Art can make a difference, and so can YOU! Do you believe this? Sometimes creative people underestimate the power and value they have as artists. It’s easy to lack confidence when you don’t really define yourself as “great”. That’s most of us. I certainly don’t walk around thinking about how great I am, and I doubt you do either. Even so, I’ve learned something important recently, and I want to share it with you.
Being creative can be a powerful and surprising force for good in the world!
Yes! Surprise! YOU and YOUR ART might be able to do something powerful! Your art obviously impacts you, but it can also benefit other people. Don’t dismiss this idea too quickly.
What you create doesn’t have to be great or even serious in order to have an impact.
A recent mission trip to the Bahamas illustrated this point beautifully for me. I want to share it, because I hope you’ll be encouraged to think differently about answering the call of your creative heart. ❤ 🎨
You never know where your most casual creative efforts might lead…
Here’s a surprising little story for you:
I recently went on a mission trip to the Bahamas sponsored by the Bahamas Youth Network (BYN) and First Presbyterian Church of Myrtle Beach. It was my first such trip. The Swing Mission (run by Gabe and Jan Swing) is part of the BYN effort to serve the needy and provide programs for young people in the Bahamas.
The situations we witnessed were stunning. It was impossible to see the extreme needs and not feel called to do something. Anything. What to do was another matter...
I felt capable of taking part in the mission team and doing what I was asked to do. What was needed in the moment was very straightforward. But the needs obviously went beyond what we were capable of addressing as a group during our 7-day visit.
There were so many questions that came to mind…
- Why am I so abundantly blessed when these people are so desperately poor?
- What am I supposed to be doing to make a difference?
- The problems are so big…what is my role in creating change?
These questions tugged at my heart while there, and still nag at me even now.
My Art journal became a lifeline.
Art journaling is something I like to do, especially when I travel. It helps me tune in to what I’m experiencing and record what moves me. I use my journals to paint, often incorporating writing… what’s on my mind and what stirs my heart.
On the mission trip I used my journal to meditate on the many questions and feelings that came up for me. I painted the places we went and wrote about how events made me feel. It was therapeutic and gave me an outlet. Every once in a while, I shared what I had done, but my entries were not really meant for display. They were for me. From my heart and for my heart, which often felt like it was breaking.
All the while, I felt as if I was in the right place. I kept being reminded that anything we do with Love can make a difference. I hoped that my skills could make a difference, but I didn’t possibly see how. I’m certainly no carpenter. What my role was supposed to be wasn’t very clear. As it turned out, I did have a role to play, and it began in my art journal. Little did I know that my journal entries would have meaning for others..
Shared Experiences Sometimes Breed a Response
A couple on our trip recently lost their daughter to cancer. Her brilliant light was snuffed out all too early as a young adult. During a quiet moment on our trip, a few of us shared our individual spiritual struggles. It was a precious exchange. And you know what? EVERYBODY HAD SOMETHING. This couple decided to take their loss, and use the mission trip as a means of celebrating their daughter’s life on her birthday (one she coincidentally shared with her mom).
Their daughter’s last Facebook post is the photo above. The phrase,” Walk in Love” was her final message to all of us. Her parents had that phrase tattooed on their bodies in remembrance of her. They were on the mission trip trying to live that phrase. It was inspiring. They were (and are) beautiful!!
I came away from that experience feeling very moved by their story and everyone’s stories. I did this journal entry that night (below).
A simple entry in my art journal blew up into a transformative expression of love and community. It was a real-life example of the powerful role that art can play in making a difference for people.
Over the course of the week, I shared the journal entry with her parents and they were especially touched. I think we all want to feel as if our stories have meaning for someone other than ourselves. Similarly, as artists, we all hope that what we create will have meaning for someone else. As an artist, that moment of exchange is THE BEST! It never gets old when someone else connects with what you’ve created!!
Fast forward to the end of the week, when our home construction project was almost complete. We came up with the idea of a giving a placard or sign as a gift to the homeowner. The phrase, “Walk in Love” seemed an obvious choice for the sign. The person to paint the sign also seemed obvious. I felt very fortunate to have that job assigned to me!!😊
A Project Fit for an Artist
Making that sign was a bit of a challenge. I didn’t have my acrylic painting supplies with me. I had a white board and only one color of acrylic paint- Blue. I didn’t have a ruler or any measuring device. I didn’t even have brushes! I borrowed the brushes and set out to create the sign with the pencil, pens, and eraser I had along with me. I used my sketchbook paper as a ruler and unit of measure. I got ‘er done with a little practical engineering (translation: “the kind that doesn’t involve much math”).
The sign below is what I came up with.
When we presented the sign, my friends told their story to the homeowner as they handed it to her. They got to share just what the words on our sign meant to them. Everyone exchanged some powerful hugs (and a few tears).
To our surprise, the homeowner asked that the sign be mounted just inside her door, “where everyone could see it as they walked in”.
How cool is that?!
So my friends, THIS is an experience I’d like to share with every artist I know! I’d like everyone to have their small creative effort eventually make a big difference for someone. And that’s how it works! There can be value in just playing around. You just never know what is going to come from even the small things you do! In this case, my simple Art Journal entry touched the heart of a lot of people.
THAT kind of beautiful exchange is so motivating and fulfilling!
The rest of the story…
After coming home, I felt changed. I felt, and still feel as if I need to respond to the challenges raised by my trip to the Bahamas.
Upon reflection, I decided that opening of my new studio presented the perfect opportunity to create a similar kind of experience for my students. I want them to experience the joy and the reward of sending your art into the world in order to connect with other people and hopefully make a difference for someone who really needs a hand.
GRAND OPENING- CHARITY ART SHOW
This is an official announcement of the Grand Opening Charity Art Show for my new studio! The goal is to create an event that inaugurates and celebrates my new studio while helping my students share their art AND make a difference for the less fortunate. It’s my hope that every person who takes part in this event will be left feeling as if they were a part of something uplifting and positive.
I hope you’ll consider participating.
How can you help?
Contribute your work to the sale
Bring friends who might like to purchase art and/or support the participating artists and charities
Come for the fun of it
Tell others about it on social media
Help hang paintings or
Help with sales during the show
75% of all sales will go to charity
Where: Art Myrtle Beach Studio (Rebecca’s new place)
Address: 9713 N Kings Hwy, Ste 207, Myrtle Beach, SC, 29572
When: June 23, 2018 4-7 PM and thru the 30th by appointment.
Who can Participate? Artists: Participation is free if you’re my student or $20 donation to our charities if you are not my student . Contact me for details if you’d like to participate. email firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text: 843-450-2307
Who can Attend? Anyone!
How Can You Help? Come and bring your friends with you. Want to support us? Invite your friends, family, church and neighbors! Share this post or Share your own post about the event. We will have some fun with the intracoastal waterway as our backdrop while the sun sets. I hope to have some live music and refreshments. Take home a painting, bring a beverage or dish to serve, or volunteer to help me hang/display artwork. Would you like to play some music during the evening? Contact me…
Who Benefits? Follow the links to learn more about both organizations.
Help 4 Kids (an incredible local charity group that operates on a shoestring to provide services to the needy in Horry Co)
Bahamas Youth Network/Swing Missions: This amazing organization uses only 2% of what you contribute for administration. Volunteers provide the majority of labor. BYN partners with First Presbyterian Church of Myrtle Beach. 98% of your contributions are spent on those who really need it.
NOTE: Buyers will be able to direct your contributions to either of these charities during the event.
Remember: Art Can Make a Difference, and SO CAN YOU!
With Love and light,
Ps- If you’d like to try some iridescent watercolors in your own sketchbook, here are links to the materials I used to create the paintings you see in this blog. They are available with a click from Amazon :
- Pentalic Art PTL-018036 Watercolor Journal, 140 lb/7″ x 10″
- Luminarte Twinkling H20s Shimmering Watercolors Primary Colors Twenty Four Piece Mini Kit-Easter Special 1-week only
- Coliro M600 Artist Mica Watercolor Paint, Metallic, Gold (6-Color/Set)
- Sakura Pigma 30062 Micron Blister Card Ink Pen Set, Black, Ass’t Point Sizes 6CT Set
Note- these links sometimes result in a small compensation to me from Amazon, but they do not increase the price you pay. It’s a way of helping you shop conveniently and find the things I use, while helping me to keep the lights on in the studio. 😉