I am NOT my job.

Hello loves!

I suppose the title of this post could be taken a bit controversially; What exactly do I mean, “I am not my job?”  Does it mean I don’t like my job?  Does it mean that I don’t want to be classified as an Art Teacher or Artist?  Does it mean that my job (or any job, for that matter) is not important?

NO.

Does it mean that we often stereotype incorrectly based on a person’s occupation?  Does it mean that I don’t want to be seen ONLY as an Art Teacher?  Does it mean that my job is only ONE aspect of who I am?

YES.

Right now, I’m blessed enough to be going through a virtual Bible Study with some AMAZING ladies through Facebook.  We are reading “Working Women of the Bible,” by Susan Dimickele.  Each of us is a working lady… I’m an Art Teacher, obviously, but others are Personal Trainers, STAHMs, Auditors and all sorts of professionals.  I’m only one chapter in the book right now, but I LOVE it.  I am so excited about what this study will bring, and (being the nerd I am) I can’t wait to use the study guide as I journal and sketch all the inspiration, life lessons, and amazing stories I learn as I meed various women of the Bible.

So yes, I am an Art Teacher, but I am SO much more than that.  As I was re-reading Genesis 1, I came across a tidbit that I’d written a while ago that really sums it up: “Our occupation/function/job in God’s kingdom is NOT what defines us or gives us our worth… God’s very creation OF us is what gives us INFINITE worth. (Specifically referring to Genesis 1:27 here-“God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female.”

Oh snap!  He created THEM, MALE AND FEMALE… in His image.  Both of the genders.  In His image.  Even in our crazy, chaotic, gender-stereotyped and otherwise inequality-burdened world, we can find comfort in the fact that God intended something different; something more fulfilling and equitable for everyone.  (Dimickele 22).  I could talk all day about inequality and why I think we should treat others better than we often do.  I can’t understand how someone’s skin color, gender, ethnicity, background, etc. changes who they are; NO MATTER WHAT, we are all children of God, and we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory (Romans 3:23), but He loves us ANYWAYS!  There is nothing to be gained by demeaning others, lifting yourself or others up, or fostering racism (of any kind).  We can’t “earn” status with God… all we can do is accept it.  This blows my mind!

However, I digress… The point of this post is not to ramble or rant about fairness (or my perception thereof).  The reason I wanted to write this post is to share that you, my friend, are worth so much more than your career.  Our careers are so fleeting, ultimately such a minimal part of our lives and existence (maybe not in hours, but definitely in purpose)!  What’s more; our careers are always changing… we jump from one job to the next sometimes, trying to climb up the corporate ladder, nail the next audition, earn partner, or receive the highest honors in our field, whatever they may be.  ONE thing remains constant: God and His calling for our life.  “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)

This calling is something that matters more than the ins and outs of daily life.  God doesn’t call us to ONE career–He calls us to one purpose, which He can fulfill through any career, if we let Him and expect Him to show up.

I’m not advocating career-hopping.  The last thing I think people need is inconsistency and unreliability!  However, sometimes we change.  Our circumstances change.  The job and its requirements change.  Sometimes, the best thing we can do for ourselves and everyone around us is to be honest; admit that we are either overwhelmed, or the job isn’t right anymore, WE aren’t right for the job at this time, or whatever.

I’ll use a personal example here.  I taught Art for two years (2012-2014).  I was so excited to use my degree and make a difference right out of college.  I graduated from Brevard in May 2012, and by June 15, I had a job… IN MY FIELD.  Honestly, I was surprised, ’cause I’d always been told that was rare, especially in the Arts.  I had all sorts of ideas of what I would do in the classroom, what my life would look like, and where I was headed.

God had other plans.

The first year was pretty good; I had done well, my students succeeded, and I got along with all my colleagues.  However, I wasn’t at peace entirely.  Throughout the second year, I struggled.  Not as far as the job was concerned; I knew what I was talking about, what I was doing, and teaching came easily to me.  Since that seemed to be the case, I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t love it.  I kept thinking to myself, if God gave me this talent for teaching, why don’t I love it?  It got to a point where I was pretty unhappy, and wanted to go back to school, back to being in a studio, painting and working every day.

I spent the next two years at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, way up near Canada (for reference).  I LOVED IT.  Everything about it.  And I made so many amazing friends, connections, and learned SO much.  Then I graduated, culminating in the most surreal exhibition experience I’ve EVER had.  I found myself at a crossroads.  I had gone to graduate school to pursue a career in the Museum/Gallery aspect of the Arts, so I tried that.  I quickly realized that, between two jobs, I had no time to make my own work.  I thought I hadn’t had time during my teaching years, but juggling two jobs taught me that I really DID, I just didn’t realize it or know how to maximize it.

Enter Pinnacle Classical Academy.  I began thinking about teaching more and more, realizing (after the fact, of course) what I had taken for granted the first time around.  A dear high school teacher of mine reached out to me about teaching Middle and High School Art at Pinnacle, and I was leery at first, simply based on my previous experience.  But I was also excited.  I had done my student teaching at the high school level, and knew I loved that age group.  My first teaching job had been 5th and 6th grade and I only saw them once a week, if even.  At Pinnacle, I’d see them more regularly and for longer class periods.  Plus the school is on the newer side; I would be able to be part of something in it’s developmental stages, evolving as the school grows and improves.  THAT was and is super exciting to me.

So now, I’ll be teaching again in a few weeks.  I’m setting up my classroom soon, rolling out lesson plans, making samples, and drawing up some posters for the classroom.  Meanwhile, I’m really genuinely excited.  Add to that this Bible Study on working women of the Bible, and its focus on putting God first in work and doing everything for Him (Colossians 3:23) and this girl is ready to go!  I’m in a better headspace.  I appreciate what I have more, plus my nephew is 2.5 and has a wee little sister on the way and I now live only 15 minutes from them.

I know the future is uncertain.  I have no idea where this will lead.  I only know one thing: God says, “I know the plans I have for you; plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) BRING IT ON!  And keep me accountable, friends.

Peace and love,

Danielle

Lordy, it’s been too long!

Hello there loves,

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I last wrote.  Clearly I need to do a better job of committing to this blog.  I enjoy writing… I just never seem to make the time for it.  It’s one of those things that really relaxes me though–putting my thoughts into words.  I recently began reading a book by Nicholas Sparks (yes, I know, he gets a lot of flack… but I’m a sucker for predictable romances and Hallmark stories.)  Anyway, there was a tidbit in the prologue which got me thinking… man, I would love to write about that!  However, that will be my next post.  This post hearkens to the original intent of my blog; my art.  I’m going to share a bunch of pieces that are for sale; I’ve recently moved and am trying to downsize a bit… plus what artist doesn’t want to share their work?!

A few are paintings that are actually hanging at the Broad River Coffee Shop in Boiling Springs, NC, so you can see them in person if you’re local, and I’d love to meet up and talk about the piece if you’re interested.  If you’re not local, that’s cool too, and we can definitely talk about how to get the piece in your hands… I want my art to go to people who love it and WANT it, regardless of my relation to you; regardless of whether or not you share my meaning; regardless of price, honestly.

Others are some of my more recent greeting cards, quite a few of which are also at the coffee shop.  I LOVE doing these on a custom basis, as well… so if you see something similar to what you might want, holler at me, and we can definitely set something up!  All my greeting cards are handpainted watercolors, individually crafted to meet the client’s wishes (or my vision, if they’re not commissioned).

Anyways, here they are: Paintings first:

Absurd Monotony
$200-negotiable
Map of Self
$100-negotiable
Fantasy Landscape: Dreams are Real
$200-negotiable
As the Train Goes By
$100-negotiable
One by One
$300-negotiable (recent price drop)
Sinful Pleasure
$75-negotiable
Time Passes: Memory Fades
$200-negotiable

And now for some watercolor greeting cards: I’ve been on a bit of a Halloween kick lately… and have a lot of florals to add once I can get my hands on them (they’re at Broad River Coffee Shop, if you want to see!!)  Each card is 5″x7″ and totally customizable, if you want different colors, or say a different animal with a  witch hat, or whatever! My logo and signature will be on the back, and I can add writing on the inside if you choose. Each card comes with a size-appropriate envelope!  All cards are $6 for pre-made, and $8 for custom, plus shipping!  You can contact me here, on FB, phone, email, or in person if you see me! haha.  Typically payment is done through a Paypal invoice, but I also accept cash and checks (and bartering, to an extent 🙂 )

New Greeting Cards!

Hello lovelies!

Happy February to all of you!  Gorgeous and sunny here for the first day of the month!  PERFECT time to buy last-minute Valentine’s Day cards…

Not that I’m dropping any hints or anything… But this post is primarily to share some of my newest commissioned Valentine’s Day cards and some spring/generic ones!  ALSO, I have Etsy linked up more fully now, getting more full by the day!  ANNNNND, I have my Paypal invoice system all ready to go for easiest payment and delivery of the cards!

Without further ado, here they are (please pardon the blurriness on some of the photographs!)

And then a few artsy in process shots:

Hope you enjoyed them, and STAY TUNED for more!  If you’re interested in ordering any for ANY occasion (Even Christmas 2017!) contact me below!

“Patience is a virtue”

We’ve all heard it said AT LEAST a million times… “Patience is a virtue.”  I honestly have no idea where this quote originated, and let me spare you the time of looking it up online; you’ll get a zillion different answers, and who knows which one is correct!

For me, I’ve heard it the most from my parents…

As a kid, I was ready to start playing soccer before I was old enough… “Patience is a virtue.”  (Although, my Athletic Director father went ahead and let me start)

When I lost my hearing, I was impatient to get to the next step, because I had to wear useless hearing aids (hearing aids are great, but when you have NO hearing for them to aid, not so much)… “Patience is a virtue.”

Growing up, I’d be super-impatient about something with school, theatre, art, etc… there it was again… “Patience is a virtue.”

Applying for college… “Patience is a virtue.”

Now I’m at a point of my life where I’ve heard it SO many times, I’m about sick of it, honestly.  I graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with my MFA in Fine Art this past May, and have VERY impatiently been applying and waiting for jobs.  In fact, I’ve been so impatient, I let fear rule my thoughts, and I almost took a job I didn’t really want, simply for the sake of working again–I’m so ready to get out on my own again, pave my own way into this crazy world, meet new people, see new things, visit new places…

But am I REALLY ready?  I know I’m mentally ready… but maybe I’m not physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually ready… All I know is that God has been really working on patience with me lately.  I KNOW that He will provide a job and sustenance and that His timing is so so so so much better than mine.  I KNOW that.  I trust Him.

But do I really LIVE out that knowledge, that trust?

I think that’s what God is trying to tell me.  Until I can 100% trust Him, maybe I’m not really ready to be on my own again.  Maybe He wants me to stay with my parents longer than I want, so I can be part of their lives, and enjoy the time I have with them, ’cause goodness knows it won’t last forever.  Maybe He wants me to be close to my brother and his wife, so I can watch their ADORABLE child, Bailey, grow up a bit before I leave and go elsewhere.  Maybe, maybe, maybe…

That brings me to today’s devotional reading from “David: Seeking God’s Heart,” a devotional study written by Beth Moore.  Today, I was reading in 2 Samuel, and the title of the chapter in the study was “Right Place: Sometimes God reveals Himself through experiences we don’t understand.”

Hello, smack in the face!

Today’s specific passage was 2 Samuel 2:1-7.  David has just heard about Saul’s death, as well as that of Saul’s sons, including Jonathan, with whom David was incredibly close.  David is trying to decide what to do, and where to go from here.  Instead of acting of his own accord, David ASKED God what he should do!  This is super important to note–at least for me–because David ALWAYS asked God what he should do before he did ANYTHING.  David knows that God can answer and that He will… in HIS time.  This is where Beth Moore says, “He had taken some wrong turns and some right turns, but he took virtually every step crying out to his God,” which reminds me that, no matter where we go or what we do, if we strive to plant our feet in God’s Way, we will get where we are going… it may  be a different route than we originally think… it may not be the scenic route… and it may start MUCH later than we want it to… but God knows what His plan is, not us… and HE knows what needs to happen in order to make it come to fruition.  We just need to trust and follow.

I used to think that constantly asking God for direction would be like pestering Him… like, He has SO much going on that I shouldn’t “bother” him by asking for the same thing over and over again.  But that is exactly what David does.  He asks God for direction, repeatedly, until God gives him specifics.  And until God does supply these specifics, David stays put.  I’m not saying that we shouldn’t do anything or go anywhere until God says something extremely specific (I honestly believe that God can and will use us anywhere, even if it’s somewhere that seems unlikely).  In fact, if you struggle with that, you should totally read the book, “Just Do Something,” by Kevin DeYoung.  It’s a pretty good read!

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Unfortunately, I cannot take any credit for this absolutely gorgeous and inspiring collage! 

Basically, what I’m saying is that, maybe… just maybe… asking God for specific directions isn’t a sign of impatience or a lack of trust.  Maybe it’s a sign of deepened trust; a trust that transcends the fear of becoming a bother.  Maybe, like prayer, asking God for specific directions is more for us, as humans, than it is for God.  Perhaps it is a reminder, a daily mantra, to help us persevere in our patience and remember just why it is that we are patiently waiting for God’s direction: ‘Cause His way is the ONLY way!

Beth Moore left some pretty good guidelines/suggestions for how to learn to listen to God’s Word when we are in doubt or struggling with what to do.  I’m gonna leave them here, and challenge you, and myself, to try to incorporate these more daily:

  1. Acknowledge your specific need for direction.
  2. Continue to pray and study His Word daily.
  3. Ask God to HELP you recognize His answer (we humans can be pretty darn dumb)
  4. Ask for a confirmation if you have any doubt. (God didn’t even hate Thomas for doubting, way back in John 20:24-29, when he appears to Thomas and the disciples after the Resurrection… He won’t hate us.  He’ll just help us understand.)

Sorry it’s a bit of a long one this time… I guess I had a lot to say!

Peace, love and Jesus,

Danielle

Artist Highlight (Friday Funsies)

Hello lovelies!

So, as I sit here finishing up my coffee (always a sad moment), I’ve been pondering what to write about for today’s blog.  I considered an updated photos blog, but realize I have already posted my final MFA work, and have been so focused on job-hunting that I’ve not done a whole lot of new work… sooooo, I figured I would implement “Friday Funsies!”  For me, this will be a chance to reflect on an artist I appreciate and admire.  The artist may be long gone, currently working, or quite up-and-coming.  The opportunities are endless, but it’ll serve as a chance to share my inspirations, and what I like about their work!

If you know me at all, you won’t be surprised that my first “Featured Artist” is Salvador Dali… I’ve loved his work for as long as I can remember; the smooth blending techniques, bright colors, and abnormal juxtapositions that define Surrealism… I could go on!

Salvador Dali was a Spanish Surrealist painter, born in 1904 in Figueres, Spain.  He studied in Madrid, and later came in contact with well-known artists like Pablo Picasso, Rene Magritte, and Joan Miro.  These interactions are what led Dali to his first Surrealist phase, during which he produced “La Persistencia de la Memoria,” or The Persistence of Memory, one of Dali’s most famous works.  In case you don’t know, this is the “melting clock” painting!

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Surrealism is a movement in art that focuses heavily on the artist’s rendition of his or her subconscious mind.  In the Surrealist Manifesto of 1924, written by Andre Breton, it is said that “the Surrealists sought to overthrow the oppressive rules of modern society by demolishing its backbone of rational thought. To do so, they attempted to tap into the “superior reality” of the subconscious mind.”  Although many of the tenets of Surrealism were present in the former Dada movement, Surrealists claimed to use the disparate objects, experimentalism, and juxtapositions more intentionally, focusing on Freudian concepts of dreams. (more on Freud)  “Breton defined Surrealism as “Psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express…the actual functioning of thought…in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern.”2” (MoMA)

My personal favorite part of Surrealism has always been the hyper-real landscape style, and the way the artists add totally unexpected, out-of-place objects that are so beautifully rendered, you can’t help but believe them.  I suppose this sense of suspended disbelief is also what I love about theatre, fantasy novels, and movies… I never thought of it that way, but it does make perfect sense!

Salvador Dali certainly fits the Surrealist motto, as his paintings and life were heavily influenced by his parents and their relationship to their son.  His mother was a devout Catholic, but his father a self-proclaimed atheist disciplinarian.  One can only imagine the struggle a young artist may have faced, due to a potentially divisive parentage.  Dali, the Surrealist that he was, used his experiences as fodder for his work, as many artists do.  Many of the painter’s pieces have been analyzed through the Freudian lenses of dreams, subconscious, and unrestrained thought, all characteristic of Surrealism.

While I could go on and on about Surrealism and Dali, I won’t; here is a link that provides OODLES of information and is a very enjoyable read: http://thedali.org/timeline/. I highly recommend that you visit!  Meanwhile, here are some of my favorites of Dali’s paintings:

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I simply LOVE the hidden objects in this painting.  One of my favorite things about Dali is that you can seriously enjoy them over and over, since new things become apparent each time.  To me, the best art keeps the viewer coming back for more, and I think Dali is a MASTER at that.                                                                                                                                         Swans Reflecting Elephants 
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Dali often used his wife, Galatea, as a muse for his paintings.  Here, I love the way he renders her; you can clearly see her beauty, but he has fragmented it in such a creative way… you almost see it as a whole, then as various spheres!             Galatea of the Spheres 
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Ah! The Hallucinogenic Toreador! Totally one of my favorites… Just look at how amazing Dali’s hidden objects are, and how beautifully he merges one thing with another, until you see a different emphasis EACH time you view the piece.  

Well, I do believe I’ve probably bored you all by now… but if not, I’ll be happy to share more information with you all!  In fact, here is a link to a paper I wrote about Surrealism and the Femme Enfant… and seriously, get online and lose yourself in the amazingness of Dali and other Surrealist artists… in fact, I think next Friday will be another Surrealist!

With love,

Danielle

LOOONG overdue

Hello lovelies!

I know it has been entirely too long since I’ve written a thing!  I figured that now is as good a time as any to get back into this blog, full-swing!  I’m going to plan to post more frequently, and about more topics!  A muggy, rainy morning with a good cup of joe is the PERFECT time to “restart,” isn’t it?!

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Okay, so that’s not today’s coffee… but I wish it was!

Also, while we are talking about restarting things… you should check out my Etsy shop, which I’ve also revamped.  I’ve decided to focus it primarily on wedding-related pieces and projects… thumbprint guest books, invitations, etc.  Right now, everything is done by hand, but I hope to add graphically illustrated things to the wedding programs and invitations portion of it!  I suppose the hopeless romantic in me, combined with my recent part-time employment with a Wedding Coordinator at Separk Mansion in Gastonia, has brought about this change and made me really excited about it all!  I DO LOVE WEDDINGS!

Here’s my Etsy link…. https://www.etsy.com/shop/dmbfromtheheART?ref=hdr_shop_menu

And here are a few images from my shop:

And OF COURSE, I still take commissions and other projects, so any time you have questions about anything, send them my way! 🙂 I would love to help you make your visions and dreams come true!

There’s so much I COULD say… but I’ll just keep this one short, a “re-introduction” of sorts, and unashamed advertising of my Etsy shop… so go visit it! 🙂

Peace, Love and Jesus,

Danielle

Thesis Exhibition and Defense

So… I know I promised a full recap of the Thesis exhibition A WHILE AGO.  Is it fair to say that I’ve been busy?  Plus, I’ve been exhausted.  You know that emotional/mental/physical let down after a big event?  Yeah.  I didn’t even realize I was anticipating my Thesis Exhibition and Defense quite so much!  I knew it was a huge capstone and kind of a big deal… but WHOOOOO!  Am I glad it’s done!

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it–I did.  Thoroughly.  Although the two years I’ve spent at RIT have been FULL of ups and downs, I’ve really learned a lot and enjoyed myself here.  I’ve grown as a person, an artist, a critic, a curator, a writer, and so much more.  It’s going to be pretty hard to say goodbye in a few short weeks.  (I’m loading up a U-box on May 19th and sending my entire life to oblivion… okay, that’s a bit dramatic… I’m sending my POSSESSIONS to my parents’ house for a while, since I’m not yet sure where I’ll be living after May!)

So, now the show….

It was, in a word, AMAZING.  My family flew in from North Carolina, and my sweet Uncle even drove up from Jersey, just to see me and my work!  I’m so blessed to have such a loving, supportive, and all-around awesome family.  I would truly be nobody and nowhere without them!

The crowd was rather huge; I stood near my work most of the time and talked to people, and watched them looking at my work.  It is one of the most fun things, for me as an artist, to watch people interact with my work.  I love to see them get lost in it, question it, bring friends over, and talk about it right in front of me–since they don’t know I’m the artist… haha!  SO FUN.  I got lots of compliments and interesting questions, too.  Totally makes everything worth it when you get a chance to share your art with other people.  It’s a vulnerable time, yes, as artwork is often very personal… but it’s like an intimate dialogue, and I always learn more than I anticipate.

I was even able to get a couple sales from the show… I’ll be honest; sales are nice, but that’s not why I make art.  So to create something that I’m happy with and have enjoyed so much, and then have someone else find enough meaning in it that they want to buy it, to look at daily, is an incredible thing.  I truly consider myself blessed to be able to experience this interaction and help bring something to another’s life!  There are still quite a few pieces that are in my studio, though, that I would like to sell before I pack up the U-box… if someone loves something, I’d rather it have a happy home than risk damaging it during travels!

There’s so much more that I could say about the show, my artwork, how I feel… but that would be a BOOK!  The Defense went really well–totally not what I expected, but I’m pleased and my committee is, too!  So that’s all that really matters.  Now, I’m focusing on finishing up my Thesis Document so I can get it published and printed!  Once it’s all available online, I’ll embed the link and talk more about that! 🙂

So, I know I’ve already shared most of these images before, but wanted to include them again, simply because that is what my Thesis is all about.  If anyone has any questions–personal, artistic, commissary, or otherwise–please feel free to contact me at any time!

ANDDD that last one, in the wee bottom right corner, is just to show where it all started… GOOD GRIEF! 🙂 It’s been a wild ride!  SUCH fun!

Updates and Thesis!

I know I’ve been rather MIA as I work on my MFA Thesis Exhibition.  I’m not entirely sure why, except that I’ve been busy!  I thoroughly enjoy writing, though, and will be picking back up with the blog now that my Thesis is winding down… hard to believe it’s nearing the end of my second year of graduate school at RIT!

The main purpose of this particular post is simply to share what my work looks like, currently.  Right now, things are mostly finished, and I’m just letting the pieces rest for a bit, so that I can clear my head of the “tunnel vision” and return in a couple days with fresh eyes to do any last-minute touches!

I’ve still got to finish hanging mechanisms for a couple pieces (three, to be exact!), and edit my thesis paper.. perhaps I’ll include the entire paper as a blog post one day… it’ll be super long, since I never know when to stop talking! 🙂

Anyways, without further ado, here are the PAINTINGS so far… I did not photograph the two sculptures yet… yeah, my show ended up with seven pieces (the Biblical number for completion and wholeness), even without my planning it that way! God is so awesome!  I know these images are rather large, and may be difficult to see on a still screen, unless your computer is way bigger than mine!  But I like how big they are, because you can see the details more fully.  After I post the sculptures, too, I will spend some time blogging about EACH image and what it means… so hang on, we’re going for a ride through Revelation! 🙂

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Okay… I can’t resist: “the” starbucks red cup post

So, if you’re on Facebook or ANY social media at all lately, chances are, you’ve seen post after post about Starbucks’ “war on Christmas.”  REALLY?

starbucks-cup-2009 starbucks-cup-2010  starbucks-cup-2012 starbucks-cup-2013 starbucks-cup-2014

I didn’t know what all the fuss was about at first, so I did some browsing–I didn’t have to go far–to figure it out.  Even the news is reporting it as a “thing” now.  It is absolutely insane.  Here is one example of a “report” about the “war on Christmas”…  Here is another… Here is YET ANOTHER…

Had enough?

Me too!  To quote Kristoff from Frozen (which we all know I love), “Can we please just stop talking about this?  We’ve got a real, actual problem here…”

Anna frozen

Starbucks has been using various holiday-themed cups for YEARS, with no indication of any relation to the Christian aspects of Christmas.  So, this year there are no snowflakes or decorations?  SO WHAT?!  Maybe Starbucks decided to go minimalist… does it make it any “less Christian” than before?… NO–They were never affiliated with Christianity in the first place!  Snowflakes, ornaments, reindeer…whatever… on a cup doesn’t make it Christian… NOR does the absence make it violent toward Christians.

IT’S A COFFEE CUP, PEOPLE.

I’m pretty sure it’s not written in the Bible anywhere that we should decorate our drinking vessels to promote Christianity.  No… however, it IS written that we should “love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our strength, and with all our mind,” OH and guess what… we should “love our neighbor as ourselves.”  Luke 10:27

Sounds to me like we should all forget about the red cup “fiasco,” and focus on things that really matter, like spreading love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, meekness, and self-control (Galations 5:22-23).  We should share what we have with others, even if that means going out of our way to do so.  Matthew 25:40.

I could keep going, but I’m pretty sure you get the idea.  There are SO MANY more important things than worrying about whether a silly little cup has a snowflake on it.  And, quite frankly, if Starbucks WAS declaring war on Christmas, WHY would they still have Christmas blend coffee, Christmas gift cards, and Christmas ornaments for sale in their stores… just some food for thought.  Now, go enjoy your coffee… no matter what cup it’s in!  Drink it out of a jack-o-lantern cup, for all I care.

I, for one, am going to try to focus on what REALLY matters this Christmas: That Jesus was born, sent to earth, with the express purpose of saving me–and all His children–from ourselves; without God’s grace in sending His son, we would have no hope.  But because God is merciful and loving, we can know Him, His hope, His forgiveness, His salvation.  THAT is pretty awesome.  And no, I don’t need a snowflake to say so.

Peace, love and art,

danielle

Why I do what I do…

Hello lovelies!

I realize I haven’t really delved into WHY I paint, and more specifically why I am working with the subject of Revelations for my Thesis Exhibition.  I’m not shy about discussing these topics.  In fact, the reason I haven’t written about them can be seen as kind of the opposite; I have TOO MUCH to say about the topics!  Maybe this is because my reasons for painting and for depicting Revelations are personal, and integral to who I am…

Nevertheless, I shall try.  So, grab a hot cup of whatever you like to drink (coffee, please!) and let’s just dive right in! 🙂  I’ll just discuss why I paint in this post… Revelations will come soon! 🙂

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; the reason I started making art–on a very basic level–was a blessing in disguise.  I was involved in theatre all through elementary school, middle school, and the beginning of high school.  Suddenly, my sophomore year, during West Side Story, the director said something that exiled me from the stage.  She said that deaf people may not be able to act, because they’ll miss their cues.  She forced me to quit the play, which also marked the end of my theatre career (at my high school, at least… I’ve done more plays and musicals since then, at other locations).

Okay... so our production wasn't shaping up to be quite THIS good..
Okay… so our production wasn’t shaping up to be quite THIS good..

I was heartbroken and cried like a BABY… I specifically remember the hour following my “discussion” with the director.  Long story short (because believe me; this part COULD get very l-o-n-g), I needed a new elective, since I would no longer be enrolling in theatre.  I had always been interested in art, and even took a “zero period” art class, which meant that school started at 7:00 for me throughout high school.  Needless to say, art was the only elective that made sense, because I DEFiNITELY can’t sing… haha!… and PE wasn’t competitive enough.  Funny how things work out, isn’t it?…

So, my junior year of high school, I started getting serious about making art.  I still did other things, like soccer, cross country, church activities, and theatre–at the rival high school (heehee)–but art became more important to me.  I liked it.  I was good at it, if I do say so myself.  I decided to take AP art my senior year, and pursue art in college.  This decision began the frenzy for school applications, portfolio visits, AP credits and class rankings… whew!  I don’t miss THAT craziness!

THANKFULLY, when all was said and done, I ended up at Brevard College in Brevard, NC, studying Studio Art with some AMAZING professors and colleagues.  In case you don’t know, Brevard is a GORGEOUS little town near Asheville, and I wouldn’t trade my time there, surrounded by the mountains, for anything!  My senior year at Brevard, I was presenting my thesis exhibition, and I chose to center the entire show around my deafness.  I’ve talked about this show before, and you can read/see it here!  During my exhibition, I stood, rooted in the corner, surrounded by people who were interested in my art and asked questions, which I answered… all night.  During that show, I just had this sense of calm and peace; I knew that God wanted me to paint.  He has called me to use my utmost for His highest (thank you, Oswald Chambers).

God gives us talents for a REASON.  He does not want us to squander them, keeping our gifts to ourselves.  What good would that do?!  No, He gives us talents to USE them, to bring Him glory.  He gave us His son on the cross, and all He wants in return is for us to choose to follow Him and serve Him with our gifts (which, need I remind you, are FROM HIM!)  I don’t mean to preach or anything, but this is something I feel strongly about.  (Here are some verses about talent, if you feel like taking a gander! 🙂 ) 

Hands shaping clay on potter's wheel
gift

So that is why I paint and make art, in general….Not for me, my professors, or even my clients, but FOR GOD!  I think I managed to keep it KIND OF short… remember, I warned you!  haha…Like I said, I could go ON and ON about this; it’s personal and convicting.  I don’t just create my artwork; God creates it through me, and I am His vessel.  To me, the most successful artworks I’ve created are the ones that just come together… I don’t always understand how or when, but I know a sense of calm when I work on them.  I know that this is God, guiding me to do my small portion of His kingdom work.  That being said, I’m not sorry if this is preachy… it’s just how I feel, and you can take it or leave it!  🙂

As always, peace, love and art!

-danielle