We Wanna Throw Clay!!!

Hello!

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:

WE WANNA THROW CLAY

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.

Love always,

Danielle

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

Nowhere Near…

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.

contentment
Can I just say that I honestly think Philippians 4 is my favorite chapter of the Bible?! 4:11 and 4:13 are two of my favorite verses EVERRRRRR! 

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?

new-mercies

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).

confidence

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!

Love you all!

Danielle

“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!

one day.jpg
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!

the-persistence-of-memory.jpg

 

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:

swans-reflecting-elephants.jpg
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 
galatea-of-the-spheres.jpg
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 
The-Hallucinogenic-Toreador-1969-70-504x659.jpg
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

News!… literally! And thesis exhibition title.. HELP!?

Hello lovelies!

SOOOOOOOO, I had the honor of having a bit of a review about me published online the other day!  Not a review of my work, per se… but a review of my online presence and how I can improve my marketing, promotion, networking, etc.  Click here, if you want to read the article!

In my Business Practices class at RIT, we’ve been talking a lot about marketing ourselves online, and what sites are useful, and which ones… well, aren’t.  It’s a lot to learn, and it’s always changing, but that’s part of what makes it exciting.  If anything, I have learned that discipline and persistence usually pay off!  Slowly, yes… but surely!

I have also recently registered to start writing for a website called the Artifice… I’ll be reviewing art-related themes and ideas.  It’ll be a while before I get published, but you can BET that I’ll post on here, as soon as I do!

MEANWHILE… I’ve been trying to figure out what to call my thesis exhibition.  I’m dealing with the book of Revelations from the Bible, and have SOME ideas, but am still not sure.  I want to find the perfect title; one that is subtle, but totally recognizable to those who know the Word.  I want my title to pull people in by intrigue and curiosity, whether they know exactly what the word, itself, means.  Here are some of my ideas:

Revelation (I don’t love this one, because it seems too blunt, but it IS my theme)

Patmos (This is the island where John experienced Revelations.  The word also means, “my killing,” I believe)

Kataklysmos (Greek for a “washing” in the destructive sense… I REALLY like this one!)

Armageddon

Apocalyptic Hope

Blessings (According to several concordances, Revelations is the only book of the Bible that promises blessing to its readers)

That’s all I’ve got at this point.. let me know what you think! 🙂

Peace, love and art!

Danielle