is left
But in the end, I will know your faithfulness
When darkness overwhelms my soul
When thoughts are storms of doubt
Still I trust You are always faithful, always faithful (© 2002 Brian Doerkson)
Recently, I heard this again as I listened to an online concert by Brian Doerkson. He wrote the song at a time of uncertainty in his own life, which he shared during the concert.
His songs have a wonderful depth to them that I connect with. Music, like painting, can help me engage my feelings.
It is rainy this morning as I write this. I feel melancholy. This Covid-19 isn’t going away and continues to impact us. How we do things has to change. How I teach will be affected. There is unrest, violence, and protests in so many places. I needed those words today:
"When darkness overwhelms my soul
When thoughts are storms of doubt
Still I trust You are always faithful, always faithful" (© 2002 Brian Doerkson)
God is faithful. Always faithful.
God isn’t going to make the problems disappear, but walks with me through the difficulties, holding my hand, giving me courage to face things and uphold me, uphold us as we grieve for the changes, for the heartbreaking violence in the news. We are in a time where we need each other, to set aside our independent stances and to work together, instead of being not be divisive.
I am reminded of Psalm 33:13-22 which speaks of God looking down on all the inhabitants of the world, whom he knows and created. He sees: “the king not saved by his great army, warrior not saved by his great strength, war horse vain hope for victory”… “Truly the eye of the Lord on those who fear him, who trust in his steadfast love” (And then comes the move from individuality to corporately) “Our soul waits for the Lord, he is our help and shield, Our heart is glad in him because we trust in his holy name.” There is something to be said about working together, caring for and helping each other, standing with each other.
Sometimes I just need a good cry, to let myself feel melancholy, and accept this part of me too. We need our rainy days to grow, too. Last summer, I sat in our tent which has a covered day use area, and painted the scene above of the inlet at Ucluelet, BC as the mist rolled in and the rain came down. It was a day much like today, with the sun coming out later. Once I am able to express my feelings, the load is lighter, and a shared load is lighter still.
Are you able to connect with your feelings, with the depths within yourself? How does that happen in your life?