Frustration, Failure and Faith

Status

I looked back on my last post…almost 3 months ago. I had just entered my Pipes drawing titled “Interconnected” in a show that was located an hour away. A close friend of mine went with me to see the jurors big reveal as to who made it into the show and who received awards.  I was excited, as I walked through the gallery I did not see my peice.  That meant either I received an award or I was not accepted.  The juror explained what she was looking for.  “Did the picture set a mood?”  Or “did it convey a message?”  Not looking good.

This particular juror was a watercolor artists and a realist.  Typically I am a realist but I went a different direction with this one.  As each were revealed it became slowly apparent that not only did I not win an award I did not even make the show.  I put on my mature looser face as we browsed through the show and had some snacks.  Once the amount of time had passed to be polite I retrieved “Interconnect” from the closet of rejected works and headed home, tail tucked.

This rejection followed a previously dismal showing as the “Artist of the Day” at another local festival.  My ego was stomped, bruised, bashed…you get the picture.

I decided to take a break.  Time passed and the break grew.  I just couldn’t get the desire back.  My teaching job soon resumed and my time disappeared.  Lost and overwhelmed I have been battling a defeated cloud ever since.  I know all artists go through these moments.  Why is it so hard to shake.  Where is my faith?  Where is my belief in who I was created to be?

I allowed one persons opinion of one drawing to defeat me.  To completely rob me of my identity as an artist, as a person.  One juror didn’t pick my picture.  Big stinking deal.  Was I created for her?  Nope.  I was created for a purpose and I am pretty sure it wasn’t  for the approval of one person.  I was created to create.  It is who I am. It is who I was meant to be.  To be less and to do less leaves me empty, lacking purpose.

So where is my faith?  It never left me it just got a little pushed back underneath a cloud of doubt.  So, I won’t have enough art to apply for a fellowship this year.  It doesn’t change a thing.  I am still going to create just as I am being re-created everyday.

Parental Guidance Is Suggested

I must say I am so glad to have my two kids back on American soil. They spent the last nearly two weeks in Peru. It was very hard to let them go but how can I hold them back. I remember when my church first announced the trip. My daughter was sitting beside me and immediately turned to me and said I want to go. It wasn’t too much of a surprise because she loves to travel and adventure. What was a shock was my son sought us out as soon as the service was over from where he was sitting with a friend. “Mom I want to go.”

My husband and I exchanged glances. The cost has to be huge and PERU. That is like, really, really far away. Just take a deep breath. I told myself.

My church does a number of mission trips every year so my kids see mission work as a part of the “show them Jesus” lifestyle we are trying to teach and do ourselves. They traveled a couple of years ago to Mexico without us for less than a week to work in an orphanage. Oddly, this trip also contained orphanage work. My husband and I did not go then and would not be able to go to this one either. The only thing harder, to me, than going is sending your children.

Do I trust the adults going? At the time of the announcement that Sunday morning we had no clue who was going. We agreed anyway that they could put their names in as interested. Even though they are not really kids at 18 and 15, those kind of answers mean yes to them and I knew that.

The process began, fund raising and bringing myself to the realization that this was going to happen. Personnel changed but they did not waver. Even when all the girls that showed interest dropped out my daughter did not flinch. Looks like this was going to happen. I did trust the team but they are human beings. To learn to share my kids with the world I have to trust Christ who is in them.

I remember struggling about 5 years ago with my letting go of my children. Allowing them to explore and learn even through mistakes as they grow is so difficult. I remember clearly praying about that and Christ saying trust me. I finally, by the end of the prayer told Him He could have them. That I surrender them to Him. I thought there would be this huge out pouring of Godly gratitude from Him but instead I get this emotional slap. This awakening of sorts. “They are already mine.” Next was the wow moment. I am only human. I will provide, protect, love, support…with all of my human abilities but if they are His, man. No person can provide more, protect more, love more, support more…than Christ. Why would I hold them back? You go, God! You do all those things.

So what is my role? Well, those things come through me, through my husband, through my family and friends. We supply the parental guidance. Just like the movies suggest, we steer our children and allow Christ to guide our hands as we help mold them.

So, with that memory to the conversation Jesus and I had I let them go. Sure it was difficult. I missed them immensely. My husband and I enjoyed a taste of the empty nest but we kept busy to keep our minds from straying us.  There were moments but there was an overall peace inside knowing Christ is always with them and that He’s got their back. All we have to do is provide the parental guidance.

Spot Light or Dimmer Switch

As I prepare to be a featured artist at a local festival I have finally spent some time in my studio. My biggest obstacle this week has been heat since it is not air conditioned. Our temperatures have been around 85 and humidity in the 80’s as well. When my husband and I built my studio around 15 years ago as an addition to our house with our garage I thought it wasn’t necessary. I am cold natured anyway so the added expense wasn’t worth it. However, I did heavy research in lighting. It was north facing which is ideal, having subtle sunlight all day. There were lighting systems on the market called full spectrum lighting but they were costly. I have a light on my drafting table that has a switch for yellow, incandescent or blue, florescent. Switching both on gives a close representation of natural light. So we inexpensively mimicked that by putting an equal amount of both systems in the ceiling. The incandescent lights were also installed with a dimmer switch giving me more control.
So, what is the big deal about the color of light? Does it really matter how bright it is or if it is soft or hard light. Lighting greatly effects the appearance of the colors of a painting or any use of color media. Incandescent light will warm up the picture while florescent light cools colors down. If you are a realist like I am the use of just one of these can cause an inaccurate representation or prevent you from getting the desired look you want.

This is the project I am working on under only incandescent light:

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Florescent light:

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Both type of light:

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It hit me that it is the same with how we addressing certain situations. Harsh lighting, color lighting, subtle lighting all effect how we view something. Like when we debate an issue or present our opinion on a sensitive topic. How can we expect another person to be open to hear our opinion if it is not an accurate representation or if it comes across harshly? Strong words can be like a spot light in the eyes. However, if the lighting is too dim the image, or point, can be unclear.
I guess I went through all this not only educate others of the effects of light but also to make a point about discussing tricky topics. There needs to be just the right balance of the different types of light to create visual clarity. Just like we need the right amount of tact when trying to make a point. It doesn’t require you sacrifice your principles or soften your opinion. Your words just need to have a dimmer switch to fit the conversation.