Several months ago, I felt strongly that I needed to produce a bigger piece of work again. I sorted through my resource material: lots to choose from, lots I could go with. In the end, I selected an image that has some interesting parallels with my lovely "Peep Show" painting. The predominant subject in both is autumn leaves, both have a living animal (waxeye/kokopu), and both remind me of a Creator whose colour scheme is vibrant beyond our imagination. I prayed and came away with a deep sense that this was the painting to do.
I sketched it up, got a bit excited - then along came the obstacles. The worst of these was a tumble I took up in the hills behind where we live. That resulted in a massive bleed in my leg and 6 weeks of not being able to do much at all. Add that to periods of great busyness, a planned trip away, a class to run, and dare I say it, a deepening of headaches and a bout of depression, and it looked like this painting might have to take a permanent back seat. I lost any enthusiasm I had for getting into it.
Mr. God had to give me a bit of a shake up. Through various people, I received reminders of "this amazing gift you have received". Through some words offered in church, I was reminded that when God bestows something on us, it is not so much for us to get the buzz, it is for Him to achieve HIS will. Through a book I read, I was reminded that losing enthusiasm was negotiable: I could choose to NOT lose it. How would I do that? BY GETTING INTO THE STUDIO AND PICKING UP A BRUSH AND STARTING!!!
So I did!
I began, and bit by bit I got excited, and so it began to blossom.
The first three days were wonderful. I was still sore and headachy, but with the immersion into painting, those things took a back seat. I took the liberty of thanking God for each completed part - each leaf, each shadow, each beautiful laying down of colour in the way that only watercolour can do. So, so cool.
Day four, I got immersed again, got stuck, got pig-headed and stayed that way for two days. I was very, very close to making a mess. Even the paint coming out of the tubes was gungy! Unbelievable! Why am I surprised? Why do I forget that all that seeks to give praise to God simultaneously opens a door of opportunity for Satan. It all came to a head when the darkest colours I blended and laid on didn't set properly. They didn't dry!!! I've never had that before. Why would they stay sticky and, worse, shiny? And what opened the dark door so wide? Simple: I had stopped praying, I had stopped praising, and I had started thinking how good I was at this painting lark. Snap!
Eventually, I realised. It takes a while, but I do figure things out, especially if I take it back to Yeshua and lay it down. Lord, what's going on here? Why have I made a mess?
God is great, and gracious, and consistent. Back into His embrace, I finished - and it looks pretty good. Not very good - there are some scars from the fight - but better than I was thinking it might be. I'm pleased. I hope my Father is pleased too. I think so.
We are a funny lot though, aren't we? Just like the israelites a-wandering in the desert, I wonder how many more times I will have to learn the big lessons. Next time I bite into a big painting, I aim to stay firmly in touch with my Creator.. Otherwise I know my big painting WILL bite me back! It hurts!
Here's the painting.
I call it "KOKOPU WATERS". Kokopu is the Maori name for the New Zealand native fish, Galaxius argentus, which grows to an impressive 60cm, but which is seriously endangered. It is fully protected now, but with increasingly polluted and disturbed waterways, will it survive? I hope so.