Posts tagged ‘God’

“Still” – A Spiritual Journey

About a month and half ago I lost my job where I worked at the same company for about twelve years.  Such is the nature of corporate life, right?  Oddly enough I’m not bitter about it.  After the initial shock, there was a feeling of relief.   My time was long overdue.

Finding the right job, or should I say career, is a daunting task.  It’s sobering to know that in this economy, the average search time to find something permanent is approximately a year.   Would I ever be able to find something that I like?   Would I be able to find something comparable to my salary from my previous position?  What are the next steps?

I shared these thoughts with a coworker the day I was let go, and my coworker said, “Ani, maybe God wants you to be still.”

She was right, however it’s a struggle.   It’s hard to convince your practical side to be still as it’s launching into survival mode.  My severance pay isn’t going to last forever, and it’s possible that I’m going to be job hunting for a long while.

This has not stopped God from speaking through scripture, random Facebook quotes, or even a song on the radio.  The overall theme was the same, “Be still.”

So I am practicing being “still,” by applying my drawing skills.  As many artists will tell you, the creative process can be a very spiritual one and I’ve had times where I received some wonderful insight from God just by making art.

I drew two sketches.  The first one drawn in watercolor crayon on cold pressed paper depicts a woman sitting down cross-legged in silent meditation.  This is funny because I accidentally drew her right foot backwards!  Her hair is straighter  so it looks like it’s standing straight on end.

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A couple of weeks later, I drew a close-up of the face in colored pencil in my sketch book.  In this sketch I drew an afro with a gray streak in the middle.  The afro reminds me of a halo and will probably be a focal point in the final rendering.  The background will be blue, the same color as the previous sketch, which the color of the Holy Spirit. I’ve also heard that on some psychic level a blue aura means wisdom.

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So we’ll see how this all pans out. I’m going to complete the final work in chalk pastels.  Pray that I find some insight into my circumstances as I work through this piece!

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Where is God?

Where is God vs 2

Last Sunday I was in the choir loft minding my own business, standing in prayer with the rest of the choir and congregation.  Shock to no one, my mind wanders off  to parts unknown and I come up with, of all things, the letter “W.” I am intently focused on its shape and begin to flesh it out more in my mind by curving both of its sides outward and up.   I wondered what the “W” stood for?

Immediately I came up with the sentence that began with “W” –  “Where is God?” I was surprised and even embarrassed that the question came to my mind so quickly and  I apologized to God.  How in the world could I doubt His presence?  This still didn’t keep me from pondering over the question, and much to my surprise, the answer was found in the question itself.   The idea burned in my brain long after church and before the  evening set in I put pen to sketchpad.

First, I’m not a letterer by any means as I often find lettering hard to do. I did this freehand without measuring the letters or aligning them properly, so they are not perfect.  I made the “W” look Gothic, thorny, almost witch-like, as if  ready to reach out and grab someone.  Almost all of the letters in black have a bit of an edge.  The “S” in “is” reminds me of a sea serpent.  To me the dark, edgy letters represent trials, storms, and periods of darkness that one goes through that provokes the question “Where is God?”

As stated earlier, the answer to that question can be found within the question itself.  Where is God?  Here.  The word “here” is physically located in the “Where,” and as you can see the lettering is different.  When we are in our midnight hour, we ask where God is during our time of struggle.  Well He’s been here all the time and I may add, silently working out the problems that we’ve been praying about.  Pulling the “W” out of the equation you have your answer – “Here is God.”  My favorite way is to read it from the bottom up, “God is here.”  This whole process has made me believe that I didn’t come up with this question on my own and that clearly God’s hand was in this the whole time.

I used Picasa, the online software tool to create a background that added texture without diminishing the letters.

I wasn’t sure how people were going to react when I posted it on Facebook.  Surprisingly there were more positive responses than I thought.  I guess they found Him!

Checking Out the Master’s Work

This morning I was rollerblading at my favorite park.  The area where I skate is on the back end where there’s a man-made lake and a nice smooth concrete path that runs along its perimeter.  Freedom Park is a very popular park and you have to time it just right to avoid the crowds, something that is often hard to do.  I was trying my best to keep from scowling as I darted around human and animal obstacles that were preventing me from reaching my target heart rate.

I get to my cool down and slow to a minimum by just rolling along in the standing position without pushing off.   It’s at this point I overhear a lady speaking to someone else saying, “Wow, look  at that! That is beautiful!”

I  look over and there are two women standing in the grass looking up towards the sky.  Of course now I have to look up too and this is what I see.  The sun has a soft, white, hazy glow and is surrounded by a beautiful large halo.  Right beneath the halo, just above the trees, is a rainbow.  I immediately move off into the grass so I can get a photograph of it with my camera phone.

God does these amazing things and oftentimes we are too absorbed in our own thoughts and actions to even notice.  It was nice to see the Master’s work.  I believe He likes to put on a show for us every now and then.  In fact, He is always trying to show us something if we just slow down and pay attention.

“Timbrel and Dance”

As far as my pieces go, “Timbrel and Dance” is my sentimental favorite and is largely responsible for my creative approach to making art.  In 2002, this work was created for the cover of our choir concert program and my inspiration was the featured concert piece called “Anthem of Praise,” written by Richard Smallwood.

If you listen to “Anthem of Praise,” the introduction begins with the horns that call your immediate attention to the change in the atmosphere.  Enter the violins with their series of runs with brass pulsing with dissonant harmonies creating this “old world” feel.   The instrumentals sound almost tempestuous.   Then the tenors lead with the vocals and are followed by the altos and sopranos singing, “Praise Him with the timbrel and dance! Praise him with the sound of the trumpet! Praise Him with the psaltery and harp!  Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord!”  It’s as if the Spirit is moving at a rapid pace from the intense worship of  God’s people.  Really, it’s an awesome work.

“Timbrel and Dance” had to be alive with color and movement in order to reflect the energy of the anthem.  I made the dancers fly high above as they were holding colored fabric, while musicians and singers were uttering songs of praise down below.  Penciling the images wasn’t hard but developing the color scheme was another story.

For that, I decided to take the issue to God in prayer.  I went upstairs, laid down and closed my eyes and sure enough the Lord gave me what I needed.   Immediately I got up and added  color to everything except for the background.  It made sense to color the background blue since it was referencing the sky, but I thought that I should go against the grain and try something else.  By that time, it was getting late, around 11:00 pm.  When I couldn’t think of any other background color that would work, I decided to sleep on it.

The next morning, I went with the obvious choice and used blue. I was kind of bent out of shape at first, but after I finished it, I realized that it was the right move.

It wasn’t until three or four years later that I realized that these colors had certain meanings.  I was on the internet looking at church banners and happened to find a website that talked about the biblical meaning behind colors.  Pink represents the color of right relationships.  Orange represents praise.  Yellow represents God’s glory.  Green represents spiritual life everlasting.  And the color blue?  It represents the presence of the Holy Spirit!

So, isn’t God SMART? Let’s face it. God is the most creative being of  all.  His resume includes making the earth from scratch AND making the scratch to make the earth, something that still continues to blow me away.  Making “Timbrel and Dance”  made me realize that tapping into Him makes creating so much easier and enjoyable.

Fiiiive Gooolden Riiiiiiiiiiings!!

Here is the finished product!  As I had mentioned in my earlier post, I felt led to do the background in purple.  The hardest part was trying to figure out the color of the angels’ bodies.  My initial intent was to leave them in white but the piece looked unfinished.  I did the detailing on the white wings in a medium gray watercolor pencil which gives the piece a lot of texture.

These colors were no accident. I believe God gave these to me and they make perfect sense considering the two upcoming seasons – Christmas and Advent.

Purple/Advent:  One of purple’s symbolic meanings is royalty and is often used for the season of Advent.  Advent meaning “coming” or “arrival”,  not only celebrates the anticipation of Christ’s First Coming, but also the anticipation  of Christ’s Second Coming as King.  This year Advent begins in late November (27) and ends the day before Christmas.

White and Gold/ Christmas:  White and gold is associated with the season of Christmas.  Gold represents God’s glory and divine nature and white is the color of purity and righteousness.

By the way, the commercial/retail industry would have you believe that the start of the Christmas Season is the day after Thanksgiving.  Christmas Day, however, is considered to be the start of the Christmas season lasting twelve days until January 5,  hence “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

Five Golden Rings – Sketch

When I did the initial sketch of Five Golden Rings,  I thought, isn’t God smart?  I mean, there’s no way I can take any credit for this one here.   For awhile I was stumped on how to create Five Golden Rings, unless I were to literally DRAW  five golden rings.   Not only did the thought of that sound boring to me, it just sounded BORING.

 

Birds are prominent subject matter in the Twelve Days of Christmas, including the partridge, calling birds, french hens, turtle doves, swans, and geese.  So it seemed to make sense to me when I read on the Internet that the Five Golden Rings referred to the rings around the necks of pheasants.  That statement quickly lost its credibility when I surfed the net and could only find images of pheasants with white rings.

Not that it any of this really mattered to me anyway.  I wasn’t feeling this pheasant thing and my only interests in them were observing them in the wild, or having them served up on a platter with some type of vegetable.  Animal activists, do not judge me. They are TASTY.

This sketch was created in July when I was visiting my parents.  As you can see the Five Golden Rings are five angel halos.  I decided only to show the backs of the angels so you could see their wings.  My sister, who saw the sketch, pointed out that the collective arrangements of the angels resembled the shape of a flower.

As far as color is concerned, I feel led to use a soft purple background and I may consider using chalk pastel rather than water color pencil.  I still  haven’t decided what to do in terms of applying color to the angels yet.

 

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