Artwork, I am Free: Freedom in God despite circumstances by creativecassandra (11/06/2011 19:07:43)
This is one of my more recent finished pieces made this week. It is a mixed media piece made on unstretched canvas. I began by experimenting and playing around with different layers. The background was made with between 10-20 layers including watercolor, oil pastels, gesso, specialty paper, tissue paper collage, a magazine image, and acrylic paint. I really enjoy the spontaneous style of artwork. This day I was really stressed out. I needed some unwind time. I noticed for me there’s two different types of art I do. Spontaneous style is my favorite because I can make it when I’m stressed out, and it will help me relax and uplift my mood. My life is stressful, so the majority of the time I am stressed out. To make something realistic looking takes much more effort for me and can be a bit pain-staking. I really have to work at it and be in the right frame of mind to do it, but it comes easier if I’m more relaxed and it isn’t “work without play.”
What I really enjoy doing is to start creating and then let the art lead me. When I’m just experimenting there is no pressure. I think I’m in my element with mixed media because I can experiment and have a playful approach. If something doesn’t work out I can just add another layer or rip it apart and use it as collaged pieces for another art work. There are so many possibilities. I only recently discovered using gesso for layering, and I am so fascinated by this. I made so many layers with this not because I didn’t like my previous layers, but because I enjoyed the experimentation so much. I typically work in spurts and as one layer is drying I’ll began an initial layer of something else. I’ll usually have various pieces or art in several stages all at once. Some of the pieces could even be around for a year before I finish them. Others, I finish right away. The more I’m stressed out, the more I need to make art. I’m driven in that kind of way.
During the art process I pray for God to lead me. This particular picture just kind of emerged on its own. I didn’t start out with the vision. The initial layer started with watercolors and seran wrap. Then I gessoed it, added some oil pastel on top of the gesso. Then more gesso, more watercolor, then gesso with scratches made with a wooden scratching tool. Then did some layers with speciality papers and tissue paper, then more gesso, more scratches, more watercolors, etc. I did so many layers, I couldn’t even began to describe them all to you. The background was looking kind of cool, but I realized I needed a focal point. I wanted to try another approach I recently learned about. It was using gesso over a magazine image and then drawing or painting over top of it to make it my own. This was perfect because it saved time and took away the tedious part of drawing a perfect picture, getting the spacing just right, etc. Not that I couldn’t do it, but it would take considerably longer. But this is an art style all its own, so why not take advantage of it?
I think at this point I started to get a little visiion and heard God speak to me about His freedom. I wanted to find an image of someone that looked free. I looked through some magazines. I found this little black girl so full of joy, just playing around. So I cut her out and then glued her into the image and then gessoed on top of her. I covered up most of it, so there was only a hint of her facial features showing. I couldn’t really see the shading/highlights anymore, so I recreated that with acrylic paint. I thought of changing her skin color to that of a Caucasion to represent myself, but as I kept adding washes of color she slowly grew to a black girl again. Actually, I think her skin color, now, could represent alot of different races and nationailities. I like that idea. I also think I like her better with darker skin in relation to the background. She still represents myself, but could also represent any woman looking at it.
As I said, God was speaking to me about His freedom. As I looked at the background and thought about the many layers, I thought about the many layers of my own life and the difficult circumstances I have lived through and continue to live through. Although the background is interesting, It also seems to represent difficulty, stress, distress, etc, except a little bit of whimsy comes through anyway, similiar to my own personality, and also to the playfulness of the girl, and also of my approach. What God was saying to me is that He doesn’t always remove us from our difficult situations, but it doesn’t mean that He is not with us or that He doesn’t love us. And it also doesn’t mean that we can’t have freedom. In fact, with His presence in our life, we can have freedom despite the circumstance/s. The circumstance or difficulty is an opportunity for growth for us. We discover our limits, but we also discover God’s grace. We find that we have the strength to get through the difficulty because of God’s strength in us and through us. Also, He begans to show us-when we’re listening-the steps to take to overcome, to solve the problem, to fix the circumstances, and began to have the kind of life we dream about. Many times the problems came about because of our misunderstandings, because perhaps we did not follow God’s will, and also because of the sins of other people on us and the afflctions that Satan causes to the world and our life-as a result of sin. It can get complicated. But it doesn’t mean we’re stuck, and it doesn’t mean we are being punished. In no way is where you are today a reflection of where you are going to be in the future. If we are truly indeed in Christ, our life is being made new everyday, and God is doing a process of renewal and transformation in us. I don’t think He causes the negative circumstances, but sometimes I think he allows it, so that we can work through it, and began to come to a different mind set-with His help of course. If we listen closely, He’ll begin to show us how to overcome one step at a time. Often times, the inner world, thoughts, and beliefs will have a manifestation in the physical world. But when God begans to change us, He starts with the inner man/woman first and begans to show us the lies of what we believe and the truth of who He is and His plan for our life-which is a really good plan. He begins to show us His love. But because of who we are and what may have happened to us, we can’t seem to absorb or comprehend His great love for us right away. It takes time. It takes this process. Gradually He peels back the layers, and begins to penetrate us, deeper and deeper, eventually to our core. To the degree we understand His love for us, we may experience freedom. We must understand His love from the core of our being, even deep in the hidden recesses of our minds where all the traumas and hurts are hidden. As we do understand this, in greater and greater degrees as we walk with God, we began to get delivered, slowly but surely. The shackles began to fall off. Eventually, the physical reality of our life begans to reflect this inner reality. It doesn’t mean we’ll be without problems, because God says, “In this world ye shall have trbulation, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world (John 16:33). But we will have answers to the problems. We will have perfect peace, and we will have joy. This is something the world and satan can’t take away from us once we have arrived to this place in God. It is like experiencing Heaven on Earth in the closest degree we can-because God and the Kingdom of Heaven are inside us. What we don’t get to experience in this lifetime we can rest assured we will get to experience in heaven. I don’t understand it all or why we don’t get to achieve some things in this lifetime, but all I know God is good and fair and will make it all up to us. I also believe that the rewards will reflect the degree we have overcome and kept our faith, with greater rewards for greater testing. Some rewards we will receive here on Earth and some in heaven. If we can keep this perspective it helps us to endure. God says He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6.)
But even if we haven’t arrived to that great place yet of “our promised land” and our great destiny in God-which I feel I haven’t yet-God can give us glimpses of that place. God can give us visitations in the place we are, and He can lift us out of the pit of despair, just by His simple reminders of His constant presence and great love. That is reason enough to rejoice. This girl is rejoicing. This girl represents me enjoying the presence of God and the freedom of God, as He gives me this revelation, to the degree I can receive it. I am like a child in his eyes, and here the weight and responsibility of adulthood has fallen off me, because I’ve given him my problems. I couldn’t fix them on my own, or with my own wisdom, but I know He knows how to. I know He is showing me step by step. And I know as I continue to walk on this journey with Him, that the final destination will be beautiful. Therefore I can wait, I can do what it takes, I will trust Him, and I will learn how to enjoy the moments He gives me.