Thursday, April 23, 2009

You can't spell heart without art - part 1

Warning! This is going to be a long post. As the first "installment" of the series I decided to title "You can't spell heart without art", I chose my favorite pieces. Because they are my favorites, I have put the most thought and heart into them, and thus - I have a lot to say about them.

Because my artwork has always been such a personal thing for me, a few pieces come out a little extra personal. Some of which I plan to never show the world. Ever. Others though, are very personal and still manage to eek out into public somehow. This set of 5 paintings is the latter. They are currently untitled because I'm not quite sure how to sum up all the emotion and love that went into these with just a word or two. Here they are all together.

The paintings are done on the pages of an old storybook, and are attached to old barn wood. The book pages are not necessarily significant, but the barn wood is. I wanted something damaged, beat-up, and dirty. I think it's important for people to know that beauty comes from despair. It's a lesson I have learned, and I'm sure will continue to learn. So, to turn old barn wood covered in mud into a piece of art was a way I felt I could represent that.

Each painting was inspired by one of my favorite verses from the Bible. Verses that mean a lot to me in different ways.

"gaze upon the beauty" is based on Psalm 27:4, which is "One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple."

Quite a bit of my dependence on God was taught to me through my dependence on people that couldn’t handle my dependence. They were not created to fill every need in my life. I know that now, and I continue to learn from those relationships. In the midst of learning those lessons, I often find myself crying out to God just asking for stability, comfort, or strength.

If I could ask the Lord for anything, just one thing, I’m not sure I would know what to pick. This verse says, “One thing I ask of the Lord,” and that astounds me. Not only does the writer choose just one thing to ask of the Lord - who holds all in His hand - but his one request is to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord. Just sitting at the feet of God, in His temple, in His time – gazing upon the beauty before him. With all my brokenness and selfishness, I pray that I will one day grasp that the one thing I need in my life more than stability or strength is to seek Him in His temple.

"sour on wings like eagles" is based on the verse Isaiah 40:31. “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

This verse is one of my favorites for several reasons. I get tired pretty quickly when it comes to most things. Whether it’s my future plans, my job, or my growth in relationships – I get tired of the waiting. I catch myself thinking that I’m stuck and I get so tired of being stuck. Isaiah tells me otherwise. This verse tells me that I am not stuck; I am soaring on wings that the Lord gives me through hope. If I can keep my eyes hoping in the Lord, I will not grow weary, I will not be faint, I will soar on wings like eagles.
"I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."
Ephesians 3:17-19

That verse really hits me. A love that surpasses knowledge. A love that can fill me with the measure of all the fullness of God. A love that is so amazing I have to have the power of all the saints to understand it. And that’s the love that He’s giving away. No effort on my part, no amount of studying, no natural ability will bring me any closer to understanding why God loves me the way He does. But He loves me in such a powerful way. His love is wide. His love is long. It is high, and it is deep.

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."
Jeremiah 29: 11-14

One of the things I find about myself to be a stumbling block is my constant wandering, as I affectionately call it. I am always looking for a better situation, the next step, or the newest accomplishment. I have a hard time being content where I am. I always think that if I could just do this thing, then life would be better.

What I love about this verse, specifically, is the phrase, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you.” I am a wanderer at heart and whatever it is that I’m constantly looking for – all the man-made splendor of society – is rubbish compared to what I truly should be seeking. So, instead of seeking the world with a half-hearted effort, God tells me to seek Him. With all my heart. And there, I will be content.

This painting, "from the fullness of His grace" is based on the verse John 1:16. I have blogged about my love of this verse before - and that is actually what inspired me to do this set of paintings. Here is the link to the post talking about this verse and its significance to me.

Well...that is the first installment of "You can't spell heart without art". Stay tuned for more. I'll give you a few days to read part one, since it's so dadgum long.


The Hagens said...

thanks for sharing that, Steph. such a blessing to see your heart through your art. looking forward to seeing you soon!

Emily H said...

this was perfect for me right now.
As I'm sitting at home thinking about why I feel so depressed and what I'm not getting to do, or who I'm not with.. Dad hands me the computer and tells me to read this blog..
I start reading and almost start crying about how relevant all these verses and your explanations are.
you know how a young girl is at my age..
all emotional and moody and doesn't know why..
well I've been like that a lot lately..
well last night I was watching Grey's Anatomy and a sad part comes on and I start BAWLING my eyes out, and after that I was all shaky and upset.
well thank you for this blog, it was GREAT for me to read and to just know God is ALL I need, and when im feeling sad to just seek him.
I love you so much and can't wait to see you this summer!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure these are my FAVOURITE things you've made (that I've seen)! I love the girl and the meaning behind each piece. :)
- Cuz Laura