gallery

On not knowing where I am...

I take pieces of my life (and self) and smatter them on canvas. I arrange the chaos in a fashion that feels often wandering and haphazard, but often comes out grittily "right." Resolved.

Even with all the questions and confessions and shadows—scratches, tears, smudges, stains, splatters, and drips—there is harmony. There is light and grace and acceptance and some strange roaring beauty.

I see it. I stand up and step away from the work feeling resolved, as if the troubles of life have been set down. Placed aside. Moved past.

Then those canvases, they are transferred from my life to someone else's life. Maybe the patron sees a bit of her own shadow and turmoil in all my mess. Maybe he sees some way to synthesize his own questions in my questions. Maybe they can even rest in the midst of the storm after seeing a path of peace in mine.

Often it's just an awkward sterile exchange of money. One hand to another. Payment to painting. And then a piece of me is gone. And I don't know where it now rests. I don't know where I am.

The treasured moments come when they say, "Tell me why you created this one. Tell me what you were thinking." I oblige with as much vulnerability as I can afford; and I delight at the chance to ask them, "Tell me why you want to take this one home."

And the beauty of their story mingling with my story, it is a powerful work of art in itself. I walk away with the illumination of knowing these pieces will hang on the walls of their lives, bringing some light to their shadows. It is the full circle of resolution—knowing the further purpose of that piece of my life. And knowing: I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

They showed me who they were.

Imagine holding up your secrets for everyone to see. Or maybe your quiet thoughts from just-before-sleeping or from driving down the road by yourself. Or from a longer-than-usual and hotter-than-usual shower that you really needed for your body and mind to settle down a bit. Imagine taking all of those things and packing them into your car for a room-full of strangers.

But, then, here's the crazy thing: Imagine wanting to do this. Imagine this being a dream come true.

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We loaded in and set up for a beautiful fundraiser—an opportunity to support the changing of lives in corners of the world I can't reach with my own two hands. But I carried in what I had. I carefully set it out, heart pounding over what they would think and what they would say. Or if they would care at all. I saw a few familiar faces and heard "oh I know your mama and daddy." But most didn't have expectations of me at all.

I invited them into the art gallery, explaining that this was a chance for them to "listen" to what the art was saying—engage with art as they would engage with the music and lyrics they'd just heard. Let it speak to them. Let it draw truth out of them.20130326-131611.jpg

That's the "why" of my art. To share truth. To share the world as I see it and as I so desperately want to see it. Art is a conversation, both between me & God and between me and those viewing.

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The response was beyond what I anticipated. Story after story. Question after question: tell me about this piece, what were you thinking, what does this mean.

And I told them. And then they told me. I heard stories of homes destroyed. Marriages destroyed. Lives destroyed. I didn't say it, but I knew the truth of my art—a dance of joy and sorrow, pain and contentment. They answered my questions with questions of their own. They responded to my whispered confessions with tears and stories and memories. And hope and healing.

And I was changed because they showed me who they were.