John 8:36 - So if the Son makes you free, you will be truly free.

Galatians 5:1 - We have freedom now, because Christ made us free. So stand strong. Do not change and go back into the slavery of the law.

This is my journey.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Children Don't Say No

It bleeds incessantly. Most days you try to ignore it, relegating it to a continuous throb in the back of your mind. Then are the days he wields the knife again, cutting deeper and deeper each time into the wound that never quite heals.

It is your fault, somehow, it is your fault. You ask for it, he says. You want it, he says. You don't, you hate it. But you second guess yourself, are you asking for it? How? How do you stop? You don't even remember what it's like to be normal. Is this normal?

You build and build the courage, finally confessing and revealing the wound to your mother. She stares for a long time at the cut, saying nothing. Finally, she opens her mouth. "It isn't really that bad, is it? Just don't say anything about it, I will take care of it."

She leaves you and you wait. He comes again. And again. You try to speak to your mother again, ask her why she doesn't help you, but she never lets you get that far. She gives you new clothes to wear, longer sleeves to cover the wound. As though if it is out of sight, it will fix itself.

The blood dries, hardens and becomes a part of the sleeve. You tug at the cloth sometimes, trying to separate the clothing from the wound but mountains of tears well up in your eyes from the pain. Is it so embarrassing that my mother can't tell anyone? Is this all my fault? What have I done God, that you punish me? Is this the destiny of my life?


How much more the pain of the abused child? Sexual abuse much like a bleeding physical wound (I am focusing on sexual/emotional since that's what's been on my mind lately). Sons and daughters alike, their innocence stripped by someone they love and trust. And not only that, but their pain is covered up and forgotten, treated as though THEY should be the ashamed ones.

Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. - John 3:20 

What if someone had the ability to get inside you, to cut you from the inside? Someplace that has no visible effects, somewhere nobody could find unless you told them. They could shame you into thinking there is nothing you can do, that you deserve it, that you are unworthy of real love.

Is that pain lesser than the gaping wound on your arm? If you ignore it, will that change its effect on you? How is emotional/spiritual/mental abuse and pain any "less" than physical? And why do people - especially Christians - feel such a need to cover it all up? Covering for the abuser only enables him/her to continue abusing!

Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. - Ephesians 5:11

"Oh, we're just going to love the abuser." Well...what about the victim??
"It will ruin our witness/reputation." It's already ruined!
"I don't believe it." Well, you'd better! Someone's life may be at stake.
"He's changed." He/she won't be changed unless they take responsibility and accept any punishment for their actions.
"It isn't that bad." Who are you to judge the extent of someone else's pain?

Are appearances really that important? More important than the well-being of a daughter, sister, niece, cousin, friend? (And that goes for boys as well!) I guess this hits just a little close to home for me (not my own experience, but someone very close to me). It angers me that people rob children of their innocence, and that others will willingly cover up for them!

So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. - Matthew 23:28

(This link is actually a power/abuse wheel for abused wives, but is helpful just to see what the different types of abuse are, some obvious, others more subtle.)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

In The Dark

Silent cries in the dark
You draw my tears,
You steal my heart

Dreams of life in the unknown
I grow, I feel
I long for home

Somehow I know who you are
Can't see your face
You seem so far

Can I speak on my behalf?
I want a chance
To speak, to cry, to laugh

For just a moment, I am here
Please let me stay
Don't act in fear

The dark surrounds, the light afar
I feel your touch
Your beating heart

Please, crying one more time
Take my hand,
Not my life

Friday, January 14, 2011

Audrey in Graphite

So I finished the first in my series of drawings/paintings of all the same picture! The first done is Graphite Pencil, size 12"x16". Here I have the 9 stages of production.

Here, just the very basic layout.

Starting a bit of shading, some background and the shadow on her neck. Brought her arm in a little, shortening it a bit.

More shading around, working on a few details.

Darkening the shadows, adding more. Put in the basics of her ear.

Starting to put in the black background as a lighter shade of gray. Working more on facial details, and side shadows.

Finally drew her eyes. Put in a lot more shadows on her arm and neck, a little on her dress. Darkening her hair.

This one is a little blurry since I took it at night.

Adding more black to the background. Worked a lot on her hair, and softening the shadows on her skin.

Background fully colored in, just a few minor details left.

And here it is, finished. I didn't quite get it to look as much like her as I'd hoped, but hopefully that will improve as I continue to draw/paint it.

I used graphite pencils, 4H, 2H, HB, 2B, 8B.

Next up: Acrylic Paints. This will pose more of a challenge, since I will have to take a black and white photo and turn it into color.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

An Artistic Endeavor

So. I want to do a sort of experiment. Perhaps a little scientific, but very artsy.

I want to see what the real difference is between all the mediums I use. I mean, how I use them differently. So, the only way to really see, I think, is to draw/pain the same picture in different mediums. So I will do it seven times:

(In no particular order)
1. Graphite Pencil (Black and White)
2. Acrylic Paint (Color)
3. Oil Paint (Color)
4. Colored Pencil (Color)
5. Pen & Ink (B&W
6. Watercolor Paint (Color)
7. Soft Pastel (B&W

Each medium poses its own challenges and possibilities. I want to see what the real difference is if I use pencil as opposed to oils, pen and ink or pastels.

So, perhaps the most important decision of the whole endeavor: what picture?

A portrait of a person, I decided rather quickly. Not just any person; if I want to advertise commissioned portraits, it would be best to do someone rather well known, a face I like. Beyond that, the picture has to be interesting and inspiring enough for me to WANT to paint/draw it 7 times! So I chose this:

Audrey Hepburn. One of the most classy and fashionable women of all time. Also she has a very nice and beautiful face. One challenge this will pose is the fact that it is a black and white photo. I would have chosen a color photo, but none of them moved me quite the way this one did.

I love contrast. I have to paint contrast. I love sharp blacks and pure whites. I love deep red put next to soft yellow. I love baby blue mingled with royal purple. I love dark shadows and bright highlights.

This picture is very unique and intriguing to me; diagonally split between very black and very white, with a woman's face tying them together. I think it will hold my attention long enough for 7 artworks portraying it.

And so I begin. First up: Graphite Pencil. (Be on the lookout for upcoming blog posts about my journey with that!)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Jesus Was Not A Great Teacher

There is an idea: "Jesus was a great moral teacher, but nothing more. He had his time, taught, gathered followers, then died."

If Jesus was only a human, only a "great moral teacher", then he was also an awful liar.

Jesus answered, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. The only way to the Father is through me." - John 14:6

Jesus answered, "I told you already, but you did not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name show who I am. But you don't believe, because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never die, and no one can steal them out of my hand. My Father gave my sheep to me. He is greater than all, and no person can steal my sheep out of my Father's hand. The Father and I are one." - John 10:25-30

In the beginning there was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God... The Word became a human and lived among us. We saw his glory—the glory that belongs to the only Son of the Father—and he was full of grace and truth. - John 1:1,14 (obviously referencing Jesus)

Jesus answered, "I have been with you a long time now. Do you still not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. So why do you say, 'Show us the Father'? Don't you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I say to you don't come from me, but the Father lives in me and does his own work." - John 14:9-10

How can he be a great teacher whose teachings we hold in high esteem, yet at the same time be a liar of the worst kind? If he was not truly God, he would himself know this, and would yet choose to lead hundreds in his wake, knowing he was really giving them nothing?

You cannot accept Jesus' teachings without also accepting Who he said he was. There is no either/or.

He was either lying, insane, or telling the truth. Why would we respect the teachings of a blatant liar or a lunatic, who in one breath says "love your neighbor" and in the other lead many hundreds down a trail of lies about who he was and their eternal destiny?

But there is one more option. Jesus was telling the truth, and he was Christ, the Son of God, and yes, even God himself.

"You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon, or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." - C.S. Lewis

Friday, January 7, 2011

A New Way To Paint

There's always someone taking art to its limits, not satisfied to just paint but throw clip art on the painting. Not wanting to just draw but putting a couple paint strokes on the paper. Alexa Meade has taken these inspirations and truly stretched their limits.

Many artists attempt to make a painting look like a photo...not many try to make a photo look like a painting - and succeed so fantastically!

I must admit, I'm inspired. :-D

Monday, January 3, 2011

Not Even In The World?

"If you leave, you are condemned to hell."

A friend of mine in her early 20s was told this as she informed those she loved that she was moving out. No encouragement, no love in these words. Instead, there was condemnation and displeasure. Why was she condemned? Because she chose to move from her parent's house and be on her own. Because she heard God's call and chose to follow even though her parents did not agree with it. They equated this action with sin and giving herself to Satan.

"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." - John 5:24

This doesn't say you have eternal life by doing this/that or not doing this/that. You have eternal life by believing. No person can say whether or not you are "condemned", only God has that power. The rules of men mean nothing to God. He says "Believe, and you will have life". I believe that if I believe and trust in God, then I will have life, regardless of what any person may tell me. Regardless of whether or not they completely agree with everything I say and do.

He [Jesus] will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; - Isaiah 11:3

Does anyone but you really know your heart? People are judging by what they see you do and say, but that is not how Jesus judges! Your heart is what really matters, not your actions. As humans, we can only see what is physical, but God sees everything. It is not up to us to judge others, that is only for God.

The inside is not affected by outside changes, but rather the other way around. To say "all Christians must do this/say that/avoid this/live this way," is to miss God's real plan.

We get so focused on doing only this or only that, yet what did Jesus do? He reached out to the lost. Did he lay down rules for life patterns or turn gray issues to black and white? No, He simply reached out with the Good News to the lost.

I [Paul] am free and belong to no one. But I make myself a slave to all people to win as many as I can. To the Jews I became like a Jew to win the Jews. I myself am not ruled by the law. But to those who are ruled by the law I became like a person who is ruled by the law. I did this to win those who are ruled by the law. To those who are without the law I became like a person who is without the law. I did this to win those people who are without the law. (But really, I am not without God's law—I am ruled by Christ's law.) To those who are weak, I became weak so I could win the weak. I have become all things to all people so I could save some of them in any way possible. I do all this because of the Good News and so I can share in its blessings. - 1 Corinthians 9:19-23

Paul did not live in sin, yet he still found some way to identify with those who were. To identify with someone is to care about them, to show them you are willing to go to great lengths to show them God's love. People just want to be understood. When you understand them for who they are, then they will be ready to listen to God speaking through you (not that some aren't 'ready' before that point.).

God doesn't want an army of robots, all looking, sounding, and living alike. He wants an army of vastly different characters, all gathering together to take on the world on all levels and walks of life.

Jesus said to his followers, "Go everywhere in the world, and tell the Good News to everyone. Mark 16:15