As a part time professional artist/full time homeschool mom, there have been so many evenings when I finally get to my daily painting, that I think... hmm. If only I were putting these hours into my major paintings. While the practice has truly helped my art and improved my ability to finish something I start and be happy with it, maybe it's time to move on. So I'll give myself 28 paintings to think on this.
Will I miss the quiet time? -Or the fact that every painting doesn't have to be a brilliant idea; it can be an experiment. Will I miss the "diary" aspect of it? I can look back at these past two years running through Facebook pictures alone and be able to recall many of the milestones of life by the subject of my paintings, a visual journal. I have paintings from debate tournaments usually completed in the wee hours of the morning which include a tornado and dead armadillos. There are paintings from my daughter's ballet and paintings from family vacations... There are paintings of a flower I noticed or an incredible sunset. They can sometimes come from deep inside as God and I sort through the crazy of this life. Always, they are a thank you.
Sarah Francis Martin has gathered a group of artists, poets, bloggers for a project: The Stone Collective http://liveitoutblog.com/category/the-stone-collective/ based on 1 Samuel 7:12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far the LORD has helped us."
The idea is to recognize God amidst our art; to give thanks, and create to Him. I can remember gathering stones one time with my children's church, and setting them up in the same way as Samuel, as a thank you, as a way to remember what God has done. What is the stone you use to mark what He has done? Painting #700, I noticed it included stones... looking past these rocks to a brilliant reflection on the lake. A perfect reminder. I recalled bookmarking this stone collective project and wanting to be a part of it. As I remember the project, as I am reminded that art is a gift from and to God, as I contemplate the next year of my art life, I am knowing this was more than serendipitous.
My deepest desire is to paint for Jesus, to keep Him the center of it all. But it can be easy to lose focus. It's good to be intentional and it's good to be reminded. To look back at my collection of paintings -my stones and my milestones- and see how very blessed I am... to give thanks... this is it.