I was painting the background for a space picture. This alone is a new thing for me. I’m trying to learn that it is OK to work on a project over the course of time. I’m trying to learn to do things in stages. I don’t have to do the whole thing at once.
I’m not sure where I got the idea that I had to finish a painting all at once. I have wirework projects that I can’t finish all at once. The work is too hard on my hands and wrists to complete it in one day. There are certainly beading projects that are sitting in plastic bags in bins right now, half finished. I may never finish them.
Perhaps part of it is that acrylic paint can’t be worked with once it is dry, and it dries very fast. Beads don’t care. With beads, I can take the whole thing apart and redo it as many times as I want. Paint isn’t forgiving like that.
But I keep reading about image transfer and collage, and I keep thinking it is cool. I’ve got all the materials I need (I think) and I’ve read quite a number of books about it. I still don’t think I know what I am doing, so I haven’t tried. But I’m trying to convince myself that if I don’t try, it is worse than trying and failing. Not using art supplies for fear that I’ll mess them up is worse than using them and not getting what I was aiming for. At least when I use them, I’m learning how to use them, and I’m learning what works and what doesn’t.
All the image transfer and collage techniques are multi-day projects. You have to paint the background, and let it dry a day. Then you paint a layer of clear glue on it. And let it dry a day. Then put something else on. And let it dry a day. You get the idea. Lots of waiting. Lots of days.
Part of my issue is that I want results now. I’m trying to get over that. I’m trying to use these kinds of projects to get over that. I always have “quick” projects to give me that “I made something” buzz, in the meantime.
So, back to the painting. I needed a black background, but I didn’t want to use black. That is too easy. So I used a really dark grey called Paynes Grey, and a really dark purple called Dioxazine Violet (Hue). I squirted some of each on the canvas and swirled them around and together. I really like the color I got. It isn’t traditionally black, but it is plenty dark. I figure space isn’t black, but more purple/grey, if it had to have a color.
In reality, I figure it is the absence of light, and that doesn’t have a color at all.
But then I didn’t like the lines in it. Because I use my fingers to paint, there were large lines in it. No matter how I swished and flicked my fingers, the lines were still there. I don’t want lines, because they will draw attention to themselves. This is a background. Backgrounds are supposed to stay in the back, right? They are the supporting role, not the main character.
So I started “writing”. I have a friend who does “light language”- which is really the gift of tongues. It can be done with the voice or with writing. Her coming out about it has reminded me of the fact that I’ve done this for years. I stopped doing it because it felt silly. I got really self conscious of it and stopped. I never showed anybody what I was doing. I guess there was some shame in it, because I felt like an oddball.
You aren’t weird if there are other people who do the same thing, though.
So I’ve started doing it again, intentionally. I’m letting the Holy Spirit work through me in this new/old way, and it is really freeing. I’m still really aware how unusual it is so I don’t do it all the time. I’m mindful of my audience.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget that a minister told me to stop talking about how God was talking to me, was waking me up at night to give me messages. A minister, telling me to stop talking about God. In church. To church members. Isn’t that the place where people who have those kinds of experiences go? Isn’t that the place where people seek to have those kinds of experiences? Isn’t that the place where people read about other people in the Bible having those experiences?
I’m glad I chose to leave that church rather than to be silent.
So when I started to write on this painting, I learned something. I didn’t write down or record my experience. I spoke the words out loud and “wrote” them in my light language shorthand. When I write this way, I write left to right, then right to left. I kind of make an S across the page, going back and forth, until I am done.
Here is what I remember of it:
Under the sea, and deep in space, it is very dark. The darkness is vast and silent.
There is potential in darkness.
Babies grow in darkness.
The seed is the same way, swelling, stretching.
And God is there in the darkness.
This reminds me of Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
Which then leads to Psalm 139-12-16
…even the darkness is not dark to You.
The night shines like the day;
darkness and light are alike to You.
13 For it was You who created my inward parts;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You
because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made.
Your works are wonderful,
and I know this very well.
15 My bones were not hidden from You
when I was made in secret,
when I was formed in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw me when I was formless;
all my days were written in Your book and planned
before a single one of them began.
I was afraid of darkness when I started this project, and now I am at peace. I’ve gotten the message that God is there, at work, even if I can’t see it. I’ve gotten the message that God has a plan for my life.
Then this leads me to Jeremiah 29:11-13
11 For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the LORD’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
What an amazing message to come from just painting the background to a piece that I don’t even know what it is going to be.
Thanks be to God.
An apple seed, sprouting.