“What a waste of time!” I thought, as I took my ‘paper of effort’ folded it up and put it in my pocket to discard when I got home. I would have preferred to discard it there and then in the classroom, but a quick ‘risk analysis’ in my head raised the unlikely ‘what if’ of someone retrieving it from the bin and it reappearing somewhere to my humiliation and shame. But then something shifted on the journey home . . . and ironically, here I am now, the one ‘publishing’ it!
We had been directed to pick an item to sketch, draw, or paint, using different techniques, and to try using different colours to see what emotive response we have to those colours. So I chose a copper cup, embossed with dimples.
I started with charcoal, then the blue paint, the red paint, and the yellow paint. For the last attempt (with the grey lead pencil), an extra challenge was thrown in . . . to draw the item without looking at the paper on which I was drawing. My eyes were supposed to stay focused on the copper cup, as my hand drew it on the paper. And the evidence speaks for itself, I couldn’t do it, so I gave up on that one.
In evaluating my emotive response to each drawing, this is what was revealed :
The charcoal: I like it for the fact that I held the stick on its end, so as to see what the effect would be as I drew the base of the cup . . . and I got the sharp edge that I expected. But I don’t like the top of the cup because the rim is out of proportion.
The blue: I like the vertical effect of the brush tip I used to create the dimple appearance.
The red: I like the effect of the brush stroke I used for the handle.
The yellow: I like the horizontal effect of the brush tip I used to create the dimple appearance.
In terms of colours, I don’t like yellow; in fact I don’t even know why I put yellow on my paint palette? But out of all of these my favourite is the yellow, because of the way it turned out. And so I learnt . . . that my emotive response to colour is not related to the colour itself, but rather how that ‘thing’ worked out is what determines my feelings about that colour. And all my CrAzY yellow readers said “Yay! for the yellow.”
But another step further is this . . . the biggest lesson . . . is in the one I couldn’t draw. The one where I had to stay focussed on the object, and let what happens on the page, happen. I was constantly checking the paper to see what my hand was doing, and how the picture was forming. I literally could not keep my eyes off the page and let my hand do the drawing ‘unsupervised.’ The end result was too daunting . . . because without any element of control, I had no idea of how it might turn out, but I had already decided it couldn’t be good, so I simply gave up on it.
While I’m further along on the journey now, and it doesn’t seem as scary anymore, there was a time when I didn’t know who I was, or who I was becoming. No longer driven or moved by the same things that used to drive and move me, I was somehow scared of the me that I was becoming, because it was all too unfamiliar to who I had always been. There were things I could see that I didn’t want to be, and things I couldn’t see, but I so wanted to be. It was a fight in my mind, for my heart and my soul, and ultimately, a fight for my life. But fear had me in its grip, and I wanted to give up. I was giving up. In some areas, I had already given up.
Life is not always like that charcoal stroke, giving us exactly as we expected or hoped for. When you’re stuck in the middle, and you don’t like who you are in the now, it can seem easier to go back to who you were (because at least you’re familiar with that person), rather than to push through to find who you were created to be!
It was during my own time of being ‘stuck in the middle’ . . . when one day while doing my grocery shopping, with the radio playing softly in the background, choosing my flavoured tins of tuna for work lunches, when it was as if the volume on the radio had been turned up . . . so I could hear these words . . . which spoke so very true to where I was at . . . and I felt like God was telling me:
That I see the light surrounding you
So don’t be afraid of something new
Cause I see the light surrounding you
So don’t be afraid of what you’re turning into.
No, don’t be afraid
Don’t be afraid . . .
Cause I see the light
Cause I see the light
Cause I see the light surrounding you.
(Light surrounding you. by Evermore)
The journey of life is like art under the artist’s hand. It’s progressive, it doesn’t always look like we thought, but we have to keep going at it, if we’re to see the end result in its reality.
And so I would ask you . . . what is your emotive response to your life?
If it hasn’t turned out (or is not turning out) how you expected or hoped, don’t be so discouraged that you give up because you can’t see how it will turn out. Just because it’s not what you expected or hoped, doesn’t mean it can’t still be good, or even great! So be encouraged to push through the fear, the unknown, the unfamiliar, to find the better you . . .