What a Sweet Place
Can I just brag about my city for a bit? Allow me to introduce you to Loveland, the Sweetheart City, and how we were led to move here in 1999. It has been a journey of the providence and love of God.
In the late 90's we lived in the northern metro area of Denver. My husband, Brad, had transferred from working as an air traffic controller at the Denver Airport, to the en route center in Longmont, where I was a controller. We wanted to move north, to be closer to work and away from the city. We looked in Longmont, but Loveland (about 20 miles north of Longmont) kept drawing us. I loved the reputation it had as an art community.
Loveland was known for its sculptures, but it had little else. A couple art galleries downtown among several flea markets. A Friday night art-walk was just getting started, thanks to Billie Colson, owner of Independence Gallery. It reminds me of a wise word written thousands of years ago: "Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin."
My life in Loveland was full of work, family, our house, garden, church and Bible study (there's a lot of really great stuff in there!). I didn't have room for much else. I loved visiting the summer art festivals (Sculpture in the Park and Art in the Park) when I could. Seeing the artwork filled my heart and soul.
In 2013, I felt God telling me that I would retire when I was eligible (2015) and He would bring me back to my first love - art. I wasn't sure what that meant, but I knew it was Him leading me, so I knew I could trust it.
How did I know God was telling me and leading me? It wasn't communication by spoken word or a text message (wouldn't that be convenient?). When God speaks to me, it's more of a stirring in my spirit, in my "knower". I just know that I know.
My art skills were kind of rusty, so before I retired, I took a few drawing classes at a great art school in downtown Loveland. Once I retired, I began to play in all different mediums. I love so many, I didn't know where to land.
At church, the prayer pastor heard that I was an artist. She invited me to paint at Healing Prayer on Saturday mornings. Because acrylic dries quickly, it became my main squeeze, so to speak, paint tube-wise.
My skills and reputation grew. I began painting at worship events and conferences. It was a blast. I loved how God could show me one thing in my painting, and yet He spoke uniquely to each person who saw it. He knows our hearts, and He is always reaching His love toward us, in so many ways.
Fast forward to 2022. My art changed through the pandemic, as I transitioned to my studio, instead of painting live. Many other things changed through the pandemic too. Because I was no longer painting at live events, my role in Loveland art was in the steering committee in the Loveland Artists Collective. We not only survived, but we thrived through the last two years.... another chapter of God's providence in the arts in Loveland.
In January 2022, the Loveland Artists Collective joined the Thompson Valley Art League (TVAL). Together, we are pioneering a new art community in Northern Colorado. We are bringing the great qualities of the two groups together.
Last Friday was the Opening Reception for the Members' Show at the Lincoln Gallery, which is owned and operated by TVAL. All members were eligible to be in the show. As Membership Chair of TVAL, I was responsible for running the show. The only problem was, I had only a few weeks to do it and I had never run a gallery show before. Many questions ran through my head: How does it work? Would artists come? Would they bring artwork? Were we going to end up with empty walls?? What am I doing??
Here's where our amazing art community comes in. The Lincoln Gallery director, Jill Atchison, along with TVAL president Linda Renaud, led me through it. I wasn't in this alone. On art drop-off day, the artists SHOWED UP. So much so that I was concerned whether we would be able to fit all the artwork in the show.
It worked! It was amazing. Artists came. Buyers came. We celebrated. It is a great show, go see it soon. It comes down March 3.
Nine years ago, when God told me He would be with me in art in Loveland, I had no idea what that would look like. I can see His hand in it; God loves creativity and He loves Loveland. I still hear Him in my spirit and He says it’s gonna be good.
When we give God our "yes", He can do great things, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.