Do you ever have those days where you realize you’re NOWHERE near where you thought you would be at a certain point in your life? Maybe you thought you’d be married by a certain age, or done with school by a certain year. Maybe you thought you’d be traveling or living/working somewhere exotic. Maybe you never thought you’d leave home, or vice versa, couldn’t wait to leave, but haven’t. Maybe you’ve failed at something, lost a job. Maybe your significant other broke up with you, or you have been disappointed, stepped on, or let down in more ways than you can count.
Maybe you never had any idea where you’d go, who you’d be, or what you’d do…
Maybe you still don’t.
This is something I struggle with sometimes (okay… a lot). I’ve always been the type of person to look forward to the next thing; graduation from HS, graduation from College, working, marriage, living life… I’m generally happy and easily excitable, but am I content? Do I know how to really live in the moment, soaking it up and enjoying all the wonders that God provides every day?
As I sit here, on the day I turn 27, I reflect on the past years of my life. I’ve done a lot, seen a lot, loved and worked a lot. I’m not ANYWHERE near where I thought I’d be, had you asked me at 10. I harbored fantasies that I’d be married by now (yes, I’m one of those people who have a pinterest board dedicated to my “one-day dream wedding”…no, I’m not ashamed), working at a job I loved, in a really cool place with lots of things to do, and of course I’d be making art, writing, reading, and doing all the things I love.
I’ve lost my hearing at 5, gained a Cochlear Implant at 6, played soccer for 16 years, graduated from High School as valedictorian, completed college with honors, struggled with an eating disorder (from which I learned a lot, and am eternally thankful for the people who supported me even when it made me want to hate them), run marathons, taught school, obtained a Masters degree, worked in museums, worked in a coffee shop (YUMMMMMM!), and am now wondering what else I will do. I’m on the brink of potentially doing some things I couldn’t have pictured before; I’ve changed and grown a lot over the years, and I think I have a healthier perspective now than I’ve ever had.
There’s really only one thing I’m sure of… (okay; two… coffee is DELISH).
Okay, I think I’ll leave it at that for now. Sorry (not sorry) for all the images, but as an artist, images often speak more than text alone. I should make some images with verses and watercolors and sell those… hmmm… or just plaster them all over my walls to remind me of what I never EVER want to lose sight of!
Okay, so we hear about New Years Resolutions EVERY year at the beginning of January. I get it; we are probably all sick of hearing about it. I doubt anyone wants to read about my three resolutions, but I’ll share anyway. PLUS, I am long overdue in posting about the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon I am doing as a St. Jude Hero in March!
First, the resolutions. Last year, I honestly didn’t “set” any. This year, they kind of came about on their own. Perhaps it’s necessity? Perhaps I’m just growing up? Regardless, here they are:
I plan to lead a “tidier” lifestyle. Rather than allowing myself to be bogged down with work, time constraints and other things, I’m going to try to keep my room/living spaces and my car cleaner. I know that I tend to breathe more easily in a clean, clutter-free, organized space. One might assume that knowing this would simplify my problem, but it doesn’t. I can never seem to find time to clean deeply, so things build up and then can get overwhelming. Sound like life? YUP. In theory, I’m hoping that cleaning a little more each day, putting things away more immediately, and just working to improve overall cleanliness will carry into my time management of life, in general. Having time is not the issue; choosing to USE the time I have is.
My second resolution is pretty straightforward. I am going to work on my Social Media presence when it comes to marketing my artwork and other projects. I have an Etsy account, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat, but I don’t use them well. 2017 is gonna be the year in which that changes. If anyone has tips about that one, PLEASE let me know, because I’ve clearly not been too successful in the past. Again, I do think that the use of my time influences this as well. I need to use the time I have to create things, market them, and reach out through Social Media more regularly.
Last, but definitely not least, I want to build my relationship with and faith in God. While I know what I believe and where I stand, I want to become even more enthralled with my amazing Savior; I want to spend time poring over His Word, His Grace, and the abundance of His love for me. I want my introspection and devotional studies to overflow the vessel of my body and heart so that others can get a glimpse of the amazing God I love and serve. I want Him to be enough. REALLY be enough. Not just in theory or word, but in active practice and daily life. I want to build up my fellowship circle, which is currently lacking, as I’ve recently moved.
Okay, so that’s the basic gist of my New Years Resolutions… and NO, I am not going to talk about Mariah Carey at all… let’s just say that 2016, as lovely as it was, is behind us, and I am looking forward to all that 2017 has in store!
Speaking of what 2017 has in store… I’ll be running my FIRST Rock ‘n’ Roll race on March 11, so I’ll begin my marathon training regimen soon, and would simply LOVE to hear from other runners what you typically do in the months prior to a marathon, or any race, really. I’m super excited about this race, especially because it’ll be the first time I’ve done a race as a St. Jude Hero. This means that I’ll be raising funds for research at the St. Jude Children’s Hospital, and running in support of (and supported by) St. Jude. Here’s a link for more information about this AWESOME charity/endeavor.
I’m particularly excited about running for St. Jude because 83 cents (on average) of every dollar raised goes directly toward research and treatment for the children supported by St. Jude. This allows families to get the help and care that they need at NO cost to them. To me, that is one of the most important things in the life of these families; they are able to be together in a safe environment where people care about them and helping them improve their situations. See here! So far, I’ve raised $530 at the Bronze Level for St. Jude. Mathematically, this means that all the people who’ve supported me so far have sent about $440 dollars directly to St. Jude. While I’ve actually reached my initial goal set in 2016, I want to see how far I and my lovely friends, acquaintances, coworkers, and other generous people can go. If you, or someone you know, would like to donate, here is a link directly to my donation page!
Whoo– that’s enough for tonight, I believe. Remember, Social Media improvement is part of my NYR… so do expect to be seeing more from me soon! 🙂 Perhaps my next post will involve some homemade Christmas items from my own heARTmade collection!
Happy New Year, and Happy New You! May your 2017 be as awesome as I intend to make mine! Love you all!
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…
Okay, if he’s not the cutest thing ever…. AH!
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!
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:
Acknowledge your specific need for direction.
Continue to pray and study His Word daily.
Ask God to HELP you recognize His answer (we humans can be pretty darn dumb)
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!
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!
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:
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!
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!
Four Living Creatures
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!
So here it is: my promised post about my thesis show and today’s critique! Which shall I start with?… how ’bout an IMAGE?! Here’s one: (there are more throughout)
I’ll start with today’s critique. I’ll come right out and say that It did NOT go how I would have liked. The professor was not “too” critical or anything like that, and I did get some helpful, constructive feedback. No one was mean or “overly” nice…
so WHY was it not my best critique?
Well, in retrospect, I realize that many factors built into today’s mood: I was already frustrated because the critiques of my classmates dragged on for FOUR class days already, and we were in the last 30 minutes or so of the fourth class day (that’s 12 hours, spread throughout 3 weeks, at least), and I didn’t think we would even get to my work today. My irritation and frustration have been growing since the beginning of the semester; I wasn’t happy with painting, my professor was projecting himself on my painting style, and there are/were other frustrations… (I’m just not including those photos)
THAT being said, when today’s critique was full of the professor “finishing” the painting in his style, verbally, and seeming to push me in a direction I am NOT taking the painting, it was the last straw. I realized a week or so ago that I MISS my old studio practice. I MISS pastel sketches, painting in high contrast, using jewel-tones, and trusting myself. It took listening to my peers and talking with them to realize that I was rather lost, for a while. I tell my drawing students, all the time, that they should trust themselves and go with their gut… but I wasn’t listening to myself. Now, I realize that I have to take what is said by the professor, and apply it to what I want to do, how I want to do it.
The moment I had that “revelation,” I felt like Elsa, from Frozen….”let it go!” So here’s a picture from buzzfeed, ’cause who DOESN’T love Elsa?!
Over the past several weeks, I have realized that my thesis exhibition is MINE. Yes, my professor is there for guidance and can certainly teach me new things, but ultimately, I cannot let him force me to compromise my vision. And a vision is exactly what I am depicting. I’m re-presenting (’cause it’s already been presented once, by John) John’s visions from Patmos in Revelation…. My professor–and others–may not “get it,” but for a while, I was painting for my professor, and I lost my way. I realize that I live, breathe, and paint for an audience of one: God. When I let go of what my professor was pushing me toward, I was able to regain some of my old truthfulness. I know how to paint. I may not be the best artist, but that’s okay… I just need to be true to myself, paint for God, and allow Him to work through me.
YES, that feels good. YES, it is a huge sigh of relief… BUT my professor’s “stray-causing”…? (I’ll call it that) is not without benefits. Through my frustration with painting, I realized that trying to paint ALL of Revelations is ridiculous. There’s so much I can never understand or fathom. God even says very clearly that “no mind can comprehend…” (1 Corinthians 2:9) The more I think about it, also, the more I realize that part of my vision of Revelations is NOT painting at all… it’s sculpture. When I read about the seven bowls from Revelations, I do not see them as paintings, but as actual bowls!
Am I a sculptor? NOOOOOO… haha… BUT, I did take Sculpture last semester, and honestly, I enjoyed it a LOT more than I expected to… or than I let on. AND, I realized that, for me, a huge part of being at RIT is learning to be an ARTIST, not “just a painter,” and what better way to express my growth as an artist than to present an interdisciplinary show? What better way to represent Revelations than how my initial vision portrays it? That’s what Revelations is, after all: Visions.
So, that being said… I’m thinking three paintings, and seven bowls. Both numbers are Biblically symbolic and significant… Three for the Holy Trinity, the anti-trinity (which is depicted in one of my paintings, along with the 4 horsemen of the Apocalypse, and the 4 living creatures around the throne of Heaven). Seven is one of the most common numbers in Revelations, and is a symbol of wholeness and completion. Here is some research based on the numbers 3 and 7, in Revelations, specifically:
“Next to seven, 3 is the most commonly found or referenced number in Revelation. An angel is charged to cry three woe’s to those who live on earth to warn them of more trials to come (Revelation 8:13). The murdered bodies of the Two Witnesses will not be allowed to be buried but rather will lie openly in Jerusalem for three days before they are resurrected. Three unclean spirits will be allowed to deceive the whole world to FIGHT the returning Jesus Christ in what is called the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:13 – 16). The new Jerusalem, created by God for placement on a new earth, will be shaped like a square with three gates on each side (Revelation 21:13).” —http://www.biblestudy.org/bibleref/meaning-of-numbers-in-bible/3.html
There’s way too much about the number seven for one “nugget,” so, click here.
Here’s one last image for you… I’m toying around with the idea of Hope, and how to insert that… so this is a cute dove I’m considering… I’ve done several different sketches in different poses, but this guy is the only one I snapped, so far:
So, I don’t know exactly what my thesis will be, in the end… but I know who I want to rely on for guidance, and I have a rough plan… for me, that is enough.