IT ALL STARTED WITH RISK
I’ve always been creative -- singing, drawing, crafts, theatre, writing poetry, writing song, skits, short stories, and photography. But in 2006 when I was 38 years old, I started taking improv comedy classes which changed my life -- personally, spiritually, creatively, and relationally. I would NOT be an artist, or even the type of artist I am today, if I had not taken a risk, done something different and got out of my comfort zone. It took me a year and a half to get up the courage to even sign up for the class. Boy, am I glad I did! Those three years of improv classes were a catalyst for me in so many ways.
Comedy Sportz Indy Stage
THE ’FLOATING CANVASES’
Then In 2009 when I was 41 years old, after a series of events and the Lord’s leading, I sold or gave away 80% of my belongings and moved to Kansas City to be closer to the International House of Prayer. While spending time in the prayer room I'd close my eyes, and see these -- for lack of a better word – ‘floating canvases’, that moved and morph into different abstract images all telling a story. I was so blown away by what I was seeing in my imagination and sensing in my spirit, I knew I had to figure out a way to capture these beautiful images and stories and transfer them to a canvas. So began a new creative journey.
A SIMPLE YELLOW FLOWER
Then one day, in 2011 a picture of a yellow flower fell into my head. I was completely compelled to paint this yellow flower. I quickly learned that I hated painting! I began to ask myself why? I soon discovered the roadblocks I needed to overcome in order to enjoy painting and release the images and stories locked in my spirit and imagination. In a nutshell, my roadblocks were: finding the right tools, the expense, and understanding the way I’m wired to express.
MY NEW-FOUND FREEDOM
Once I overcame my roadblocks, I fully embraced a creative liberation I had never experienced. I set-up an art space in my bedroom and was creating anywhere from 10 to 30 hours a week. I loved the freedom to experiment without limits. It felt as if I had been digging for creative oil my whole life and finally found a gusher!
MY FIRST GALLERY SHOW
In 2012, about 9 months after I had discovered this new way of painting, on a whim I submitted to an open call to a local gallery. To my complete shock, they accepted two of my pieces! I was terrified and green-as-grass to this new world I was entering.
First Gallery Show, 2012
TOUCHING LIVES THROUGH ART
Once I began sharing my art with the world, I was blown away by how my art and the stories behind my art, impacted people.
I remember the first time someone shared how my art affected them. I was still working a corporate job. I had a large cubicle and had several pieced of my artwork hanging there. One day a leader from another department (a very linear thinker) came to talk with me about something work related. At one point he paused and said, “it is very peaceful in here and it’s because of your art.”
Another time during a show at 815 Gallery in Missouri in 2017, a friend was looking at one piece titled ‘Miracles’ she said to me, “oh, this one upsets me.” When I asked her why, she paused and then shared, “it’s exposing to me the unforgiveness I have towards my husband.”
I was deeply moved by Cheryl who commented on one of my social media post, “Today I lost my momma. But when I opened Facebook today and saw your painting I thought, “HOPE”!
After I posted an image and the story about the painting, ‘Stirred Anointing, Shared Blessing,’ Sarah says, “I am so incredibly stirred by this piece!! I feel this piece when I look at it! I feel like I am looking into the water, and I am waiting to see what God will reveal to me! It also stirs me to get into my studio at this moment! This is so gorgeous and just completely awesome! I love it❣ Keep creating with the Lord! He is being offered through these works!!! I am so incredibly stirred by this piece!!”
Responding to the post, ‘The Singing Tree’ Barbara simple writes: “You have liberated something in me.”
Joann shares her very personal story in response to my post on ‘Silhouette’s in Grief’ – “a year and a half ago I came downstairs early one morning to find my daughter dead on the sofa. …. my whole world was shattered into pieces at that moment…. I am a Christian, but I haven’t known how to give my grief over to God…. but know this – because of your art and your intelligent and understanding words, tonight I will open my Bible and try to give these shattered puzzle pieces of my life over to Jesus…. and maybe, just maybe, this mamma’s heart will begin to heal.”
FROM THEN UNTIL NOW
A lot has happened from those early days of finding my creative voice until now. A lot of mountain tops and valleys; successes and failures; growth and surprises as well as dying to some dreams in order to come alive to others. And the spiritual and creative journey continues…