Wednesday, June 1, 2016

A Word of Art


I'm feeling unexpectedly brazen and ambitiously artsy for a few minutes.

I've got an afternoon stretching ahead of me that's completely devoid of plans so I pull out the art supplies I brought home from my trip to Italy last summer. 

I've looked at them since then, shuffled through them, but haven’t actually used them. 

Usually I put them back in the drawer.

But today before this creative mood dissipates into thin air, I spread everything out on the table and pull up a chair.

I see the postcard art instructor Jeanne Oliver gave us in Italy and suddenly notice the lovely figure of a girl she painted. 

I wonder if I could try to copy it?




In Italy my attempts at drawing during the art classes fell a little flat. 

We were encouraged to let our creativity roam free but when I looked at the piles of images and stickers and paints in front of me, I didn't have any ideas. 

I'd sit at the table studying my supplies and when the instructor would tell us to begin creating, my mind went blank. 

Except for that harping, tyrant-voice inside my head telling me in that disdainful tone I always hear that I didn't know how to draw, I didn't know what to do, so wouldn't I look idiotic trying to create something? 

I'd look around the room at everyone busily creating a work of art.

That's when I'd get up to take a photo from the front of the room, hoping to be inspired as I walked by the other artists. 




But now I have an assortment of brushes, paints and some art crayons laying in front of me. 

I pencil in the curves of the girl's figure but draw her lips too far down from the top of the page so I erase and start again. I color with the charcoal crayon and dribble water over it.

I flip through the notebook of word stickers in typewriter font. 

Words catch my eye, like happiness and heartfelt. Destination and dreamer. Beautiful and beyond

A lexicon of inventive possibilities.

I start to think of dozens of phrases and sentences I’d like to make with those word stickers and I feel a little flutter of excitement.  



What if we listened to the urge to create when we feel the least inspired and ready, ignoring the voice in our heads that tells us not to even bother? 

What if we picked up our pen or our paintbrush or opened our laptop and met the blank page or canvas or screen with a colorful piece of ourselves? 

What if we played that musical instrument or sang that new song? What if we danced or spoke poetry or sewed fabric?

What if we decided that doing what makes our souls sing from deep within our God-created cores is just as important as tending to the needs of the house or family or friends?
And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us;
Yes, establish the work of our hands. - Psalm 90:17 (NKJV)



Maybe this was my kind of art. Art with word stickers. Perhaps it's an artful cousin of sorts to writing?

Then I started thinking it might be fun to make a few bookmarks for myself with these stickers and art crayons. 

You see, I have a penchant for bookmarks.

I kind of like them to match the book I’m reading. I like the colors of the cover and my bookmark to coordinate. 

If they don't, it’s jarring to my eyes if they clash.



{Weird, I know. But maybe it's proof I have some sort of artsy idiosyncrasy?} 

Everywhere I go, I bring home a bookmark as a souvenir. I have a drawer full of them. 

So maybe that's my new little creative project. 

{Because after all, who can have too many bookmarks?} 

Especially when they're words of art.



I'm joining my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart. Click the image for some encouraging posts from my blogger friends.



35 comments:

  1. I LOVED this Valerie! Every part of it. It spoke to my heart in so many ways. I have that voice in my head too telling me I'm not a lot of things and artist is right there at the top. I especially like this question you posed: "What if we decided that doing what makes our souls sing from deep within our God-created cores is just as important as tending to the needs of the house or family or friends?" That's one to work on. Thanks for your artful words today. They are art!

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    1. Hi Debby,
      That voice is such a harsh critic, isn't it? I wish I always had the energy to tune it out! :) Thank you so much for your kind words and I'm hoping we both do things we never imagined!

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  2. Valerie!
    I so enjoyed reading this.
    An art class in Italy? Sounds like such a treat. I'm like you. I used to paint pictures on big pieces of wood in college. Landscapes. I loved it. The bigger the canvas the better. I felt trapped on a small surface. As i left college and moved through life that part of me fell away. I know my husband has encouraged me so many times to do it again and I wish I could relive and re nurture that part of me.
    Maybe we can.
    Your book mark? beautiful. My kind of art. Fusion of words and art!
    I think you would really enjoy this adult woman story book -
    It's called Today, Tomorrow, and Every Day. Thoughts on Living a Brace and Real and Gorgeous Life. by M.H. Clarke.
    I think you would enjoy it :) It reminds me of you.

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    1. Hi Somer!
      I can't wait to check out the book you mentioned! And I thought I'd start small with a bookmark - -there's not much room for the art on such a small piece of paper! :) I wish we did take more time and be as artful as we felt as a child or student. Somehow we didn't tune into all the reasons we shouldn't . . . and I think it would be nice to get back to that state of mind, wouldn't it? So glad to hear from you! xo

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  3. I love this post so much! Your writing is lovely. I felt like I was right there with you as you experienced your Italian art class - which by the way, the very idea of an Italian art class makes my gypsy traveling heart sing! Your bookmark is beautiful and is without a doubt a piece of artwork!

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    1. Hi Kylie,
      Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such kind words! It was a wonderful experience and the memories are a treasure!

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  4. I love your art work, Valerie! Bravo for you to just do it and even share it here. I know that "harping, tyrant-voice" only too well, and I have given into it far too often. This line is really giving me food for thought - "What if we decided that doing what makes our souls sing from deep within our God-created cores is just as important as tending to the needs of the house or family or friends?" Thank you! Blessings and hugs to you!

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    1. Hi Trudy,
      I did hesitate sharing it here, but it wasn't much of a post without the little card! :) Thanks for cheering me on! xo

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  5. Sheepishly I admit it took me a few minutes before I realized your play on words in the title... LOVE! See you are an artist! LOL! And I nod my head because I'm far too familiar with that shameful voice that steals my joy in creating too... But as opposed to all the negative and scary "what ifs" that I often pose, your list is far more refreshing and inspiring and I'm excited to see where these artful questions lead us. More bookmarks please!! ♥

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    1. That is funny about my title -- it did read a little awkwardly to me, but I went with it! :) Maybe it doesn't matter if anyone else thinks what we're working on is so amazing, but that it connects us with our creator is what's so much more important. I'm missing your post this week but I know a holiday weekend is hard to dedicate yourself to working on a post when fireworks or barbecues call our names!

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  6. I like the journey you took me as you went through your creative spell and what came of it. For me I am not much of an artist (lol I lack dimension) with colors and paints and things but I think I could be an artist with my words, a artist who encourages and challenges. You got me thinking ; ) I like this post. visiting from coffee for your heart #74

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    1. Hi Kristina,
      Love it -- creative spell -- a perfect name for my brief artistic interlude! :) Thank you so much for reading and stopping by!

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  7. Just beautiful, Valerie. The art, the photos, and you. I love your heart for creativity and your heart to inspire us to move beyond the "what-if" blockage and just be moved by the Spirit. Love it!

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    1. Tiffany,
      Thank you for your always encouraging, uplifting and beautiful words here! xo

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  8. Hi Valerie, I also love your artwork! But I identify with your opening sentence so much: "I'm feeling unexpectedly brazen and ambitiously artsy for a few minutes." It fits so well with the questions you ask us later on, but it's so often true that we do feel "brazen" to express ourselves creatively! I'm so thankful that you listened to your heart, and gave back a sweet gift to God, and to all of us! --Blessings and Hugs to you!

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    1. Bettie,
      Ha! I'm glad you liked the first sentence -- because truly I RARELY feel artsy! :) So glad you could relate!

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  9. oh yeah ... we can just see your creative juices begin to flow. words and art melded together as one. and bookmarks of all things beginning to come to life!

    too beautiful.

    i leave here inspired, as ever, Valerie.

    and dare i ask for a bookmark of my very own?

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    1. Linda,
      I fear you are just being kind about wanting a bookmark but I shall happily indulge my creative urges again and see what emerges! :)

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  10. I love it! You're right, there are so many ways to be creative! We are all unique and this is a reminder not to be so critical of ourselves.

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    1. Yes, I think there are more ways to create than we think . . . we just have to get creative - -ha!

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  11. I love bookmarks too! I don't have a drawerful, but there are plenty around here. ;) I think for me, it is like having a little piece of portable art? Does that make sense?

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    1. Sarah,
      Yes I think that's exactly what they are -- portable works of art -- well said! :)

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  12. I think I feel brazen everyday of my life when I create. And I'd like to think that God has everything to do with that. Especially him giving me the talent to do it. I loved this Valerie. You know I love all of your post. And loving bookmarks are not weird.. I still love bookmarks. I'll probably always will :).

    Kia / KTS
    www.houseofkts.com

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    1. Kia,
      So glad you love bookmarks too! Even if all books went digital, I'd still have bookmarks . . . :) And you are creative in a thousand ways -- all of it beautiful! xo

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  13. I feel like we were all made to create in some way. Your bookmarks look great!
    I get into funks where I don't want to read, write, or do anything creative...but if I go ahead and do it anyways I'm always glad that I did.

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    1. Alecia,
      Me too! I have to force myself to set aside time because usually I want to throw away whatever I've made but I'm trying to look at it a little differently . . . and with a lot of grace! :)

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  14. Wow...I just want to sit with you in your place for an afternoon and soak in all the creative pieces you have. I don't think you would like my current bookmark in my latest read (The Illegal by Lawrence Hill). It is the receipt from the library check-out! But I have always wanted to make bookmarks but wondered if I need a laminating machine? Another reason why I would love to just sit with you and watch you create.

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    1. Lynn,
      You have given me a huge laugh -- your library receipt as a bookmark -- I LOVE it!! :) Perhaps we would be a good team because I've never thought of a laminating machine -- but we would need one! Otherwise, readers would get coffee stains on our bookmarks! Thanks for these kind and encouraging words tonight!

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  15. Hi Valerie! This is so fun to read- I LOVE your art - It is great! and wish I could have one of those book marks too!! You could sell them!! :) I would feel the same way your did on your trip- something about having others around makes it hard for me to make art- I don't know why- maybe the voices seem louder and the risk feels greater! I love that Bible verse too- It comforts me that He will do the work establishing the work and I can trust him to do it! So glad to finally be getting caught up from our time away- Always love visiting you here! with much love

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    1. Hi Susie,
      Your kind words are so appreciated! Isn't that verse lovely? I came across it in a book recently and it grabbed my attention. Your trip photos looked like so much fun -- I'm glad you were able to get away and get refreshed but I'm glad you are back! xo

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  16. Amazing post, truly worth to read it, I love it, thank you for sharing!!!

    xxx

    www.bridesonamission.com

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  17. This is beautiful, Valerie - you painted so lovely! A few things: the label notebook is cool! I need to paint again, it helps me de-stress! Funny about the bookmarks, when I'd go anywhere I would get those and coffee mugs. I guess we all have our things huh? Thanks for sharing ~ be blessed this week, friend!

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    1. Hi Meg,
      I love coffee mugs too, but the bookmarks are easier to bring back in a suitcase and a lot easier to store at home, too! :)

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