Thursday, November 7, 2013

Hanging my soul on the wall

One of the great pleasures of moving is hanging art. Memories and soul comfort merge as our empty walls start to fill with color and line. Here are three favorites already up: more to come in future posts.

"Thistle" by T. V. Pigenot
We purchased "Thistle," a limited edition print, with two other couples for someone's wedding ... except one wife didn't like it. We were stuck with the $100 piece as newlyweds. We framed it and enjoy it to this day, though we would never have earmarked 1/8 of W's monthly salary for it. That's right; W made $800 at his first full-time job at a college. I made about half that teaching piano from home, which helped us survive.

"helleborus orientalus", 2004

My first-ever watercolor emerged under the expert eye of a British painter. She guided our night-school group through the selection, sketching, and painting of plants at the Cambridge Botanic Gardens. She taught us to buy the best quality brushes and paint we could "because you'll hardly fall in love with art using inferior materials." I still travel with myWinsor & Newton paintbox.

When we arrived in the UK, I figured no one knew who I was. I'd wanted to learn painting so I introduced myself an artist. Strangers accepted that at face value and I signed up for art courses. This first painting makes me smile with fond memories of intense, focused hours, playing with pencil, paint, and brushes on exquisite paper. The hellebore painting marked the first time I'd brought flowers to life in watercolor.

I studied with other top artists. (Who doesn't want "Cambridge professor" on their resume?) I learned willow weaving with Mary Butcher, the first non-royal female admitted into The Worshipful Company of Basketmakers (a guild established in 1569), bending blue and green and pink willow stems into shapes. I sketched tin cans and old shoes under an outstanding pencil artist. I even persevered through an eight-week figure drawing course that shocked, taught, and settled my heart. Humans are beautiful, though figure drawing was not about the math formulas on perspective that I'd expected when I signed up. (However, I'd promised God that whatever he brought my way, I would do. Opening that classroom door in all innocence, obedience was a stretch. I learned about compassion, human adaptability, and art, and was thankful when the course ended.)

I wasn't very good. But the pleasure remains alive every time I see what I made.

"Red Tree" by Casey Klahn
Red Tree by Casey Klahn inspires me. Casey, a Northwest University alum, found his voice in pastel, creating unexpected landscapes and ideas through unconventional color. I bought this little piece at his exhibition at the school: my favorite duty as chair of the university art committee was recruiting artists for art shows.

In what ways has visual art shaped your soul or expanded your appreciation of Creator God and his world?

No comments: