What do you see when you look at the people around you? This question has really been penetrating my spirit and echoing in my thoughts since the baptism service at church this past Sunday. As part of the baptism service, each person shares their testimony, which includes sharing a bit about their life and their journey towards becoming a believer and accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Among the first few people to be baptized were a young couple (mid-twenties) who we see every Sunday. They sit in the back row of the balcony at church, directly behind us. We’ve never talked to them – only shaking their hand as the congregation greets one another after the worship (just before the sermon).
I’ve always thought of them as seeming quiet, not overtly friendly, but not unfriendly either. I do remember that the first time I saw them, I noticed that the man had a fairly deep scar very close to one of his eyes, which made me think he was awfully blessed not to lose an eye. And of course I wondered how it happened (sometimes I’m way too curious!). As we sat and listened to their story I was so deeply struck by what a difficult life they had had for two people who are so young. But it wasn’t only them…person after person, ranging in age from 14 years to over 50 years old – each of them had a story to tell. And each of them, looking at them – you’d never guess in a million years the stories that lay beneath the surface.
It made me realize that all too often I allow myself to get distracted by a person’s outward appearance and demeanour and I find myself making assumptions – sometimes positive, sometimes (and I admit this with shame) negative. Assumptions which are most likely totally different from reality. The irony is that I’ve often been incredulous/flabberasted/frustrated/angry/upset when people have made assumptions about me which are totally incorrect. My first reaction is always “you know nothing about me and my life !”
This whole experience was such a powerful lesson and really brought clarity for me – and that’s what I was trying to portray in my artwork today. With the light and bright colors I was trying to depict what we see on the “surface” – and with the dark, intricate pattern (created with a stencil) – I was trying to portray how deep and complex each of us are. I deliberately kept the lines of the portrait simple and bold. I wanted it to serve as a reminder to look beyond the surface and to respect the unspoken stories, because what we see on the surface is rarely a reflection of what’s inside.
- Surface: Dylusions Art Journal (Ranger)
- Mediums: Diarylide Yellow, Transparent Pyrrole Orange Fluid Acrylics (Golden), Stream Adirondack Acrylic Paint Dabber (Ranger)
- Other: Diamonds Stencil (Crafter’s Workshop); Aquash Medium Brush (Pentel); 30 mm Catalyst Blade Shape 5 (Princeton); All pencil (Stabilo); Pilot Permaball Pen; old credit card
I also wanted to take a minute to thank all the wonderful people who left comments on my last post. My blog is just starting it’s evolution right now to encompass the things I talked about a little white ago – more about my life, my thoughts, my paper crafting, my business and my artful journey. I am working towards a goal of sharing here with you more often – I just have to get a few things sorted out first. As part of what I share, I will be talking about specifics and how-to’s of my art journaling and mixed media work for those of you that want to incorporate this into your own lives.