I was delighted the previous afternoon when Debbie at Arts on the Avenue asked if I could have a painting ready for her gallery's art show - the deadline at 5:00 the following Friday. That meant only seven days to start and finish a painting for my first art show.
I seriously questioned if I could do it in just seven days. I also tend to be a bit up tight when it comes to releasing a painting before I think its ready. There is always one more thing I could've done, should've done, or just want to do ... and I hang on. Often too long.
As I prayed about it and laid all my questions and doubts before the Lord, it was obvious I was not living the life of faith ... simple child-like faith. Too many questions and what ifs dominated my thoughts but within a couple of hours I decided to go for it and trust God with the outcome. The worst that could happen - I spend seven days working long hours to meet a deadline and "birth" this painting only to have Debbie tell me, "This is UGLY! Have you thought of selling pencils on the streetcorner?"
I painted for seven days and all night Thursday night to meet the deadline. Slept for a couple of hours Friday morning and started painting again. Husband was wonderful support, bringing me lunch and preparing evening meals and giving me the freedom to stay on task. My prayer sisters and friends prayed and frequently inquired about the progress.
Simon, our cat, offered his usual support, always by my side. His personality is more like a dog and he loves to play fetch. A stray we picked up at a hotel in north Georgia nine years ago, he's grateful and co-dependent as he birdwatches from his perch beside my easel. My studio's large north facing windows provide the perfect light for painting and Simon's favorite hang out. Each day I head upstairs and call to him, "Simon, it's time to go to work." He scampers up the stairs, often carrying his favorite fetch toy. While I work he naps and enjoys the life outside the window. When he thinks I've worked enough he jumps in my lap and swats my paint brush. It flies and spins through the air, leaving Simon's embellishment on the canvas before it falls to the floor.
"Would you like me to take a look? You have a difficult time knowing when to let it go and declare a painting, finished."
Letting go.... The painting is about learning to let go and trust God. I thought about my struggle to release my art as I painted the final highlights on our granddaughter's balloon. Oswald Chambers says, "(Our life) is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow. God is aiming at something (we) can not see... He goes on stretching till His purpose is in sight, then He lets fly. Trust yourself in God's hands.... Faith is not a pathetic sentiment, but robust vigorous confidence built on the fact that God is holy love" (May 8, My Utmost for His Highest). My thoughts returned to the events that inspired this painting.
Our little granddaughter loves to eat at a local cafeteria and after the meal her papa takes her to get a helium balloon from the waitress. She chooses the color and the two of them return to our table amidst the smiles of onlookers as she dances around with her treasure bobbing just above her head. The challenge is getting it safely home.
We arrived at granddaughters house with her treasured balloon one evening and I left her outside with Papa. A few minutes later, I returned to find her treasure gently floating off on a wind current, a tiny speck in the sky. "What happened?"
Rather sheepishly Papa said, "She wanted to release it. I told her she couldn't get it back. We let it go."
Our emphatic little angel whirled around and demanded, "I want it back." Her parents soon returned and as her mother dressed her for bed her anger had changed to sadness. "Mama, I can't believe my balloon is really gone."
The next week we're back at the cafeteria and then to our house to hunt Easter eggs. This time we have a new balloon...a bright purple one.
"I'm sorry; it is gone."
"Climb the tree. You can get it Papa."
"It's too high. The balloon is gone."
My camera shutter opened and closed on the ensuing argument between two children, ages 3 and 58. "But Papa, I KNOW you can get it...." My greatest concern was he would break his neck trying....
Tonight is the show at *Art on the Avenue, Fine Art Gallery. My first chance to exhibit my work. "God is aiming at something I can not see"... and this I know, "He is Holy love." I let it go and there are no regrets.
original acrylic painting
Artist: Jan Gray
*Art on the Avenue, Fine Art Gallery
2368 Ingleside Avenue
Macon, Ga. 31204
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pictures and text copyright Janice E. Gray 2013