Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Final Curtain

Well, here we are children...the final hour has come.
I can't even begin to express my joy without giving honor to my God who gave me every ounce of energy to create this piece. Thank you Jesus!!! It was only by His grace that I completed this work.The paint in drying as I write...

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU ACK!!!! I could not have had a better Artprize venue.The freedom and support I received from the owners allowed me to create this piece with comfort and ease. This competition is so overwhelming and ACK made this inaugural Artprize experience priceless!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I have been studying the discipline of 'Simplicity' in a phenomenal book call The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook (Calhoun).There is a section of each topic called Reflection Questions and one of them asks, "When have you downsized and what was it like for you?" Before I moved into my last apartment I purposely got rid of all my furniture because I knew my next residence would be a house. I didn't want a lot of clutter going into my first home so I downsized my possessions; a decision I am glad to have made. When I first got settled in my house it was a blank canvas; white walls and all! Part of me began to rush and think,"What color do I want here? Where do I want a couch or chair? What do I do with this space?"As I began to actually live in the space, I realized that I had to allow it to shape itself. My downsizing came not in the form of material possessions but of a cluttered mind. I had to sit in my new home and breathe it in, live in each space and let it tell me how it needed to be utilized. Instead of stuffing each corner with an end table or lamp of some sort I just sat...listened...looked...and allowed myself to feel. Removing the notion that I had to have it all figured out was tough at first because that's how our society trains us to be. It says,"You have to know exactly how you're going to do it and when you are going to do it!!!" No I don't!! Simplifying my thought life has allowed me the freedom to rest in the unknown. Easier said than done because my generation is one of instant gratification; we ought to be called Generation Right Now. Do I have a sofa in my living room?No. Do I have brand new appliances in my kitchen?No. Do I have nice home decor? Not at the moment.

I have been here in my home for 3 months, that's hardly enough time to get it all together. And the reality is I will never have it all together, any homeowner knows that. But the simplicity piece comes in when I realize that I have been getting by with what I currently have and have not been in need for one thing. I have been doing more than getting by I have been LIVING and not just surviving.Yes, it will be nice when I accumulate more things to make my home more comfortable but right now in this moment...I am joyful!Downsizing my thoughts has granted me the freedom to focus on what matters most. My energy can be distributed more efficiently and not so sporadically resulting in a better quality of life.
Would I love to sip a latte under the sun of Paris or walk on the shore of the beaches in Brazil? Absolutely.But right now I am happy with the coffee from my Mr Coffee maker and the birds in my backyard. And that same sun that shines in Paris is shining on me right now.
The practice of simplicity has helped tremendously with my Artprize project. Initially I thought I was going to need all this money for supplies and marketing materials. I began to worry that I wasn't going to be able to pull it off. I remembered what Jesus spoke of in Matthew 6 and realized that God knew what I needed to complete this project and he would provide. He did exactly that!I have kept my costs down by only purchased supplies as I needed them and looking back I didn't even need as much as I thought.Working on the mural has forced me to take one day at a time and be engaged in the moment.God has shown me that through him I am capable of much more than I ever thought.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Baby Steps

I very happy with the progress of the mural so far.It's been a draining process, very rewarding but draining at the same time. After spending 8 hours at Baxter and then still having to put at least 4 hours into the mural has been challenging. At one point I was so tired I think I was slightly delirious! HA! Even though it's been a lot of work this is one of those projects I will look back on and have fond memories of.And yes, I will be done in time! Quit asking me that!

Thanks Vic!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Oh how far I've come...

I read an interesting article in Revue about Artprize yesterday. It talked about all the hype surrounding the competition and how many things have come through Grand Rapids in the past promising to be the 'next big thing'. Until it's all said and done I can't say how this thing will play out but every now and then I have to take a moment to reflect on how far I have come. If I don't I will never realize that I have made real accomplishments; reflection also keeps me in perspective of where I am headed.

I think back on my time painting with Paul and remember how terribly insecure I felt; I had never painted prior to that experience and I was terrified!I'm guilty of envying others who seem to have more opportunities or 'stuff' than I do. But when I look back over my life and even think about the 'now' I realize what an amazing story I have in myself. Everyone around me adds to that story and honestly we are all so messy that to envy someone else's life is naive because I have no idea what their struggles entail.So the next time that spirit of envy tries to rise up in me I remind myself of Psalm 91, 139 and Philippians 3 and 4. The perception of what we think someone else has is a lie; at the end of the day we are all an imperfect beautiful mess!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My God Space

I woke up this morning thinking I was going to divert from my routine and sleep in. I rationalized by telling myself I would be allowing myself the extra rest so i can get through the rest of the week with suffucient energy.Yeah right! I was being lazy!
It's always interesting to me how God takes my plans and totally, I mean totally, flips them. By doing this he produces out of me what he needs.And it's not like his plans are bad, they're actually more than I would have come up with myself and a whole lot more condusive to my life.My mom always says that God is 'smooth mover';if I give him my desire he will return it in better shape than I intended. It always amazes me! As many times as he has done this you would think I would easily give up things to him.You would think. I'm like Israel in that way; show me the cloud and the fire and I still question you. What?!% Come on now.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Artprize voter pre-registration is now!!

Go to Artprize.org to pre-register to vote and save time at the polls.This will help you save time activating your voter status when you arrive downtown to check out all the wonderful displays! Pre-register today!!

Finding comfort in the imperfections

When I let go of my desires God, very smoothly, gives them back to me and even better than I expected.I learned this valuable lesson yesterday. My days are very long during the creation of this mural and my commitment was tested yesterday.I was so very tired and it was only Monday!I don't know about you but when I work on a piece I need all of my essentials; music, a cup of tea or preferably a latte, and food. Along with my supplies these items accompany me on whatever I am creating.All of these items combined create the perfect environment. Yesterday, I forgot my thermos so no tea, my MP3 player died so no music and I didn't eat before I began painting so no food. No word can describe what happens the moment I realized I had none of these things.And then enters the shoulder pain. Because I am 5'3" and the mural is about 8 feet tall there is a lot of reaching involved. Yes, there is a ladder available to me but for some reason when I'm in the zone I just keep going without any reference to the tools available to me.Mmm, I'll have to work on that.Even though I didn't have my usual "tools" I kept going.It bothered me briefly but the show must go on right? Right.What a lovely show it is!
The mural has taken a life of its own. What began as one idea in my head has evolved into something totally different.Yesterday, while painting I discovered this sense of comfort in the imperfections of the painting.A little spilled paint here, a uneven line there; as much as a perfectionist as I am these things didn't bother me. Perhaps the imperfections are a part of what makes the piece complete.If there were no blemishes that indicates it definitely wasn't created by human hands indeed!Sometimes my lines are smooth and sometimes they're crooked; sometimes I get the color right and, like yesterday, my mixing is off. Seeing beyond the imperfections is being able to capture the essence of a thing...or person.Then to appreciate the value of something or someone despite the imperfections is that part of me where God dwells.

Monday, September 14, 2009

FYI Still on sabbatical...

Just a reminder that I am still on a sabbatical from Facebook and other social networking sites until after Artprize.(It's been extremely helpful.I can blog and post to my Facebook page without actually logging in.Genius!!)I see I have recieved messages from several of you, please don't take offense to my silence. However I can be reached at my regular email address which is salon477@hotmail.com...or at ACK from 4-8 every evening until next Wednesday...or here's a thought if you have my number dial it! I know we have created a culture of false identities on line and non-verbal communication. I'm victim to it so I pass judgment on no one. But I'm working on getting back to the personal touch. It shouldn't be all business all the time, we should begin by being personal.

Coming Along

The mural is coming along quite well. I often have to remind myself to take one day at a time which turns into one moment at a time. The feedback I have received even in its uncompleted state is always reassuring. I have my headphones on while I am painting and sometimes feel I should take them off so people can actually talk to me but at the same time my music totally puts me in a zone and I can paint for hours.Therefore the public interaction part will have to come when it is all over and done.
Avenue for the Arts was pretty nice this past weekend. I took a break from painting and walked past the vendors. Lots of new faces and new art, that was great to see. I was totally in my element.Even though I was covered in paint (I had paint in my ear for the longest before anyone told me) I was totally in my element walking down Division among the artists.Yeah, it was great!

Perception vs Reality

I have been victim to the game of comparison; comparing myself to others who appear to have 'it' together. Whatever 'it' actually is I have no idea. But we all do it, especially women. We look at another and envy what we think they have or what life we think they live. But in reality we are all messy. I had the priviledge of being at a retreat this past weekend where we repeated the phrase, "Seeing beyond the imperfections". As we listenened to each others stories we were brought to a place of vulnerability and able to see each other for what we really were; beautifully messy! It was a very comforting and scary place to be but in the end vulnerability brings freedom.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Simple Life

The simplicity mentality for me is more of letting go of the accumulation of accomplishments than material possessions. The notion that who I am is wrapped up in what I have and will accomplish has been an ideology that I bought into the last few years. Where did that come from and who said that was important? And even more so I placed what was deemed an 'accomplishment' in the hands of others; not according to my standards and definitely not God's. It plagued me because it put me in the rat race of becoming someone through deeds only and smack dab in the battle of comparison. Quite an ugly place to be. My standard of measurement was according the world and not my God.
Simplicity cultivates the art of letting go. It aims at loosening inordinate attachment to owning and having. Simplicity brings freedom and with it generosity (Spiritual Disciplines Handbook). To uncomplicate and untangle my life an focus on what really matters is one of heart's desires.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The daily grind

We plan things out in our minds but really have no idea how they will play out until we get in the actual situation. Before beginning the mural I glamorized the idea of being able to paint everyday after work. Now, don't get me wrong I'm totally in my element when I'm at ACK working on the mural. But the reality of the discipline of it all hit me this morning. I can't afford to take a break or slow down right now. For me, this is the season for a rigorous grind and my mind is getting wrapped around that. I'm such a relaxed person in general that my 'grind mode' may take on a different appearance to others. The important thing is not the notoriety of others that I'm working hard but the glory that God receives through my labor. Am I being smart with my time? Is my lifestyle a reflection of good stewardship? Whether or not someone else thinks I'm working hard enough is irrelevant, 'What does God say'is the question.


It's the little things that matter the most; I woke up this morning with a new perspective on what really matters. I look around me and inside me and I am surrounded by the idea and belief that what I accumulate determines my quality of life; your 'stuff' is your wealth and your lifestyle is your value. What a crock! Anyone who has experienced a major loss, sacrifice or accomplishment knows that it's not the giant leaps that make a difference it's the small consistent steps that occur in everyday life that advance us the most. The tortoise beat the hare remember? As I sit back and survey the new responsibilities in my life I am comforted by the transformative work the Holy Spirit is doing in my life. Change is never easy but always necessary.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mixing Paint

Yesterday I began painting my mural for Artprize at All City Kicks (ACK); a pleasant cocktail of emotions filled me that day. Anxiety, excitement, peace comfort, etc...all of these I felt as I began what will be my first solo project of this size. I came at it with one grand idea that would impress even the most naive art critics, however, when I got in the store and actually got my hands on the piece i quickly realized that my first idea would not be suitable for the space. So, on to idea number 2. Lots of erasing, funny looks and pauses followed the attempt at idea #2. I wasn't comfortable with the direction it was going in so I decided to step away and let the mural create itself. It was in this moment where that familiar feeling of peace and confidence arose; I was an artist again.
I thought it would be different painting publicly as opposed to in my studio. Once I put my headphones on and got to work it is as if no one is there but me. Yesterday I must have drawn for 7 hours straight without taking a break to even eat. By no means am I boasting but it's just an observation of how consumed I get with my work. The hours casually pass by, I glance at the time and keep working. It feels as natural as breathing.
I'm so grateful to know my calling and not be wandering about in life. There is an element of sacrifice and boldness when following your call; courage too.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Social Network Sabbatical

At the end of the day I will begin a 30 day hiatus from all social networking sites and text messaging until after Artprize. I will continue to blog and post so you can stay in the loop on what's going on with Artprize things. I will post my painting schedule and any Artprize related event so you can come check out the mural as I go along. However I will not be logging in to any social network site to check my page. So if you message me on Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, etc...not gonna get it!Therefore please use other means of communication to contact me if need be. Here are a few ideas...pick up a phone, dial my number and lets chat. Stop by ACK and see how the mural is coming along.Oh, here's a new one...Let's get together and have a real live conversation! What a brilliant idea! You get my point...I'm getting back to real life and out of this virtual "unreality". SEE YA!!!!

Beginning again

God has a set time of favor and breakthrough for everyone. As much as I try to plan and organize my life, God has a predetermined time of outcomes.
As I continue through the production of the mural this truth has become much more relevant. I attempted to mount my wood panels on the wall last week at ACK but left extremely discouraged because we were not able to get them up. I had it all laid out how I thought it would go and when it didn't happened as planned it felt like a rain cloud was hovering over my head. However, after a little more time and preparation I am back at it this afternoon with more help and resources. One of my co-workers at Baxter is going to assist in mounting the boards on the wall this afternoon. He is our facility manager and knows all about this kind of thing; tools and screws and whatnot. I have so much peace about it right now because the attempt was rushed and the second attempt was a bit more calculated. Taking a step back and assessing the situation resulted in actually being able to complete the task. There is a lot to be said about completion; to go after something without determining whether or not you can finish is quite naive and a little arrogant. I don't have this whole thing figured out. All I know is that God has given me a gift and it is my responsibility to refine that gift and use it as a tool to reach others. I look forward to getting my hands dirty in the paint, working long hours on the mural and watching it all come to life. It's not about the "prize" or the votes, it's about the "art"; I think I've distorted that lately. There will be a thousand messages communicated through each artists piece during this competition. What will mine say? I have come back to myself now and what matters most.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Like a sliver of wood caught under the skin; it's interesting how small things can create an immense amount of discomfort. I have had a cold/sinus infection all week and it forced me to slow down. You know how you plan things out and think you know how things will go? Then comes along a physical ailment that brings everything to a screeching halt. The same thing can happen with people and relationships. So often I try to do things my way; I think I'm I'm smart enough to handle things myself. But the real battle is between my will and the will of God.
Last night I went to Revolution's mid week service and their topic of discussion was 'The Keys to Communication'. It was a refreshing dialogue that reminded me to be aware of not only the words I choose to say but the manner in which I say them. After leaving the service, I went home with an extraordinary sense of peace. Not that I understand the ways of God all the time but I am reassured in his divinity. It doesn't matter what I think I should have or where I feel I should be; the Word says He knows what we need even before we ask him. But my words have power and I have to intentionally choose them wisely. I'm not in the best of moods right now but I know that God is working on some things in me that need changing and I'm grateful for that. Even in this melancholy mood I will still praise Him.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Like mother like daugther

The apple doesn't fall far fromt he tree! Just when I think I am my own woman my boss captures this shot of my mother and I at Schulers:) Believe it or not this is our version of quality time; we are totally having a conversation with each other while looking at the computers!

Love in action

It seems that love really is an action. This morning I have learned that my greatest efforts are no comparison to the trans formative work of God in my life.Exhausting myself to achieve perfection is futile; there is no such thing in this earth nor is there need for it. Christ's perfection was shown through his obedience to his father and will always be the perfect model. I now understand what Paul spoke of in Philippians 3 when he said, "Not that I have already obtained this or have already been made perfect...but I press on..". Spiritual growth is like taking baby steps through the mud.It's a good thing I got my boots on.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A challenge overcome

I am looking forward to mounting my canvas tomorrow at ACK! I have been given the green light to drill in the wall, I'm so happy about that! Didn't know how that one would go over, didn't think they would be up for it but I was wrong.They are totally going to let me ad help me mount it as well. Good friends are priceless!
Oh man, this Artprize process has been very interesting this far. It's very real but all so surreal at the same time.And let's not forget ArtPeers...so many great opportunities all at once! It's all so strange, exciting and God-given. I never know what's going to happen one day to the next but I definitely am beginning to understand the benevolence and divinity of God.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Clipse at All City Kicks

What a perfect ending to a great day; quiet time with the Lord this morning, great day at Baxter, good times with friends and great shots of the Clipse at All City Kicks!

Even though I am right in the middle of creating my Artprize piece there are other projects always on the table. This one was particularly fun!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Artprize Voting

Anyone 16 years of age or older who registers in person at the
ArtPrize event can vote. You cannot vote without registering at the event. There will be no charge for voter registration.

How to register
* Attendees will be required to present a valid government issued ID in person at a registration station
* ID can be drivers license, other state ID or passport
* Pre-register on artprize.org (coming Sept 14) and save time activating your voter status at the event
* There will be voter registration stations throughout the city September 23-October 7

* Week 1 Voting - All Artists Voting begins 6:00pm, September 23, 2009
* You can vote on more than one work
* You cannot vote more than once for the same work
* Live results can be viewed online
* Week 1 voting ends 11:59pm, September 30
* Top 10 finalists will be announced evening, October 1

Week 2 Voting - Top 10, ONE vote
* Voting begins after announcement of the Top 10, October 1
* You have only ONE vote during Week 2
* You may only vote among the Top 10
* You may change your vote until voting ends
* Results are concealed during Week 2
* Week 2 voting ends 11:59pm, October 7
* Winners will be announced at a gala event October 8

How to vote
Voting is entirely electronic (Instructions coming soon)
* Vote online at artprize.org
* Vote by text message (SMS) from your mobile phone
* Vote by iPhone app
* Vote by mobile browser

Monday, August 17, 2009

A challenge presents itself

First of all, I'm tired as all get out. I come home to mushrooms the size of softballs sprouting all about my front yard! Eeeww! Do I dare handle these things? Heck no! I scooped them up with a broom and dustpan and tossed them. Oh they gave me the willies! The plight of the new homeowner...why the heck they grow so fast is what I want to know?!

This time of day is tough for me because my body wants to rest but my mind is too busy to let it. Good news is that my panels in the garage survived the rain and are still standing.My challenge is figuring out how to mount them in ACK.MMmmm...Will J.Stew (venue owner) let me drill holes in his lovely brick wall to hang my panels? That's a long shot. However this is part of the process that makes it creative.I have to figure out a way to mount my very large boards without damaging anything and in a way they won't fall off the wall! I'm glad to be having this problem, it could be worse.Some artists didn't even get a venue; I had 4 to choose from.Complaining will not be a part of this.Just have to do some out of the box thinking.

Ouch...my shoulder hurts...when we win this thing I'm hiring a masseuse...what do you think Scottie?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Temporary studio space...

I recently purchased my first home (yay!) and have real studio space for the first time. However, until I finish pulling up the carpet in my basement and paint the floor I will be painting in the garage. Despite the company a few spiders and cobwebs it's alright! This took me back to my time painting with Paul Collins, who also paints in his garage during warmer months.I felt the familiar spirit of connecting with the canvas and envisioning the images before I can actually see them.It was a great moment to prime the boards in my own studio space! True freedom indeed!

Great to have help! Thanks Cal, you stir primer like no other! You can see more of this guy at Pacinotv.com...master film maker in training!

I'm so not used to being on this side of the camera.Deer in headlights seriously!

I need my stinkin' badge!!

I was so excited to see this! I don't know why I didn't feel like it was official until I saw this stinkin' badge!
I figured the badge could use a little tweaking and it's a good way to promote my venue as well myself. For those who are like 'What's ACK?', first of all shame on you, but I will not judge u for not knowing:) All City Kicks (ACK) is the venue where my mural will be displayed; located at 139 S.Division (corner of Division and Cherry).

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Beginning

I can hardly call the start of my Artprize project the beginning of my artistic work;my journey as an artist began at my conception, even before that I think.The seeds of my parents were planted in me long before I was even born; my destiny was determined before my first step. Which is fine with me because the question of "what do I want to be when I grow up?" was never a part of my adolescent years. I always knew I was an artist.
This is a dreary day to start my Artprize project. However, I have never looked at the rain as a negative characteristic of nature; we all know it's necessary for growth and renewal. Renewal is definitely an appropriate word for the creative process of this particular work. After an impressive night's sleep (a full 12 hours!) I'm ready to begin the mural. I'll begin by giving myself the freedom of doing whatever the hell I want to do without limitations! No rules or requirements, no hesitations or worries, just expression at it's best.A few sketches...lunch with my brother, sister and nephew...a trip to Home Depot or Lowes to price supplies...quiet time with God...dinner with Granny..and my day is pretty much summed up! A great "beginning" in my book.