Last week, I delivered my piece, Conversation, to an art show here in Loveland. The show is titled Influences. It is a show that has had artwork accepted from the western states. Our very own Loveland Artists Collective sponsored the show. The Loveland Artists Collective has been producing wonderful shows lately, and they are growing in quality and recognition.
I created this piece, originally for another show at the beginning of the year, titled “Heart of the Book”. It wasn’t accepted into that show. That’s OK… as artists sometimes our work is accepted, many times it is not. We are at the mercy of the subjective viewpoint of the juror(s) and what type of artwork they desire for the show. Honestly, I believe this piece fits the theme of “Influences” better than “Heart of the Book”.
This piece, Conversation, is a mixed media collage on a repurposed antique stained glass window. I gathered prayer cards from church, and collaged them along with God’s answers from scripture. I coated the middle window with mirror paint, and made a portrait of Jesus, which peeks through as if the man in the mirror. Depending on the lighting, when you look into “Conversation”, you see yourself, or you might see Jesus. When the lighting is perfect, you see both yourself and Jesus. I really love this piece. It is unlike any I’ve ever done.
Ironically, the show “Influences” won’t be influencing many people in person, except the residents of ArtSpace. After agreeing to host our show, ArtSpace decided that no one but residents are allowed into their building. COVID fears. When I heard this news, I was so angry at them. And hurt. I mean, after all, they are artists too; surely artists of ArtSpace understand the importance of an art show. Our curator of the exhibition had gone through great lengths to ensure sanitation and social distancing for the show. We were told just two days before artists were to deliver their work to ArtSpace to be hung for the show. I had to pray through it. Not easy prayers. I wrestled. I called other venues downtown for possible relocations of the show. There was no room in the inns for Jesus nor any of the 22 other beautiful creations.
So we are taking it beyond the walls of ArtSpace, into a virtual art show.
While praying, wrestling, getting my anger in check, the Lord reminded me that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)
I don’t believe ArtSpace was trying to be spiteful. I believe they are just wanting to feel safe in their home. I believe they were influenced by a spirit of fear.
There are all sorts of influences operating in our culture today. Fear is a big one. Just last week, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, angry mobs of Antifa ravaged and destroyed businesses in this peaceful family midwest city. They are trying to destroy our country, using fear to influence Americans that our country needs to be demolished so that their ideology of Marxism can take over. I have more to say about this topic, and will do so in a future entry.
So… back to the “Influences” show. My piece “Conversation” was influenced by the Holy Spirit of God every step of the way, even beginning with how I came to have an old stained glass window.
In the spring of 2019, we were visiting a niece in Topeka, Kansas. Her mom (my husband’s sister) had recently passed away, just a few days before her 60th birthday. As a diversion, we went to NoTo, the arts district in Topeka. An antiques store was preparing to relocate. My niece Kayla spotted two old windows and was immediately inspired that I could do something with them. She influenced me to buy them. If it hadn’t been for Kayla, I would’ve walked right past them. I love Kayla, I love her heart. So, we measured the space in our Nissan Rogue, wrapped them up and brought them back to Colorado. They sat in our garage all summer. With pangs of guilt, I would look at them and have many second thoughts, like, what was I thinking, buying these things?? Now what am I gonna do with them? One of them was even missing some panes. Both were pretty sad looking.
Then in the fall, came the “Heart of the Book” call for entry. I prayed and tried to come up with an idea for the show. Nothing. Thanksgiving came and went, Christmas came. Still nothing. Maybe I just wouldn’t submit anything. Then, on December 26, I awoke very early in the morning with ideas tumbling all around me. As I lay in bed in the quiet stillness of the day after Christmas, my ideas germinated with life. I sprang out of bed, grabbed some coffee, and hauled the old windows up to our loft on the 2nd floor. The next four days I worked nonstop. I don’t even think I showered or left the house, except to go to Lowe’s for some mirror spray paint. This was pre-COVID, when the thought of not leaving the house for four days was unthinkable.
When I began this piece, I didn’t have the end in mind. Every morning I awoke with fresh ideas, implanted in my heart - influenced from the Holy Spirit. On the third day, I awoke with the idea to place a portrait of Jesus into the mirror.
Let me restate that:
on the third day, Jesus rose, bringing new life.
If you would like to know more about Jesus and how he saves us, click here.
I lay in bed and thought, “If only I had a good portrait of Jesus. I love the one that Akiane did several years ago, but I don’t want to use someone else’s work. Maybe I could paint it onto the back of the mirror and it will peek through? I don’t think I have time to do that…”
Then the Holy Spirit clearly told me, “You painted a beautiful portrait of me in pastels in September.” Holy cow! Or rather I should say Holy Spirit! Jesus! Yes!!
I threw back the covers, jumped out of bed, grabbed my coffee (of course!) and got to work printing up my image in the right size, color and intensity of values to peek through the mirror. When I got it in place, I cried. I had no idea where this piece was going when I began. I began out of obedience, out of love, influenced by the heart of God my Father, and the prayers of His people.
When organizing the prayer cards and drawings to be collaged, I recognized main themes of prayer. We pray for our finances. We pray for our health and the health of others. We pray for families to be reconciled and for lost children to find their way back to God. We ask God that His will be done. And sometimes in prayer we stop to thank God for all the good things He has done in our lives.
For each of these themes of prayer, I found scripture after scripture that answers these prayers:
Prayers for healing…
Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for You are my praise. -Jeremiah 17:14
Prayers about hardship…
I will love You, O Lord, my strength. My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised. -Psalm 18:1-3
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. -Romans 5:1-5
Prayers about prodigals…
Who walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely upon his God. -Isaiah 50:10
Prayers about God’s will in our lives…
I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. -Psalm 34:4
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will shall direct your paths. -Proverbs 3:5-6
When we pray, we flow in influence. Prayer is a conversation with God. He influences us as we influence His heart. He is Almighty, Powerful & Sovereign. But He also has given us free will. Influence is about relationship. The more I foster my relationship with Jesus, the greater influence He has in my life. And it’s a very very good influence. I was like that old weathered window, but now made new in Jesus Christ. If you want to know how He makes all things new and gives you eternal LIFE, click here.
For we are God's [own] handiwork (his workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]. -Ephesians 2:20 AMPC