Archives for posts with tag: Beginning

ceilingMmmmmmmm. Had a productive day yesterday by getting all the moss off the roof of my shed and clearing out the guttering, which was a job long overdue. Hoping that, combined with the new heater, will help clear away the damp that has started festering in the corner of my shed. Got all the art equipment that had somehow magically found its way into our house back into the shed so I think my husband will now breathe a sigh of “space and tidiness, I can actually see surfaces and the floor” relief. Long suffering he is, bless. So the heater is on and I’m just typing this to give the shed a chance to warm up before continuing with those three small canvases I started last week.

Exciting though is rejoining Staffordshire Enjoy Art group who exhibit three times a year, the first one in Shrugborough Hall starting on 25th March 2016. I was a regional volunteer pre children but since then have exhibited with them on and off. So brilliant to be back with them, and it gives me the much needed kick up the backside to get the work prioritised.
https:/ for those interested.

So, off to the shed. Happy days.

Bag of ideas, text and influences

Bag of ideas, text and influences

After what seems a lifetime I’m back in the shed today and not to clean it!!! The theme most prominent in my thinking at the moment is that of identity. I’ve been listening to the talks on the Birmingham Vineyard website and have found them to concur with ideas for work I’ve been mulling for a while. When completing and handing over the four canvases I felt a need to further explore one of the themes, that of doing life well and what that involves. And, I suppose that which stops us/me.

I wanted to get all my thoughts down I one place and usually I would turn to a sketchbook but some how that process wasn’t quick enough for me to gather everything in a format I could work on immediately. So, looking round for a massive piece of paper I could collage onto I saw this large paper bag and started on that. I think the whole bag will eventually be covered and layered and written over, and as I’ve been doing this, ideas and pictures have been starting to form.

It’s so so fabulous to be back in here and just have the space to sit in His presence and listen to His voice. I think I’ve been listening to my old nemesis fear recently: fear of failing. It just freezes me into inaction. So to sit and listen and to focus on the truth is so liberating.

Mid tidying my shed.

Mid tidying my shed.

It’s the strangest feeling in the world when the project you’ve been working on for months is no longer there.  Is it peculiar to suggest that you go through a kind of grieving? I tend not to tidy or clean the shed all that much during a project so at the end it needs a good sort and sweep. It’s so therapeutic to put items back where they belong, take the rags and wash them through, collect all the little bits of the last project and sweep them away. The room gets worse before it gets better and then all of a sudden it’s there…. a tidy space and everything has gone. I really should have taken a ‘before’ picture so you could truly appreciate how much was done!!!

But don’t you find that, especially with the kids going back to school. For the six weeks, whenever I’ve had the chance to put things away, literally seconds later I find that they’re back out again and appear magically somewhere else and you do a double take sometimes in the awe of how this is indeed possible! Last summer we had the character ‘Hans’ out of Frozen hanging from our kitchen cupboard ‘because he’d been bad’, and then, once he’d been disentangled, he suddenly ended up in the far corner in the lounge!

And then all of a sudden you put the items away…. and they stay away. And even though it’s so ridiculous, you grieve the tidiness because it means that the messy ones are no longer there.

Some of the canvases that need addressing.

Some of the canvases that need addressing.

I sing a lot when I’m tidying and I find it fixes my eyes on Him rather than myself so, as the room becomes more tidy, the grieving eases and it’s just me and Him chatting and hanging out. It was part way through that I decided to hang the canvases I’m currently not happy with on the wall to see if I could see how they could be rectified, and by the time the room was tidy, two of them were in the bin/recycled. The layers of paint were too specific to be painted over and used elsewhere. So I think I have seven left. What to do?

Varnished canvases one, two and four.

Varnished canvases one, two and four.

Spent the afternoon in the shed and varnished canvases one, two and four. Realised that the logo needed work on and made it lighter…. then darker and it seriously didn’t work. Then I made it lighter again and I think it’s nearly there!!! I remember someone saying my whites are always too white and I think this is the case here. Needs toning down a little, but important that light radiates from the Birmingham Vineyard logo. The brilliant thing about varnishing the work is that it suddenly comes to life and the layers underneath come through a little but more.

Been a bit of a chicken with canvas three and ignored it, as you do. Know once I start on that there is a lot of undoing to be done! Many start on that tonight. But the cross is the section I really wanted to work a little more on. I thought that adding the varnish to the scarlet thread would enhance it but it doesn’t at all, in fact it moves it about a little and it loses it’s definition. So by varnishing the pieces and then working into the stitching I think I’ll achieve the effect I’m after. Still wondering if there needs to be a verse alongside the stitching to tie the four canvases together again. I love the verse in 2 Corinthians 12 v 9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.” It’s relevant for those who are seeking God’s face in order to do His will but also for those who are seeking His face for the first time. And it keeps the focus on Him and acknowledges that without Him it’s pretty pointless.

I’ve just had to take a break of seven days from the canvases to get up to date with other work from other jobs I do…. but now it’s back to it.

After the break from working on it, I can’t quite explain why, but I’m a little hesitant to begin. It feels like the beginning of the end because I feel the pieces will be resolved quite quickly and I’ve had such a wonderful time working on it. I suppose it’s my equivalent of watching a child grow in wonder and knowledge and courage and eventually leaving nursery and enter school. They’re ready to move on and take their place somewhere else. I know it’s ‘just a painting’….. but to me it’s so much more and I suppose there is a feeling akin to feeling slightly bereft.

Spent most of the morning listening to worship music and just sitting in His presence, which is such a luxury after a busy week, and the words below are from the Bethel song called ‘It Is Well’ by Kristene DiMarco.

“Through it all my eyes are on You and it is well. So let it go my soul and trust in Him, the waves and wind still know His name.”

Such a reassurance to know that our God, our Father, our Lord and Saviour, the One who commanded the waves and the wind to be still is the same Jesus whom I can come to with my fears and my dreams, my joys and my mountains and sit before Him, still in His presence, and know for certain that His hands hold me and the one I love.

Studio frames ready

The wooden pieces have been put together and the frames are formed and ready to go. They look so insignificant in comparison to the vision, which I suppose is the point really. The raw materials always seem so ordinary, so unassuming. But layer by layer as the stitching, paint, text and image is added, the meaning and the significance and the unexpected begin to shine through. Who would think that pigment and wood and material could eventually symbolise so much, and yet we often think so little of ourselves and focus on our ordinariness. Yet God sees so much more in us and can do so much more through our willingness to walk with Him, talking to Him and searching out what is on His heart each day.

And so that is what I plan to do: to sit before Him with these canvases and ask Him what it is that He wants me to paint. He has given me a glimpse of the first few layers but not much beyond that, which is exciting and a little nerve racking, but it will ensure that I come before Him to see clearly.

Tomorrow we start.