painting

Art Therapy and Water Colors

Art Therapy and Water ColorsI’ve always been an artist when it comes to the poetry and musical realm of art, and I’ve enjoyed it immensely. I love that I can write out the things that are going on in my head and then sing them to a tune. That ability has been very helpful to me since I was a child, as it’s been one of the ways I work through and process the things that happen to me and the things going on around me.

But sometimes, I don’t have any words. Sometimes, I am thinking and feeling things that I can’t write out, because I haven’t quite identified what those thoughts and feelings are yet. Do you know what I mean? It’s those times when you know you’ve got a lot in there but you don’t know what to say about it so you feel stuck; those times prove especially difficult for me, as I’m used to defaulting to words.

My whole life, I’ve been surrounded by friends who paint and draw, and I deeply admire their craft and what they make. However, I’ve always been quite intimidated by this realm of art for myself. I’m very much like Abe (or really, he’s very much like me) when it comes to giving up easily on skills that don’t come as naturally as others. There’ve been a handful of times when I’ve sat down to draw or paint something, and it actually came out half decent and I’d feel really good. But 99% of the time, I put way too much pressure on myself to be really good at something I have no technical skill or ability to do, and it ends up looking like crap…. as it should, because I don’t know what I’m doing.

Several months back, I caught a glimpse of some abstract water coloring either on Instagram or Pinterest, probably both. I happened to be really overwhelmed that day, so I decided to pull out my water color palette and paper and paint how I felt. Abe sat down with me and did his own thing, which was wild and free; I love when kids paint. But, I told myself as I started that this wasn’t for anyone or anything, really. It was just to try and get out what I was feeling through a different medium than I was used to, in hopes that I’d be able to come to terms with what I was feeling. The painting above is what happened. The feeling that I had when I was finished was almost euphoric; I felt calm, relieved and emptied. I wanted to keep going, but Abe’s attention for painting isn’t very long and he was over it. I showed Daniel when he got home from work, and was able to talk about why I was overwhelmed earlier that day.

Since then, I’ve been painting with water colors as an art therapy for myself. In conjunction with writing and prayer, it’s quite useful and satisfying.

Art Therapy and Water ColorsThis was a piece I did one late night, when Daniel was gone for an event. I felt really upset and dark, but I couldn’t identify why, so I painted this. While I was painting, I talked to myself about being scared of someone breaking into our house and Daniel getting hurt on the job. After I was done, I felt so relieved and was able to sleep.

Art Therapy and WatercolorsThere’s this image I get in my head when I think about the human experience as it relates to depravity and the light of the gospel. It’s really hard for me to describe, so I decided to paint it. The red shape is the soul, and it’s got death roots sprouting out of it, as I believe that’s where we all start out. But then the green light is birthed and sprouts out from the bottom and begins to overtake all of the death until eventually it’s blotted out and we are free.

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Art Therapy And Water ColorsThese are two of my favorites, as they feel bright and comforting to me. The second one I call “The Dance.”

Art Therapy and Water ColorsI wanted to paint pieces for Abe and Emery, and I started with Emery’s. I didn’t know what I was going to do when I started it, but it just kinda came out. We had a little scare at 24 weeks, when I thought I was in super pre-term labor with him. At that point, we weren’t 100% sure what we were going to name him. Right before we went to the hospital, my friend Rachel prayed for me and asked me for his name, so I just said Emery. When she was done, I looked up the meaning of the name, and of course was overwhelmed with emotion when I saw that Emery means “brave”.

Abram is a biblical name, and was Abraham’s first name before God changed it. God promised Abraham that his lineage would be as many as the stars. Although we didn’t name Abram his name because we want him to have a GIGANTIC family, our hope is that the love in his heart for God and others will grow as big as the universe.

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Art Therapy and Water ColorsSo the above proves that I’m way better at abstract paintings than I am objects, haha. But that’s ok- I don’t have to expect myself to be good at something I’ve never done. This art medium has become something I really enjoy, and I want to get better, even if that means I have to work harder at it.

Jessica Ferreira painting

Severing Strings

I am bubbling with joy right now because today will be the first time I feature a guest writer/past-blogger/artist. My best friend, Jessica Ferreira, is an incredible human being with a heart that outweighs gold. We met in 6th grade, when she was heavily into her Spice Girl phase and I was only about some Hanson. She moved back to Venezuela for 7th grade, and I thought I’d never see her again. One day after school in 8th grade, I saw her standing by a wall and had to go and talk to her! The rest is history. Our friendship has cultivated and grown since then, with hilarious highs and barren lows. We get through. She is a fighter, in every sense of the word, and is a walking bottle of creativity. Today she will be sharing with us a work of art that comes from the deepest depths of her soul. Vulnerability has not always been her strong suit, but her journey to transparency is in full swing and one can only be bettered by everything she has to give.

Megan and I have been good friends for a very long time. And by a very long time I mean long enough for us to know that when a Saturday has clear blue skies and is slightly breezy, we both text each other saying, “It’s a BK Kinda Day.”

Yes, Burger King. Don’t judge.

When she asked me to guest blog for her, I was very honored, but skeptical at what I would talk about since “writer” is not the first thing I describe myself as. But alas, it is something I like to do.

When she asked me to write something for her, I got the notion from God to talk about a painting I did a little less than a year ago. The notion was more like a nudge to finally present this piece to others, even though it brings up a lot of roughness in my life.

I don’t have a name for this painting. Yet.

I don’t even know where to begin explaining it really.

However, I can tell you I painted it because I had to release what was going on inside of me. And for me, painting is the only way I know how to do that.

The months before this painting was made had brought about a relationship I had no idea would change my life. I had invested all of me into a person whom I had, at first, genuinely befriended and loved in Christ. As the time passed, however, my needs, along with theirs, became tangled in long strings of attachment; emotionally, physically, mentally, even spiritually. Those strings became thicker and harder to sever, becoming chords that bungeed as we so desperately tried to run the opposite direction. Because of those needs, we saw in each other a glimpse of mutual and unconditional love; a love that stemmed from Godly pursuit, but became twisted enough to make us believe it was all we had.

Satan is very good at doing that.

When things began to unravel (thank God) because of conviction, my life felt like the perpetual walls were caving in. In retrospect, they were actually scales falling off of my eyes.

I saw the strings that we all naturally possess. Strings that, at their proper use, are to be united for healthy relationships, with guidance from the Holy Spirit. But my strings (my needs) became connected through my selfish gain, causing not only hurt and doubt for me, but also rapture and pain in a once beautiful, unfortunately short-lived, friendship.

I wanted love and to be loved, and so I gave my needs away, letting the strings wrap around someone who was never intended to hold on so tightly.

When I started the painting, I had a very difficult time. I had to revive the pain so that it could reach the surface enough to be purged out. After a while, and after staring at it for longer than I care to admit, the lines began to flow, the colors began to emerge, and the feeling of release was finally peeking it’s way through.

The white lines around the figures are our natural, God given needs to reach out and be loved and love fervently. The colorful chords are the ones that had been attached, intense in color and strength but damaging in all ways. However, by the immeasurable Grace of God and the Cross, he severed them.

You may be dealing with issues similar to mine. Problems that are aroused by the need we all have to feel wanted and needed, but going about them the wrong way. We may have the idea that if we love someone enough, and they love us in return, they are capable of fixing us, whatever we may need fixing in our lives.

Listen friends, we are but humans, incapable of rescuing each other from the depths of turmoil. We fail at that because we are fallen. We must continually seek Jesus in order to even border the line of servant-hood and love He walked along so passionately. And Jesus did it because he knew what the Father wanted: dependance on Him. Not dependance on his disciples who loved him, not the crowds who sought him out; not even the idea of just, for one moment, taking in what this world had to offer.

He attached himself to the only source that had the power to revive him in the darkest of times, even if those times were lonely.

It doesn’t matter who or what you love, but a matter of the heart. It is not whether you are in need of something or feel you are attracted to someone, in the right binds of marriage or if are a loving father, mother, sister, son or  daughter. It is where you put them in your heart that you must be aware of.

So my encouragement is this: Be honest with yourselves. It leads to truth. Be honest with where you put people in your life. When you do that, and you realize that there may be a person that has become a chasm between you and God, just hand that to Him, for He alone can handle it. Not you. Not the other person.

I also encourage you to find ways to release these sometimes unspoken emotions. From the talents we have, the times we use to exercise, to even being vulnerable with someone; it can all lead you to a path of awareness.

God knows the ins and outs of your deepest longing. Depend on it. You are worth it.

Current Projects.

Now that my craft room is a place where I enjoy sitting and making stuff, I’ve been working on some new projects. I’ve been branching out of just the hair/wedding pieces and trying to come up with some other goodies. I’ve gotten requests for things that little boys can use, accessories for men, and a bunch of other stuff.

Elephant Painting

This is a painting I’ve been working on for my sister as a house warming gift. She just moved into a new apartment with her best friend Kelsey. Kaitlyn loves elephants, so I figured I would use that as the theme for the package I put together. I thought about just leaving the painting like that, but I would really like to add some words into the silhouette part. Something really encouraging and motivational without being cheesy. Any suggestions?

hairband

Here’s a wedding piece I’ve been working on. Again, it seems finished but I feel like something else needs to be added to it. I really love the dark coin in the middle of the flower. But there’s just something missing.

fabric wipe holder

So here’s something I thought about doing as a way to tap into the baby boy/girl scene. Up-cycling used wipe holders and covering them with fabric. Maybe even adding custom stitching for names or initials.

There’s some other things I’ve been working on like boys/men’s bracelets and up-cycling old t-shirts into tank tops with meaningful designs. What do you think I should do? What are the projects you are working on right now?