Well, if you read my last post, you know what's been going on in my spiritual life and my artistic life. The two have been intermingled of late, and it's been interesting, to say the least.
I wish I could adequately describe the spiritual warfare I experienced while painting those scenes of Christ. I knew I was doing something right; someone didn't want me to finish them. But I had heavy-duty Reinforcements! So, I just kept painting, and He took care of the rest. Christ being baptized, healing, teaching, holding a child, several close-ups of his face, all different...and his face during the crucifixion was accompanied by my tears. The final painting of his glorious return was difficult. How could I know what that would look like? How could mere paint depict that glorious event on a little 5x7" panel? I wrestled. I worried. Over and over, I heard, "You just keep painting. I'll take care of the rest."
I was told not to discuss them with people in advance, other than posting here on my blog and discussing it with a prayer partner. I was also told not to photograph the completed works, nor was I to sign them. They were to glorify Him, not me. I had to push aside my pride and possession of talent. I would be rewarded later.
The first Community Outreach was on Monday, June 6, 2011 at 6pm on a hot sunny South Carolina evening. Our daily temps have been in the 90's and the sun isn't setting until after eight pm in the evening, so I'll let you use your imagination about the setting in the little community.
Several church members came together with a huge grill, free hot dogs, hamburgers, and all the fixins. There was a variety of chips offered with cold bottled water. Free face-painting and balloons entertained the kids. And there I was...with nineteen 5x7" panels of oil paintings on a table with a sign that read "Free - Take One".
What on earth was I thinking? Would I need to tell people that God had simply told me to do this? They would think I was insane. I wiped sweat from my eyes, ignored the wet hair matted to the back of my neck, and stayed the course.
I kept stepping away from the table to talk to others painting faces and serving food.
As time passed, I noticed there were empty spots on the table. Everyone who chose a panel would approach quietly to thoughtfully select one.
I didn't have to explain; they knew.
Occasionally, a child would shyly approach and I would ask,"Would you like a painting?" They would smile and nod, pick out their favorite and I'd wrap it in waxed paper for them.
One woman repeatedly thanked me, and even after saying good-bye and pulling away, she stopped to get my attention from her car window with one more expression of gratitude. After thinking about the event, I now notice the contrasts. If I'd been in a gallery opening, there would have been negative comments, empty compliments, or questions. Maybe one would have sold. And what would I have gained?
And who knows what will happen with those little paintings? I pray they will not become idols, but passed on to others as simple inspiration.
I purchased more little panels to prepare for the next outing in a different location. Please pray for all concerned.
Love & Laughter,