Okay, so we aren’t REALLY going to throw clay the same way we throw snowballs at a good ole fashioned snowball fight… BUT I am trying to secure a Pottery Wheel for my students at PCA… scratch that; I am GOING to secure a Pottery Wheel for my students at PCA!
We are almost halfway there already; this will just be a short post to help spread the word even more! There are SO many benefits of the Arts in our education today… and I consider myself super blessed to be an Art Teacher to such amazing kids. These amazing kids deserve the magic that can be “spun” by a Pottery Wheel… I’ve started a Donorschoose page for the project, which you can find here:
ALSO, any contributions made today or tomorrow will automatically be DOUBLED! Y’all, that’s crazy exciting!! Not only will you make the initial impact you generously pledge, but using the code LIFTOFF at checkout, the pledge will instantly be doubled. Then, each time my students are able to use the Pottery Wheel, the impact spreads… like a ripple effect! I cannot wait to see the look on their sweet faces when we get to have a Pottery Wheel IN our classroom! And it’s all cause of generous, loving people who care! I couldn’t possibly be more thankful for 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!
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).
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! 🙂 )
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! 🙂
The way the Fine Art Studio MFA program works at RIT, we are required to take two of four “major” studio courses each semester: Painting, Sculpture, New Forms, and/or Printmaking. I’m pretty sure most of you know what Painting and Sculpture are… and most likely, you know what Printmaking is (in general). But, New Forms–now, that’s an oddball! Or at least, it was for me, when I took it last year. In New Forms, the whole idea is to experiment and push the boundaries of that ever-elusive question: “What is art?” New Forms can involve media projects, social experiments, sculpture, video, environmental art and/or any combination thereof. For me, this was really hard. I usually paint and draw… so trying to think about NEW ways to express the same ideas I usually paint or draw was NOT my cup of tea. However, I did learn a lot about thinking outside the box, and I’m glad I took the class.
Sculpture was interesting and different for me, too… but that’ll be a post for a different day! Printmaking was also new… and still is, really. My first semester, I took Painting and New Forms, second semester, I took Painting and Printmaking and Sculpture. This semester, I’m doing Printmaking and Painting, and it’s going pretty well… so far… It’s only been 5 weeks–IT’S ALREADY BEEN FIVE WEEKS?! OH MY!
So, today, I decided to share a few of my most recent prints that I’m working on for a Book Arts project for my Non-Toxic Printmaking class. We did the same project last year, but it’s a repeated project; a culmination of our experience in the Printmaking studio. Last year, I did two books, based on dry-point flowers and cutouts. Dry-Point is where you scratch a design or drawing into the plastic plate, ink it up, wipe it down, and run it through the press with the paper. I usually use dry paper, as well, to get the details of the lines, but NOT the extra ink around the lines… I think it works pretty well:
Here are some of my other prints from last semester!
Now… here are the ones I’m currently working on. I’m doing a process called Collographing. This means that I’m building up texture on the surface of a plate, then using shellac to seal my textures (if I need it… when the texture is made of a gel medium, I don’t usually use shellac). Once the shellac and/or gel medium is dry, I use several colors of inks to fill the plate, then wipe off the excess (this is usually a LOT, unfortunately). Then, I run the plate through the press with dampened paper, at a low pressure. I’m having a lot of fun playing with the textures, which I think builds off my experience as a deaf person, whose sense of touch is heightened… but that’s just my thought! The “lighter” images are Ghost prints… which simply means that I reprinted each plate without re-inking it.. In some cases, I actually prefer the Ghost! (And nooooo… it has nothing to do with Patrick Swazye… 😉 )
I’m also continuing to explore dry-point, which is SO fun and meditatively relaxing for me… That’ll be a post for another day, too! Enjoy these! 🙂 Peace, love and art… -Danielle