Project 1, Post 7: A Little Elbow Grease

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Reflection:

Holding a hard-bristled dish brush in one hand, I stared at my painting contemplating what I was about to do to it, to inflict upon it. I took one last deep breath and then began scrubbing my painting with ferocity and determination. I scrubbed – and I scrubbed – and I scrubbed – chipping away at the very paint I had purposefully laid upon that canvas. I chiseled away parts of the blue flower petals that I had so carefully composed.

I was on a mission to expose flecks of the aluminum foil squares that I had used as the foundation beneath my painting. It was actually working! It sure was not easy though. Actually, the entire scrubbing process required far more elbow grease than I had anticipated. It also took some time. Nevertheless, I began to be filled with more and more pleasure as the fruit of my labor began to be seen.

As I continued, switching off between arms after one became tired from scrubbing, I remembered a brief verse in the book of Genesis.

“The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Genesis, 2:15)

Wait… Adam had to work when he was living in the Garden of Eden? Yes, he sure did. We (humans) were designed by God to toil, to work (in many different forms of course). Even in Eden, life for Adam and Eve was not without effort.

Sometimes we can become discouraged at our constant toils, wishing life were an endless vacation. However, hard work is often a blessing in disguise. Work gives us pleasure and satisfaction in seeing the products of our labor. Work gives us purpose and a sense of self-worth. Work allows us to find a sense of value and pride in ourselves, often when we need it the most.

So, whatever you do each day – whether it is sowing a field, filing paperwork, waking repeatedly in the night to feed a crying baby, turning wrenches, raising children, flipping burgers, etc. – do it heartily. The fruits of your labor might not be seen right away, but in time you shall be blessed.

“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16:3)

Artistic Process:

You have probably seen old buildings with paintings on the side. Although weathering and age have stripped pieces of those paintings away you can still see the integrity of the images. That was my goal in scrubbing my painting in order to allow the aluminum to peak through. I didn’t want to demolish my work, but instead allow small flecks of foil to add depth, texture and character to the piece.

Project 1, Post 5: From Blue Blobs to Blue Flowers, Having the Strength to Stay the Course

Project 1, Post 5: From Blue Blobs to Blue Flowers, Having the Strength to Stay the Course

Prelude:

I love springtime! My favorite color happens to be blue, so I decided on painting simplistic, blue flowers over my canvas’s background. I wanted to paint in the utmost simplest of fashions, omitting my usual artistic flares or intensities. First I simply laid out the general area of the flowers by painting a blue base color to form the general shape of three flowers.

Ah! For some reason it startled me! I can’t articulate exactly why, for even I still don’t entirely understand my sudden and strong emotions that my actions induced. I was just startled.

“Oh no!” I thought to myself, “I’ve ruined my painting!”

“What was I thinking?”

“I can’t do this right.”

Well, there is a well-documented and long, long history (from the beginning of time, really) of us humans acting based solely on emotions and feeling. This action of events has rarely lead us flawed creatures in the right direction. After all, emotions have a tendency to take over our typically rational selves and turn us into “non-thinkers.”

I realized, “Why am I questioning myself?” “Paige, you know how to paint a flower!”

“Why on Earth would you be second guessing yourself over this?”

Ding! Ding! Ding!

So, I charged onward, staying the course.

Reflection:

A lot of things in the world today evoke a great deal of emotions. Christians are typically very empathetic and our sympathies can often lead us to question our own Christian beliefs and can sometimes even lead us to act against our own well-being or against the well-being of others. The course of events in life and in politics can be very, very confusing. Sometimes we may feel at odds with our own religion, especially as the world and our society begin to replace basic Christian morals with new, “progressive,” worldly morals of right and wrong.

It is extremely easy for us to slip down the wrong road and allow our compassion and empathy for others to convince ourselves that we silly Christians had simply been misunderstanding the unchanged words of God and Jesus for over two thousand years.

This is acting on emotion. This same act can also lead us into a new kind of arrogance, as if we “new Christians” know better, are smarter and are the only all-knowing, true Christians. Ah, but BEWARE! There is no virtue in being arrogant and smug. Nor is there any virtue in assuming the word of God can be deconstructed to conform to any set of ever changing worldly ideologies.

Instead, we Christians must stay the course, steady in His truth.

This is not an easy task. So, I offer the following scripture as a bit of encouragement and guidance to help you stay steady on your feet and on the true path of the Lord: (1 John, 2:15-17)

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; for all that is in the world – the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride of riches – comes not from the Father but from the world. And the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God will live forever.”

Artistic Process

First I laid out the location for the three flowers using a medium blue base. I did not focus on the precise shape of a flower, as those details take away from the freeing element in artistic process. Next, I used a darker blue from the same blue-toned family to add variation. This was done using free, quick strokes from a medium-sized paintbrush. I made sure to leave the lighter, base blue color visible around the edges to form the illusion of petals. I made sure not to apply the darker blue in a uniform way. God’s natural world is not uniform. In real flowers, the positions of the petals and the direction of lights, as well as things like other leaves that might obscure the light, create a varying shade within each individual flower petal.  Instead of getting too caught up in where the darker blue “should” go, it is important to remember that you can always paint over it.

*Next, I will be adding more depth to my flowers…. The process continues!