Some of my art is in a local gallery. Wonderful, right One teeny, tiny problem. Galleries have requirements for hanging art. My digital collage did not meet the gallery’s requirements. A miscommunication with my printer resulted in much anxiety for me. What to do? I took my art to a local framer and they were so helpful in correcting the problem.
Everything was perfect. Two weeks later, when I went in to the gallery and looked at my art, I was shocked and dismayed. My beautiful print was hanging the wrong way. it wasn’t the local framer’s fault. I was so worked up, I just told them to pick which way they would hang the print. Now what could I do? I couldn’t sell this piece of art hanging the wrong way. Again, I fretted about what to do. Would the gallery even allow me to take my art down to correct the problem? Would the framer be willing to redo it? Would…? Well, you get the picture. Due to other commitments, I couldn’t get back to take care of this until today. Would they be willing to correct the problem, how long would it take? Would the gallery let me take my art down even if I could return it the same day? More concerns. You know what? It was all for nothing. The framer said bring it in and we will take care of it right away. The gallery said go ahead. It took longer to drive back and forth than it did to correct the problem. All that upset and worry for nothing!
Life is like that. Sometimes we get so focused on a problem, and all the potential things that could go wrong that we never stop to ask for help or consider what could go right! Yes, I made a mistake. If I had talked to the framer and the gallery the same day that I had noticed the problem, all of my stewing and fretting could have been avoided. Hopefully I will remember this lesson when the next problem happens.
I lost my focus and allowed worry to take over.
When we change our focus from the problem to the Lord, there really is peace and strength to stand in the storms of life.
I do not know of a single person that has not faced losing someone or something dear to them. A parent, spouse, child or friend. In these uncertain times, loss of a job, house, car, or of an opportunity. The list could go on and on. Whatever the loss is, it is very real and very painful. In terms of value and worth, is the loss of a person more devastating than the loss of a job? The loss of a job more devastating than the loss of a beloved pet?
Many would say the loss of a person is way more heartbreaking than the loss of a job. Yet, if you were that person that got laid off, would you be able to shrug off that loss with a laugh and deny feeling any pain or anxiety about how to feed your family and pay the bills? Of course not. Each loss is overwhelming when it happens. The grief felt is no less than the grief felt in any situation where something near and dear is taken away.
How do you handle grief? It is different for everyone. For me, it is going to God’s Word, especially the Psalms, listening to worship music, and creating my digital collage art. The grief is there and tears still come. I know that healing comes with time, but in the early stages of grief, the only thing I can cling to is the love of Jesus, and the knowledge that tears can be healing. Once, when I was grieving about something, yet feeling as if my tears showed a lack of faith, the Lord spoke to my heart and reminded me that He created tears ducts and that tears brought healing.
Rest in peace, Brother Pussnboots. You were a good boy.
If you have checked out my blog, you know I post on Thursday. Yet, today is Saturday. What happened? Life happened.Business happened. Problems happened. My art is in a local gallery for April thru June. It is run by the local artist guild called Three Rivers. I work there two half days each month. No problem here
So, what went wrong? My desktop computer, where I create all my art had a major problem. I was unable to back up my work. Huge problem for a digital artist! Took it in last Tuesday and found out I probably won’t get it back until the coming Monday.
Life is full of disappointments. Some are small, you barely even notice them. However, there are things that upset your whole life. My computer was only one event that had turned my life upside down this last week. Work flow interrupted, serious decisions to make, what else could go wrong? Don’t ask.
I would love to have a simple, uncomplicated life. Just creating art and reading books. Throw in a pot of tea and I am totally happy. That isn’t life. What helped me through this week? Worship and prayer, time spent with the Lord pouring out my heart pain, yet making the decision to praise Him and hide His Word in my heart. Sometimes getting through just one day seems impossible. Life seems impossible. I just held on to Jesus, knowing that strength would be given when needed. Impossible becomes possible. Does this mean I am carefree, happy, and all problems have been solved? No. It just means life will go on, but I am not alone and I am loved. I will make it through today even though I didn’t get my computer back!
My blog’s title is Art, Faith and Life. The last couple of days have been a wild, crazy mixture of both. If you have looked at my Faith Art and book or read some of my blogs, you know that I am a Christian. I have hope in the good times and in the bad times. Being a believer does not mean a trouble-free life. Yesterday and today have been filled with calls to the doctor and to the local animal hospital. Human and cat both needing help. Add in art, mentoring classes, teaching, learning to drive a new car and all the hundred-and-one things of everyday life, I have had it. I want to run away.
Then it happened. As I was taking the cat (again) to the animal hospital for treatment, this song came on the radio: Tobymac and Help is On the Way! Isn’t God’s timing great. Here I was, fussing and stewing, when I heard the lyrics of this song. I changed from complaining to praying and praising. Although I have to confess that I did tell the Lord I wasn’t very happy with certain things. I also had a few more lapses, when I caught myself whining. The important thing is not that we have these thoughts and feelings, but what we do with them. Dwell on, stew, fret, and accept the negative or refuse to dwell, stew, fret and reject those thoughts and feelings? Substitute the negative with praise, music, prayer, Scripture, or in my case, writing this blog! Try it. You will see a difference in your life.
TJust like a traditional collage artist, I build my digital collage compositions layer by layer. An important component is texture. Since my art is digital, I cannot go out and buy paper or embellishments to use in my collage. That means I need to create “papers” to use for depth, color and texture. Some textures that I create are very simple and others end up as a multi-layer piece of art. I rarely have an exact idea of what texture I want to end up with. I start playing with photos, brushes, blending modes and filters.
Some of the textures or backgrounds take almost as much time to create as one of my digital collage pieces. I have to confess that part of the time I just cannot stop playing with color, blending modes, filters, or brushes! I’ll create a cool and warm version or a light and dark version of the same texture and save both versions because I just cannot decide.
You do not need graphic software or even be an artist to have some fun creating your own unique papers. Use mixed media or watercolor paper if you are going to use anything wet as it will hold up better. This doesn’t have to be expensive. Use what you have around the house. Paint, crayons, food coloring, coffee grounds, colored pencils, stencils or anything else you can think of. This would be a fun project to include the whole family. When finished with your “paper” here are some ideas for you: make your own collage, take a photo and post it on social media, frame it, make an old-fashioned card and snail-mail it to a friend. I am sure you can think of others projects! Have fun.
The digital collage below is called "Hidden." It started out as a background texture layer. The more I played with it, the more I liked it. I decided to have it printed on white metal, which gives it a richness and depth of color you have to see to really appreciate! This is one of my art pieces that has been in a local gallery.
According to the calendar, it is supposed to be Spring in my part of the world. Gray skies and rain pouring down this week does not feel or look like Spring. However, it is tulip festival time at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm. I probably won’t make it this year, but I have been there in the past and taken multiple photos.
I do not claim to be a photographer, but I do try to take my own photos to use in my digital collage art. I love nature, especially scenes involving water and plants. Tulips are so colorful and varied, I cannot help taking way more photos than I can possible use!
I challenged myself to pick a photo and create something new with it. Maybe a textured background to use in another collage or maybe something abstract. The most difficult thing about this challenge was picking one photo. I finally chose the one below, taken in 2019. I will be posting what I did to complete this challenge on my Facebook page: LLeeM Digital Collage Art.
I am challenging you to take a photo and turn it into something different. Turn it into a family project and involve your kids or do it with a friend. Email me a photo of your project and I will post it on my blog. (Subject to my review. Family-friendly only please.) If you would like to use the same tulip photo I will be using, click on Download File below for a free download.
Do you keep lists? I do. Sometimes I actually write down on paper (yes, good old-fashioned paper) things I need to do. Usually, I just verbally go over what I need to do or hope to do and yes, I am one of those people that talk to themselves. I have a calendar in my office where I write down the REALLY important things, things I would like to forget but cannot. Think doctor appointments, bills that are due, you know, things like that.
March seems to be full of Things I Must Do, but Don’t Really Want to Do type of stuff. All I really want to do is lose myself in my art. Hours and hours of creating whatever I want. Taking ordinary items and photos and turning them into something unique and original. Except, I cannot. I have duties and responsibilities. Meetings to attend. People to meet. Housework to do. The weeds in my garden mock me every time I go outside. They are everywhere.
I can only put off things for so long. Like taxes. You can ignore doing your taxes for months, but you cannot stop time. April 15th is coming. So, what do I do? Ignore everything for my art? That works for a while, but eventually life goes on. Instead, I use the reward system. Do something I do not want to do, then reward myself with some digital collage art time. Yes, I am an artist, but I also have responsibilities. We all have things we need to do and things we want to do. Why not have a little fun and play the game of Rewards. You know the game. Do something you do not want to do, have been procrastinating in getting done, ignoring, whining… Put together a list of rewards. My list includes my art, reading a book, a cup of tea, playing 3 games (well, probably a dozen) games of Spider Solitaire (almost mindless clicking), well, you get the idea. I get the jobs done I need to need and get to do what I really want to do without any guilt involved.
The digital collage below was created during my reward times. My reward for doing Things I Have to Do. It is called World Throne.
I was a registered nurse for 40 years and a charge nurse for about 30 years. I had to remain calm, be able to set priorities and delegate. Dealing with patients, staff and other departments was never easy. In fact, there were many times when I felt like crying or screaming, or both. I never did. At least not at work.
You would think my training would carry over to other areas of my life. I would be able to deal with any crisis in a calm, logical manner. Critical thinking, use of resources, planning-need I go on? Well, some of that did rub off, but I have a confession to make. I am absolutely terrified of any electrical problems and any car problems related to strange fluids showing up where there shouldn’t be any or loud, abnormal noises.
No electrical problems, at least, not lately. Not the sparking, is it going to catch on fire, should I panic problems. Just had to take my computer in just after the power came back on after the ice storm. Not too thrilled about that. Need my computer and software working as I am a digital artist. No computer, no art. No online connection, no mentoring or art classes. Got my computer back yesterday. Working just fine, thank you. Happy artist here.
At least, I was happy until I moved my car and noticed a rainbow where there shouldn’t be a rainbow. On my driveway. One of those strange fluid leaks. Call shop and get emergency appointment. Drive car one block and hear loud (and I do mean loud) grinding and clattering noises. Stopped and pulled over immediately. Very thankful no one right behind me, as I would have probably been hit. What to do? What to do? Afraid to restart the car, but I had at least 12 more miles to get to the automotive shop.. Totally clueless and facing one of my worst fears. I did the only thing I could do. I started praying. I prayed all the way over to the automotive shop. I did not hear any more noises nor did any warning lights come on.
Did the sense of panic go away immediately? No. I fought to change the focus from how I felt to God. I was honest about my feelings. (God knows what we feel and think, but we have to admit to a problem before we can get help.) As the miles went by, I continued to pray, reaching out to Jesus as a child would to a parent. I am still waiting to find out about my car, but I am not going to spend the time worrying. I am going to go and do some digital collage art!
Below are some words from the Lord given to me during church over two years ago. I just "happened" to come across them in my journal while I was looking for something else.
There are storms caused by the weather and there are storms of life. I have been dealing with both the last several days. The outside storm was that of snow, freezing rain and ice. That meant power outages, which meant no internet or smartphone. Cut off. My world became cold, dark, and silent. I experience a world without social media! Not always a bad thing, except when you are an artist with websites, a blog and social media business sites.
Well, my power is back on, but not my internet connection. My Mother has a different internet provider, so I am “borrowing” her computer to post this. I feel so blessed to finally have heat and a cold refrigerator. The neighbors bought a generator and let us put our food in their extra refrigerator and kept bringing hot food over to us. One day I hope to get caught up on the ordinary things that most people grumble about doing, like dishes and laundry. I made a promise to myself (probably a foolish one) that I would not grumble about doing those household chores again.
However bad the weather gets; the storms of life can be equally devastating. Health problems, dealing with Covid-19 restrictions, making connections with service personal that are dealing with the storm aftereffects and Covid-19, pets that do not understand why their comfortable routine was interrupted, not knowing when I will get my car back (long story), and… Need I go on?
Yet through all of this, there have been blessings. Rays of light in a dark time. A neighbor coming over with a plate of hot food, a personal heat source in the form of a cat sleeping on my lap, having a solar/crank radio for music, a late Valentine’s Day card from a friend. The greatest blessing and ray of hope through all of this has been the Word of God, especially Psalm 23 and 91. To know that I am never alone, not forgotten and loved by God has been my strength in all of the storms I have gone through.
In the mentoring program I am in, it is suggested you find a mentor to help you develop as an artist. I have been thinking about my art and trying to put a more descriptive label on it so that I can find a mentor. An artist I know called my Digital Collage Art “surrealism fantasy.” I said that sounded good to me. I did a Google search for artists doing digital surrealism fantasy art, and guess what? I found art that came the closest to what I create.
Then there is my Inspirational Art. It is a little more traditional, but still different from other art I have seen called inspirational or spiritual. It is not popular quotes or Scripture combined with lovely photos(nothing wrong with that), although I do use photos in my art. The words are from my book, messages written during my worship times with Jesus or they are prayers coming from my heart. I create the digital collage art to go with the words, but unlike my “surrealism fantasy” digital collage, here I want the words to be the focus. Even though I do not fit the mainstream of inspirational or spiritual art, I love what I create.
What is the point in today’s blog? The point is that even though my art is not traditional art and does not fit the popular conception that art is painting, it is my choice. I have tried to do other styles or mediums*. It is like a door that is locked, and I do not have a key. I did a study on abstract art once. I searched the internet for abstract images. I used oil pastels or colored pencils and a 100-page sketchpad and filled that whole sketchpad with abstract designs. When finished, I only liked about 2 of them. I put the pad away and forgot about it. Years later, I threw it out. Since then, I have done some abstract digital art, not deliberately, but because of experimenting. I know abstract art is popular, but it is not my choice.
Some things in life we have no choice. A choice is made for us and we must accept it. However, there are areas where we can decide. The key is in knowing the difference and when to accept the situation or to try and change it. Will I change my art style, to be more mainstream? Maybe creating landscapes or do portraits (Scowls. That is a whole different story!) using a different medium No, I will not. Will I seek to grow as an artist, learning more about my chosen medium? Definitely. I have choices to make. I know what can be changed and what cannot, at least as related to my art! Are you facing some choices? Are you willing to make changes or are you unwilling? Are you unable to make changes? If so, how are you dealing with that?
*Medium: the material an artist chooses to create their art.
Speaking of choices... If you choose to become a Member, check out the free Valentine's downloads on my Member's page. See my Home page for Email Contact information.
Click on "Comments" to post a comment on my blog.