What is pride? Is promoting my artwork prideful? I struggle with that. I am stuck between a journey I know was powered by God and feeling prideful when I speak about it. Most of the time, I am silent and do not talk about my paintings to anyone. That makes me wonder if it what God really wants from me.
I have a lot to be grateful for in this journey and I am so humbled by all the doors God has opened for me without any effort of my own. There are so many talented artists out there that are much better than me, yet God is using ME! He really does use the least of these for his purposes. I am just a faithful Christian in a small Midwest town. Whenever I sell a print to someone far away, I am reminded of how important submission is and how God will use it. But am I limiting God by not sharing my story more?
The secular art world encourages self-promotion, marketing etc. I don’t feel comfortable with that.
I will continue to hone my skills, because I believe God deserves excellence. I will continue to stay close in relationship to Jesus. I will continue to let the Holy Spirit lead me. I will continue to step out in faith when feeling led. I will continue to paint images that convey the Father’s heart. I will be open to critique of my words, so not to mislead or misspeak. I am human and will make mistakes, but I am so honored to be used by God in this manner – using a God-given talent for His edification. I am proud of my Savior and his work in me.
Thank you for Creativity!
Creavity is such a blessing! I’ve never really thought of creativity as that important and took it for granted. I am a creative person. I love problem-solving. I love imagining things, processes, outcomes etc. I see visions in my minds eye. The visions help me come up with a painting concept.
When I first started painting again, I usually painted a single subject. As time passed, I find myself wanting to express myself more creatively. I am not happy with painting predictably or reproducing something exactly as seen. I feel pushed to reimagine it in a more creative way. To present it with my own interpretation. Therefore I am enjoying abstracts as they challenge me to sharpen my skills and try new techniques. God has blessed me with creativity! My paintings are slowly changing in style as I paint more. I am enjoying this journey of “hit or miss” and vulnerability. The mistakes help me grow just as much as the successes. I believe God gifted us with creativity for a reason. In art, we have the capability to be a creator. We can redesign, reimagine and recreate. It can sometimes be a challenge, though. We have to try different things and possibly fail. That is part of the journey and accepting failure is hard. But failure in creativity is a step forward in future successes. Who knows how my art will evolve? I am looking forward to expressing myself and my unique voice. Thanks to God for gifting me with this desire to exalt Him in this way!
I hosted my first exhibition in December 2021. I have been painting regularly for just over two years and have never had all of my artwork in one place. It was a blessing to me to see it all together for the first time and be able to view how God has worked in my life. Humbling, actually. My live painting experience in 2018 catapulted me into this journey. Something that I never thought possible or desired. When I look at my paintings together, I do not see Carrie the artist, I see God the Creator and Author of all things. They are my visual testimony! I enjoyed meeting new people and reminiscing with old friends that came to support me. It is my hope that I can bring this exhibition out to churches and conferences to give others encouragement in Christ.
When God put this on my heart, I made the decision very fast after being able to use the space. It was not something I had in mind and pretty much avoided doing anything public with my work, but for some reason I felt very compelled to put my artwork out there for display and discussion. I displayed 22 works of art along with the written inspiration that I include with each. For some paintings, I also included a commentary on how I arrived at that message and painting. We purchased easels since I did not have a way to display the artwork before making the commitment to do the exhibition. I am now prepared to do more exhibitions if invited! Please contact me if you are interested in hosting my artwork somewhat locally. :) We are in Janesville, WI. I'm sure my husband would love to travel, though!
As an artist, I love creating. As a Christian, I love creating for God's glory! As I paint more, I am searching for my artistic voice. I spend a lot of time working on abstracts as they help me grow in skill. Sometimes, the pressure of painting something meaningful cramps my creativity and leaves me frustrated, something I know God does not want for me. I will continue on this journey and paint subjects that speak to me. Not all may have a spiritual message, but all will be created with God as a partner! I love to paint God's creation. Nature speaks to me.
Today brought another confirmation on why I love intuitive art and abstracts.
I recently painted another 11” x 14” abstract while painting with a good friend. We talked and shared and painted spontaneously. I love these sessions. So much relaxed creativity with zero pressure to paint “something”. When I was done, we looked at it in my many directions. We both saw an “angel” when turned sideways.
When I got home and studied it again, I say part of a city. Reminding me of Matthew 5:14 , I embellished the city more to bring it out and highlight it. When I posted it on Facebook, my sister saw a man and a woman gazing at each other under the city. I missed this, but when she pointed it out, it was very powerful image and I am not sure how I missed it. To me, it is the focal point of the painting, not the city, as I had seen. Possibly together the couple under the city has special meaning to some?
When I crop the painting to show only the couple, I absolutely love it. I may have painted it, but I didn’t “paint” it. God did. If I had set out to paint an expressive painting of a couple, I could not have done a better job. In fact, I don’t think I could come close to this. My sister remarked that it resembled my husband and I… Gray hair and all. I laughed at that. I do see a regal man and a woman in wedding attire. I see her curled hair and a beautiful veil. The colors and shapes are intertwined like marriage. I see “Vows” and covenant before God. So the title of this cropped abstract is “Vows”. I definitely will be getting a print of this for a reminder of God’s authority over everything we do and his involvement in even the “little things” like painting with a friend.
Transformation of a Painting
I need to document the transformation of a painting to remember all the stages it goes through. It is amazing how much things can change with acrylic paint. They are so forgiving, and anything can be painted over. That part is liberating because I know I can correct any mistake or change anything I do not like.
I am continuing to get “braver” in changing things. When something does not feel quite right, but I am not sure what needs to be changed, I have learned to wait… and study it. Sometimes it takes a while. I want God to show me what to do.
My newest painting went through a series of undocumented changes. It started out as a Lion roaring because I had strong feeling to paint the strength of God. I painted Him, but felt it needed more. Eventually, I added a shield in the background. That element improved it. I am in the process of adding marks and random strokes to create motion because I felt it was too stiff and did not show the motion and emotion I want to convey. It is definitely a process. I am slowly getting better at letting a painting develop and change over time rather than rushing to finish it. After it has sat awhile, I start to see things I can improve. The hard part is knowing when to stop and being content with the results. I am working on that!
I have posted a short video of "On the Throne" to show some of the changes that were made.
Freedom to Create
I spend time with friends painting. We use the time together to talk and share and experiment with art. It is very healing, relaxing and fun! For me, I love painting when it comes easy. I do not like feeling frustrated or pressured or intimidated by art. In the short two years since God reignited my passion for art, I have had some struggles. When I started, I let God take the reins and I walked by faith in my breakout painting session. Since then, I have felt all the emotions above. Pressure to paint something beautiful and meaningful, frustrated when I could not come up with a concept worthy of painting and intimidated by other skillful artists. I am realizing this is a long journey and the reason I am painting is for God and not for me. He has gifted me with a passion for Him and His word and a natural talent that needs to be honed but is so appreciated. I am slowly learning that I need to slow down and be still. I need to listen more for Him and not rely on my own painting decisions.
The first time I painted, I was led by God to paint “loose” and intuitively. I was specifically planning out my painting, but He had me erase it and write TRUST on the canvas instead. I need to get back to that. There is a reason I am to paint loosely. It is relaxing and stress free. There is a freedom that come with no plan. God works in the intuitive. His hand shows up in my work when I am allowing Him to take the brush.
I feel I am being led to paint more abstractly and I believe there will be some lesson for me or others in each painting. I am encouraged by the ease at which I can paint an abstract and I hope to translate those thoughtful brushstrokes into powerful messages from God.
I have no plan. I am letting God lead me. I am learning, though, that rushing to finish a painting is wrong. I need to let it speak to me for a while. In time, I usually see things that I want to change or improve. They are slowly revealed to me. I predict a message will unfold if I am patient.
I’ve been painting small abstracts lately. Abstracts give me the freedom to create something without a plan and practice techniques I have never used. I choose to do an abstract when I have a creative block or feel like I am not hearing God’s voice clearly. Lately, I have been teaching others how to paint abstracts and realized how hard it is for us all to let go of control, to not compare ourselves to others, and to allow mistakes and experiments to grow. We want to follow step-by-step directions. We want to get it right. We want ours to look just like the model painting. We copy. We compare and judge ourselves. If our painting does not look just like the original, we think it is a failure. And we are wrong!
Today, I was thinking about our Sunday sermon and the unhealthy things we sometimes use as coping mechanisms. A lightbulb went off. When it comes to God, we need to give up control to Him. We need to trust Him. We need to walk things out with no guarantee of outcome. We need to be confident in our abilities. We do not need to be experts or professionals. There are no step-by-step directions in life, but there is wise counsel in the Bible. We walk by faith.
My abstract paintings helped me understand control and how hard it is to give up. We hold tight to imagined outcomes, precious plans, expectations, and a picture-perfect life. It is so hard to fully trust God in everything we do. We keep taking back the control, then giving it up, then taking it back again.
I will continue to paint abstracts because I enjoy the process, the experimentation, and the eventual results, even if the process is frustrating at times. I recommend we all paint an abstract to fully appreciate what it means to give up control and allow our creativity to take over. God is in the intuitive. We hear his voice in our spirit. He is hard to hear with all the clatter and rigidity of left-brained, controlled thinking. Surrender is key.
So, thank you for “abstract” paintings. You helped me see something new in my walk with God. He is teaching and guiding even when we think He’s not involved. “Yes”, it is difficult to make an artistically successful abstract, but it is not difficult to paint an abstract in general. Letting go and playing with paint without fear of failure should be the goal.
Where do I begin? This may be a very lengthy blog post!
I touch on my transformation on this site, but I felt it needed to be told in more detail. God is so patient and persistent. He transformed me and now I feel such an indebtedness to Him along with complete awe in His grace and mercy.
I was raised going to church, baptized as a child, confirmed and everything else that goes along with religious upbringing. I attended a Missouri Synod Lutheran Church but fell away from church all together after I moved from home. I never attended church, didn't read the Word and probably would have said "I believe in God" but not really understanding much about Him at all. I definitely did not grasp the gospel even after all those years of church attendance. I often think about my salvation at that time and wonder if I was truly saved even though I had professed my faith during confirmation and had made a public declaration without any commitment. I did not trust nor have faith in God. I had no relationship with Christ. I never consulted God in any decision and basically lived without any Godly influence. Most of all, I did not know Jesus nor have a relationship with him. I also suffered from terrible social anxiety and panic attacks beginning in grade school through my early adult life. I used alcohol as a coping mechanism while younger and often mixed alcohol and tranquilizers to feel "normal'. This is part of why I feel so strongly in telling my story. I am not anxiety free, but am healed of my inaccurate perception of myself. I have a new identity in Christ.
After experiencing the untimely death of a good friend, I started searching. How can I keep in contact spiritually with someone? What happens when we die? I had so many questions, but none of them were Godly. They were all quiet desperation questions,,, trying to regain contact with this person in some way. I spent hours researching on the internet, reading and looking into these things. I listened to Abraham-Hicks teachings and psychics. They believed in a higher power, but God was never mentioned. Eventually my searching brought me to God. I met a Christian man who had a strong and convincing testimony on God's deliverance from alcoholism. His convictions were life-changing to me. God had found a way into my heart and He opened my eyes to see things clearly for the first time. It wasn't long before I was so consumed with God and hungry for learning more. I really was transformed in a very short time. I started attending a non-denominational church on a regular basis along with small groups. There was such a desire to know God more deeply and to talk about Him constantly. This was all so new for me. I never had any desire to go to church, learn about God, or do anything the least bit "religious". I learned things I never understood or comprehended. I don't fault my home church. I just hadn't had any heart conversion. I did not love my Savior. I didn't even know Him, though He knew me. God sent many people into my life over the years that were prayer warriors for me. My neighbor often invited me to church and prayed for my "little family" as she called it. She become a mentor to me and was so ecstatic about my turn to Christ. We talked for hours and she answered so many questions for me. I still consider myself a baby Christian as there is so much to understand about God. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I study.
Not long after my transformation, I went to my first job interview EVER without a tranquilizer. I was 52 years old! I had always needed a tranquilizer to get through an interview process due to my anxiety. I went to that interview without and got the job! There was a confidence that I had never had before. There was a feeling of peace and calmness. I was not affected by the judgement of others any longer. It has been a long-time issue for me in every situation. People prone to anxiety often feel at the mercy of what others think of them. Others determine their value. I finally understood the love of Christ for me and it freed me to be confident in that. My Savior loved me so much. He saw my value, just as he sees the value in every human being. We are all special and unique in His sight. That love sustained me and changed me. It opened my eyes to see the world they way He sees it...with love and compassion.
In 2017, I started to journal about my desire to paint prophetically. For some reason, I was very drawn to this notion. I discussed it with my small group friends, who encouraged me to draw during church or during our small group meetings. They were so positive. I know God lit this passion within me because I had not painted since college, nor did I have any desire to. I did have an Art minor, but never really did anything with it. I just always loved Art. As a child, I wanted crafts and art supplies for gifts. I took Art classes in high school, too. After college, I lost interest. I no longer had any desire to paint or draw. I did do some crafty projects like painting furniture, but no fine art. That why when I started to become really interested in prophetic painting, it came as a surprise to me. God was reigniting my creative passion for His Glory! For two years I talked about it, but did nothing. I love looking back at my journals to remind me of God's faithfulness when we are obedient.
Then in 2019, Janesville was hosting a community-wide evangelism outreach hosted by Time to Revive. Two of their local missionaries were good friends of my husband and I. They knew of my desires to paint prophetically. We had many discussions about stepping out in faith and what that looks like in life. They asked me if I'd like to paint live at the event. For some reason painting live was on my heart. God was definitely chuckling at that. For a person who has social anxiety, that would have been a nightmare. I would have done anything in my power to find an excuse to get out of it. I would have worried about having a panic attack and what would I do if that happened in front of everyone?? But to the new me, I reacted differently. I was excited! and a bit scared ( I won't lie) Initially, I did not accept the invitation. I needed to think about it. My small group was so excited for me. They assumed I would say "yes". But I didn't, at least not at first. After a day, I realized that God had delivered this perfect opportunity to me. Something I had been pining for over two years. How could I say no? I had to say yes to God. At the moment, I said yes, all fear left me. I was confident in my decision. The missionaries asked me to paint live, not knowing what my artistic abilities were in the least. They asked me based on my desires. I had to go buy craft paints and brushes as I truly had not painted in 40 years! So, here I am, a person who has been delivered from severe anxieties and panic attacks getting up in front of a crowd of 600 to paint live for the first time since college. Only God within me could take on that challenge. I listened to two worship songs over and over for hours the days before I painted. "Whisper" by Jason Upton and "New Wine" by Hillsong. Those songs spoke to me. I planned on drawing out my design before I painted, but God had me erase it and write the word TRUST on my canvas. I painted twice over the course of the outreach. Both paintings were breathtaking, in my opinion. Mainly due to what I witnessed God do within me. I was so humbled. He gave me the supernatural confidence to paint live. I had zero anxiety while painting. I remember singing along to the worship songs while painting. There was such peace in it.
I have not painted live since. I know I will again someday, because I still have that desire. Right now, I am concentrating on bringing God's hope and encouragement to others through my art. I enjoy hearing when someone is touched by a painting and I have many concepts and titles in my journal. I am so humbled by what God has done in my life. He has changed it around completely. Now, I live to serve Him and bring Him Glory with my paintings. I hope to capture His heart in each one.