Thursday, April 4, 2019

In the beginning...

April 4, 2019

This is my first-ever blog, trying to put into words the extraordinary journey that has been taking place over the last 2 1/2 years.   I'm sitting in my office (aka interior design studio) that is now crammed to the gill with canvases, watercolor pads and tubs full of acrylic and oil paints.  The walls are now covered in paintings.  Near the printer is a large vision board with a map of Africa.  It carries the title in bold letters, "5000 Wells."  My office is quite the reflection of what has happened in my life over the last few years.

Out of seemingly nowhere, I began to have a desire to paint.  I'm not talking about something casual or hobbyish but rather something that started to intrigue me that quickly turned to driving me.  As I had never (to my remembrance) even picked up a paint brush (knowing talent was not awaiting me), this whole desire seemed ridiculous.  And where was it coming from?  And why?  I began to seek the Lord about it.  I said "Lord, if this desire is going to continue to burn in me, You're going to have to give me something to work with." 

I took my first class at Salem College with a sweet group of ladies who have gathered weekly for years to paint and fellowship.  I quickly realized it was not a class for someone who had never picked up a brush and my teacher also realized there was a "gap.”  She recommended looking online at basic newbie classes, which I did.  It's amazing what's now available online ~ some of the classes were expensive down to some favorite freebies.  And thus it began.

At first, I would trash 8 paintings for every 10.  I realized months later that my ratio was improving, and I was now running 5 to 5.  Actually, many of the 5 saved were eventually trashed or reworked as I improved, but it did feel like slow progress was being made.  The desire to paint never lessened.  In fact, it increased.  I remember lying in bed at 2 in the morning, not able to think about anything other than painting, until I finally had to get up and do something about it!

I was spending tons of money on paints, canvases and lessons, and wondering where all of this was heading and for what purpose when the Lord spoke to me about Hydrating Humanity.  It is a well-digging, non-profit organization that was started by my pastor years ago.  It has turned into a large ministry with over 600 completed wells.  When a well is dug for a school in Africa, the parents and families are invited for the dedication, and the “Jesus” film is shown in their language.  So not only do they receive fresh, accessible water, but they now have access to the Living Water!

The Lord spoke to me about donating a portion of the proceeds from painting sales to Hydrating Humanity.  For the first time, I had a sense of purpose, not to mention diminishing some of the guilt over the growing expenditures.  I also had a sense that out there somewhere, there would be opportunity to gather other like-minded artists to form a group called "Artists on a Mission.”  More to follow on that.

I have been working on a website and am getting ready to send out a colorful mailer to my interior design customers, hopefully this coming week.  Pulling the trigger on this has always been so far in the future.  It's hard to believe it's almost here.  

More to follow…

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