I am a Maker

Like my Creator I too have been given the blessing of being able to create. I have been given hands that can hold my instruments, and a mind that can see things that are not yet there. I have seen beauty beget beauty and deep searing pain beget beauty. I have seen that which seems impossible and made it so. I make words work together. I make small beautiful things to adorn people and places.

I work on my artistry and craft for the same reason I write here…for therapy. Every piece has held, helped, and healed a moment in my life that was joyful or painful. Each piece I have crafted is a monument to my desire to make beautiful things as I have been made into a beautiful thing. To remind others that though they adorn their homes and themselves with my work, they have been adorned with a souls, crafted by the greatest hands of an Almighty Craftsman.

I work to remind the world, that if you want beautiful things you must…absolutely must….stop starving the artists.

Below is a collection of some of my small adornments. They are a combination of metals and natural materials. If you’d like to see more you’re welcome to visit my business Facebook page.

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Art

An artist will never

Truly find their work perfect

Which is why every

Work of art

Is just an eternal

Work in progress

ArtistsĀ 

Why is it that when people decide they want to be artists, we choose to starve them? Why do we take advantage of their talent? Why do we laugh at them?

In life we demand beauty as an ideal. We want beautiful things. So why do we crush those who merely want to make beautiful things for us to enjoy? Who want to bring us happiness? 

I wish I could understand why people demand these things, but don’t wish to support those who offer it. 

Artistic Mistakes

“There are no mistakes in art…at least that’s what the instructor told me.” They had been bantering for a while now about some wine tasting and painting evening one of the waitresses had gone on over the weekend. I was eavesdropping. Enjoying their conversation while I sat at the diner bar, waiting for my food quietly. 


“There are no mistakes in art.” 


I pondered that statement as I stuffed my face with my bacon cheeseburger and fries. Was it true? Were there mistakes or just “happy accidents” like Bob Ross would say? Would he even say that? Am I thinking of “happy trees?” My thoughts digressed as I stuffed my face. 


Revisiting the thought again, I looked back on my own experience with design. Each project had a driving force behind it that couldn’t be deviated from. Our artistry had a purpose. It had an end in mind. To deviate from that end, or to have a weak end was a mistake. That’s why we did group critiques. To help weed out the bad from the good. To improve the work. To move us forward in a stronger direction. Yes. We made mistakes. Glorious mistakes. Beautiful mistakes. But, we did not fret because of them. They did not harm us or weaken us if we chose to learn from them. 


But does that relate to art? What is the goal of art alone? Works that have no objective but to exist or let the artist create are not the same as designs that demand particular results. Were there mistakes in artistry? 


I think back again to commissioned portraits. They had a goal as well. To depict a persons likeness in beauty. To adorn walls as a reminder of who possesses the estate those walls belonged to. They were masterpieces. Critically acclaimed or not, they were works of the Renaissance. Work of the Romantic. The kind of pieces that now adorn museums with placards. Revolutions on canvas. Those were also pieces where mistakes could not be afforded. Much like architecture is artistry that can be dealt if they fail, those works were deadly to the reputation of the artists if they held mistakes. They were costly in time as well as money. Those pieces perhaps had no mistakes, because they could not be afforded. But were mistakes made on them during the process!


No artist in their right mind would admit it. 


I have no answers. Perhaps it is a question that doesn’t need answering? Situations differ. People creat art for different reasons. I might be over thinking it, as I often do. It was merely a statement that my curiosity had to run with. 

Artist’s Wife’s Favorite

I poured myself into those images. I wanted to live in them. To breath in their dust. To be inside that velvet canvas. To live in the colors of those pastels. That kind of calm. That kind of beauty.

“Where do you want to go now?” She asked as she pulled out of the garage door of the Quick Lube and proceeded to take a left toward down town. I sighed heavily. Where was there to go next? This town seemed so much sleepier now that the cold had set in its bones and caused it to curl up and sleep. Summers are hard enough to find things to do for a twenty-something-year-old. I pondered.

What hadn’t I done in a long enough time that I felt it was worth doing again? What kinds of things had I done when I lived here in my childhood? How didn’t I die of boredom? Things were different then. I wasn’t burnt out on work. I had energy for what sleep I fought relentlessly as a child. I had the mind of a dreamer. One that could cast a scene of dragons across the sky when it desired. Perhaps that mind still lived somewhere? I didn’t know where anymore, but it must have been somewhere.

She kept driving as I pondered. She was silent. Waiting eagerly for an idea. I looked at the old houses as we passed by. Each one still holding the stately dignity that they held when first built in the mid 1800s. What a time it must have been to live in. Victorian towers seen from the hilltop only towered over by church steeples. Now both structures are in the shadow of shipbuilding companies and the Brewery. I remembered the first time I had ever seen the inside of a mansion. I was only 7 and I had finally convinced my parents that we should go to the Mansion after the Memorial Day Parade.

The Mansion is one of the oldest houses in town, from one of the richest families in the area. It stands there to this day, in all it’s Victorian splendor, just as it did when it was first completed. The furniture is still there just as it was after the old widow threw herself from the second floor, realizing she was the last one left of her family and unable to survive the loneliness. Now it stands as a beautifully morbid museum, paired with an art gallery addition that often contrasted the subtle tone of sorrow and death beneath the extravagance of the Mansion’s decor.

It was the hub of the artistic community in our area…or what little of one there was. The gallery held annual events and classes, while the museum was open to visitors curious about the life and times of the late residence. Every Christmas members of the community would volunteer their time and decorate a room for in whatever Christmas theme they desired. Often times the gallery was full of famous Wisconsin born artists that most people have never heard of. I came once for a Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit a few years ago. It was just about the only event I had ever been to that wasn’t shrouded in obscurity.

“Let’s go to Christmas at the Mansion.” I suggested. She agreed.

This years Christmas decor wasn’t all that exciting. I walked around the rooms and halls gazing at each tree. Only one felt like it belonged in the hand urge of the home, but the rest were cheesier and cheesier the more you walked. Each CandyLand and Santa themed tree that clashed with the dark wood and rich furnishings caused a little piece of my heart to die. Thankfully they left the original paintings that the former family had owned on the walls, and many of them were renaissance paintings purchased for their private collection by the husband, who had a deep love affair with artwork until his unexpected death. The women in their flowing gowns and beautifully styled hair always fascinated me.

Finally we left the Mansion for the gallery space. The featured artists was a man named Johann Berthelsen. Each of his pieces was a kind of still life scene of busy streets and landscapes all with an almost mist cast over them. Snowy depictions of New York City were persistent, and each beautifully done. It was incredible. The colors were so striking, and yet, so subdued. There was an obvious life to each image, but a kind of softness that glamorized the ordinary. I found myself enthralled with each piece more and more, until I saw the very last painting in the far left corner of the room. I whispered to my mother “This one. This is the one I want to be in.” I looked at the tile and all that stuck with me was “Favorite of the Artist’s Wife.”

I cannot find an image of it on Google. Part of me wonders if I had dreamt it. There was nothing particularly interesting about the image, other than it was an obvious harbor, with industrial buildings in the background, silhouetted in a haze making such an ordinary place look like a dream. A romantic dream. The kind that takes your breath from your chest and fills it with the essence of life it’s self. I could have wasted my life in front of that pastel, and would have done so gladly if it meant I didn’t have to waste it in the midst of this sleepy town.

I long for that place of my own.

Redemption and Relief

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I am a follower as well as a seeker. A faithful Christ follower, with a deep heart that is easily full of pain and doubt, yet I cannot run from the one who made me. I cannot keep myself from the one who delivered me from the pain in my heart by providing a hope for the future. Yet I cannot help but continually say to myself “Damn, I suck at this whole Christian thing.” Because I do. We all do at some point. We are failures, covered by grace. Grace we so desperately need.

I work with a Christina Literary magazine called Relief Journal. It is strange and wonderful to be the kind of person who struggles with faith, but works with other, much stronger Believers, an that has been a great blessing. But, what has been even more of a blessing, are some of the writers who offer their work to Relief, and some of the artists that I have had the pleasure of contacting for cover artistry. They too have offered a great deal of insight into the mess of faith, and that has been a great deal of…well….relief….to me as a believer who gets caught up in the state of the world right now. The one 2 Timothy describes in chapter 3:

1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9 But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.

Relief has offered me solace in a world of pretenders. People who have caught up in the “appearance of godliness” but see church and faith as a means of social climbing. As a means of self gratification. Relief strays away from the “Christianese” and eloquent words that so many frauds use, and puts faith plainly. It takes away the pastel pretty you see in paintings of Christ, and offers the contrast abstract of blood, gore, and death, that helped offer me life. It offers me real people, with real thoughts and feelings, who let go of the “faith filters” and put out their hard questions for God. The ones who seek. The ones who cry out: “Why the @#”$ me? What the @#”$ God?”

It offers me others, who are just as much of a mess as I am. Who come havering been judged by all the wrong people, but care more so about what God thinks of them. The ones with scars on their wrists, and tattoos on their arms. The ones with story’s to tell, stories to keep to themselves, and prayers their hearts bleed.

Currently I am looking for cover art for the next two issues. I have had only one response to my request for art samples, and it is proving good, but I would ideally like to have a few other artists so I can make a schedule line up. It stressful. It’s frustrating. I mean, let’s face it, artists don’t often willingly put heir artwork out there often. Some cling to it like a child, one who is prone to running away. Far away. To be ruined and torn. To be tarnished and corrupted. It’s been a very long haul. Only a month into the search and I’m already feeling defeated. Thankfully, God knows how to provide, and He will on His own terms…no matter how much it pisses me off.

You should check us out: reliefjournal.com Always looking for writers. If you’re interested in offering any artwork for the cover, leave a comment below and I can give you more info as to how to submit.