I think I have always known my mom to be creating. Any stray piece of paper, church bulletin, grocery list, napkin or notebook in my mom’s vicinity would be covered in doodles. When it came to crafts, church projects, props used for playing pranks on their friends or Halloween costumes, mom always had a unique flair. In the hands of my mother, cinnamon sticks, toilet paper rolls and even the toilet paper itself would be transformed into acceptable, conversation worthy ornaments or gifts.
Although evidence of her amazing creativity could seen throughout my life, it was not until she began painting that I realized she was an artist. Mom started painting sometime around my middle school years. She took part in art classes and spent many hours practicing her techniques. The garage, kitchen or spare room would serve as her “art studio”. I have memories of mom at her easel, paint splattered over her hands, her tongue gently resting at the edge of her lips in concentration.
Some artists paint from the recesses of their imaginations; bright colors or brush strokes attempting to communicate an emotion or idea. My Mom was an observer. She took in her surroundings and appreciated the scenery God placed before her. Canvasses of every shape and size were often covered with re-creations of nature. She paid attention to the details of everything from birds, ducks and horses to old buildings, bridges or landscapes. One reoccurring source of inspiration came from the shores of Pensacola, Florida. Sugar white sand dunes, laced with thin rows of sea oats, leading to the white tipped waves of the Gulf of Mexico, were beautifully portrayed in her work. Over the years these, flowing landscapes, usually framed in weathered wood, became treasured wedding gifts for family and friends.
My mom has never sold her work. Although some have been donated for various causes, Mom’s paintings were almost always gifts. Today, her numerous works of art hang in the homes of family and friends throughout the United States. Each one is a testament to the artist who created them.
Artists reveal a lot about themselves in their creations. Without ever meeting my mother, a study of her handiwork would tell you much about her. Her paintings echo her journey as an artist, each successive endeavor showing evidence of increased skill. They reflect her attention to visual details and her love for the painting’s intended recipient. Each of her paintings are framed expressions of her love of God and His beautiful creation.
If shallow layers of colored acrylic painted on tightly drawn canvas can reveal the heart of an artist, imagine all God reveals to us through His multifaceted creation. God shows Himself in raging storms, quiet dawns, majestic mountains and powerful seas. His care and provision for His creation is found in everything from the movement of the earth, sun and moon to the cycles of life around us.
Sometimes, when things are not going as I expected in my life, I wonder where God is, or if He is paying attention. But I am reminded as I look out my window, the tips of tree branches, bright green with the hope of new growth and shiny from the day’s steady rain, my God is shouting at me through His creation, “I am here, I love you, I am God and worthy of praise!”
Psalm 19:1 “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” NAS
Lord, help not to miss the glory of you as I go throughout my days.
All that is around me is a stroke of your brush; you’re an artist worthy of praise.
Cast off the distractions that come my way and help me stay alert.
Strengthen my faith as I witness each day the evidence of your handiwork.