|"The Marshlands of Italy" 4" x 5" Oils and Acrylic on Archival Canvas Board|
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Important info regarding this work:
My signature on this piece will soon be glazed over with a darker
green once the paint dries a bit so that it doesn't stand out quite so
much. Also, the original underpainting of this piece was done in
acrylics, though it is completely covered over now with oil paints.
With so little going on in my life that I can control in the last few years, I've been searching and searching for anything, no matter how small, that I CAN control. Things have been harder than I want to admit lately. My pain and ability to move and function improved so dramatically at first that I felt like everything should be clear and normal by May, but it's not. I'm still in shock a little, thinking that I still have yet to watch the boys two weeks in a row, and by that I really only mean 2-3 days a week, as I still can't handle a full week yet. I can only really handle one single full day and a half day on my own with the boys without causing a massive flare, and even with that ridiculously light schedule, I'm still not able to do it two weeks in a row, which is beyond frustrating! I honestly thought I'd be almost weaned down completely from the Morphine to Norco, but my pain is still far too intense to make the adjustments in the way I wanted to. It's taking way too long in my book, and I am left feeling hopeless and helpless, not to mention weak and disheartened as well. All of this is one of the major reason's I haven't been able to paint very much lately, why it's so hard for me to get up the energy to pick up a paintbrush, let alone publish a post. It's extremely difficult to set your mind to a matter only to have your hopes and expectations dashed to the wind, and to be stuck in a sort of limbo in regards to healing, where you plateau and no matter how hard you try you just can't seem to get any better past that certain point.
Please don't get me wrong - I praise God for how far He's gotten me and taken me in regards to this all. I praise Him for what He has and is teaching me, and I am trying my hardest to realize that this is all still a matter of grace and trust and patience. After all, this may be as healed as God ever wants me to be. I can only do so much - it is by God's grace that I am as capable as I am in the first place, and I thank Him mightily for every little moment where I can play with my boys, and love on them and cuddle them pain free. I treasure every single moment! But my desire is and has always been to be like the Proverbs 31 woman - a goal far too lofty for me to ever attain now, which causes such deep pain and loss for me as I am unable to be the wife and mother and friend and well, anything, that I know God would want me to be. Trying to find joy and focus on what I do have has been rough for me, and I won't deny that at times it's been all but impossible, but still I will journey on in this new adventure God has set for me, trying to make the most of it and be Holy and Blameless and Beautiful in all I say and do.
And so it is with great joy that I bring you this painting today, a completed work for the Virtual Paintout this month (which was hosted in Lido di Jesolo) created by me in OILS for the first time in so many years that I am actually embarrassed to say how long, though no matter how long it took, it's an enormous obstacle overcome by me none-the-less! I am soooo beyond thrilled to be working in oils again!!! I've been aching to try them out again and to overcome this fear deep within me that I feel whenever I think about using them. I get so upset about it that when I first decided to actually try them out for real yesterday, I had to overcome my own fear and trembling just to get the paints out of their tubes and onto the palette. For the last few years I have been so afraid that if I tried to use my oils that I would mess everything up, so afraid of doing things wrong for so many years that I was almost positive that my paints were all dried up and spoiled by now. But they weren't, which was a huge relief, that was not only amazing but thrilling as well as I started to loosen up and realize that the worst thing that really CAN happen is that my painting doesn't turn out, which of course IS what happened. But you know what - it was NO BIG DEAL! Seriously! No big deal what so ever!!! What on earth was I afraid of?! I can't believe I waited so long to get up the courage to play with these again, though at least I finally did it. Why are we as artists so afraid to try something new or different when the only thing that really can happen is a lost canvas and some wasted paint, while we have so much more to gain from it like freedom and wisdom and both knowledge of our own capabilities and of our craft.
As for my painting, I realized far too late that you really don't need to add so much Linseed Oil (or whatever Oil you may choose to paint with - I've heard Walnut Oil is fantastic as well) to the paints, unless you want it to be a very slick and oily mess that takes forever to dry. So, a few Kleenex's full of paint later, and I was ready to paint on the same board as before, only with not so much oil this time around. Oh man, it was like riding on a bicycle after years and years of it being in the shed. At first, things were very rough, painful even, and extraordinarily uncomfortable, but it didn't take too long before I started remembering some of the old tricks, like using thick, less oily paints for the bottom layers, so that I can use lighter and more liquidy paints on top, as you need contrasting thicknesses for your paints in order for them to stick to one another.
I am so glad I tried to conquer this silly little demon yesterday, so glad that I was able to find joy and peace in something I had been afraid of for far too long. This lie had been telling me for years that I wasn't capable of creating beauty with this medium - it tore me down and said I wasn't good enough, not good enough to paint this way, not good enough to be successful with it. That anything I tried to make would be a hideous flop. BUT IT'S JUST NOT TRUE!!! Like I said before, it was simply a lie, and a silly one at that! After all, I was actually taught how to paint using oils in the first place, so why did I believe the lie that said I couldn't use them?
I think that part of the reason why it's so easy for us artists to listen to the lies about ourselves and our work and give in to our fears is because of the fact that when we do listen to them we aren't required to try, since we think we "know" what will happen. We seem to find solace in knowing that at least if I don't try I won't have the risk of failing, which means I really might be able to do it after all. But if I DO try, I'll know for certain that I can't do it, or at least that's how the logic goes. Well, it's just NOT TRUE! We need to be done with these lies, these stupid, silly little lies that hold us back and keep us from becoming all that we can truly can be! They are wrong! You can do this, and even if the first time you don't succeed, you at least have gained some knowledge as to how to do whatever you were struggling with before. After all, practice truly does make perfect.
It's not like the Great Masters of painting actually got where they were by chance - they had to work for their skills, and work HARD. Success doesn't just fall in your lap - you have to take risks, to recognize the lies and fight back against them so that you can conquer them. Do you have any lies that you are dealing with right now? Perhaps one that you've been battling with for some time now, that you know in your heart of hearts that it just isn't true? If you do, please feel free to open up and let me know what lies you struggle with, and if you've conquered any of them before, let us know what they were and how you did it. For me, yesterday was all about giving up my worries to the Lord and ask Him for His help. I also had to ask Him for HIS confidence, since I was so lacking in mine and always have been. He helped me. Immensely. And He can help you too. All you need to do is ask.
"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:11)
"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us." (1 John 5:14)
Now this is not meant to be a name it and claim it type of thing. I don't believe that it is God's plan for us to do that, and I don't believe we should treat God like a genie in a bottle. But for those things that God wants us to have, the things that He wants to use in you to bring Him praise and Glory, and that help us to draw closer to Him and bring others closer to Him as well, well it's those things that I believe He will give us if we simply look up to Him and ask. Right now, my greatest prayer for myself is for wisdom. Wisdom affects every single area of your life: your relationships, your money, how you handle your time and resources, how you speak to others and how you respond to every singe situation, no matter how big or how small, that happens in your life.
But I digress. If there are any lies you know you have bought "hook, line and sinker" about yourself or your art, or really about any other aspect of your life, please feel free to let me know in the comment section below. You'd be surprised how easy it is to accept as truth lies about yourself that if you had ever thought of towards another person you'd be repulsed, and yet they are okay to believe in regards to you. It's quite sad, honestly. And it's unnecessary! You can throw off the chains today, my friends, and enter into the truth about who you truly are. Like I've said before and I will say over and over again until I die, all you need to do is ASK!
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 7:7-12)
I am learning just how important in my own life my own personal "self-talk" is. I would never even dream of saying half of the awful things I say to myself to others, or of calling others half the things I call myself. They are awful! And this lie was just one more brick on the pile, which made my conquering of it rather exhilarating, leaving me with the feeling of empowerment to tackle more and more of the lies and issues that lay deep within my soul. How I hope and pray that you, too, will take this journey with me by telling me in the comments below what lies you suffer from, and which one's you want to work your hardest on to overcome! Perhaps we can do it together, my friends! =) God bless!