August 23, 2010

The Mountains are Calling

I have some great friends who recently fulfilled a lifelong dream to own property in Colorado.  There are so many things I love about that statement.  I love that this amazing couple shared a dream together.  I love that they planned for it and sacrificed for it and waited for it.  I love that when the opportunity presented itself, they didn't let fear stop them from jumping in.  This huge decision has the potential to change their next season together in thrilling, challenging, and beautiful ways. And I imagine when they stand in that new space for the first time as owners, the air is going to be charged with quiet recognition of all they've shared that has led them to that moment.  (They might also whisper, "What have we done?", but I know they're going to be grinning when they say it.)

[Artwork -- I created the piece above for them as a tiny housewarming gift.  I used a photo of the Colorado Rockies that I altered in Photoshop with a watercolor artistic filter and torn edge effect.  I printed it on Arches Text and then lettered over it in Sumi and gouache.  The line below the art is their new address, but I've blurred it to respect their privacy.]

August 19, 2010

Whispers in the Wind

My dear, aging husband (sorry, Drew) refused a party for his 40th birthday, so we sent out whispers in the wind with a little art installation in our front yard.  The kids and I each took a handful of blank cards and hand-lettered words and thoughts about the man we treasure before laminating (rain was coming) and attaching them with twine to the ends of lower branches.  Do you hear the whispers, Drew?  This glorious story you're living is getting richer every moment as time and experiences shape you, open you, soften you.  God has begun a good work in you and your family is watching and celebrating its unfolding...  Happy birthday, my love.

I had seen and catalogued this idea years ago from the website of a gifted book artist, naturalist, and teacher,  Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord.  She wrote that she was inspired by the image below of a Japanese folding screen by 17th century Japanese artist Tosa Mitsuoki.  I am so thrilled with how our "birthday installation" turned out I have already begun thinking about a similar project for the young writers in my children's elementary school next Spring.  I'll let you know how that goes!  

Folding screen by 17th Century artist Tosa Mitsuoki

August 9, 2010

Painting with His Voice

©2010 Shannon M. Wilson, Remember Me.
Acrylics, 48 x 36".

We've had a beautifully disorganized and lazy summer where we only change out of pajamas if the doorbell rings.  Living with purpose has its purpose, but sometimes too much purpose gets in the way of living -- this has been my summer mantra. (I hope my kids will all be able to hold down jobs someday with this kind of modelling, but it's a risk I'm going to have to take.)  Leisure and laughter and lollygagging with those you love is summer's gift and we've opened that gift every day.  It's why I haven't been doing much blogging or painting!

But in the midst of this leisure, I was invited to participate in a fabulous art auction to benefit the Women's Care Center in Elkhart, IN -- an impressive organization that supports young women who find themselves facing unplanned or crisis pregnancies.  I created the above piece for that event and was thrilled as it raised some serious dollars for the organization and the women it serves.  But what thrilled me even more was how the room responded to its words.  I chose one of my favorite quotes by Rumi:

"In your light, I learn how to love.  In your beauty, how to make poems.  You dance inside my chest where no-one sees, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art."  

I repeated the words "remember me" throughout the piece and I prayed it would strike a chord with someone in the room who longs for or experiences that kind of intimacy.

I could have included one of my abstract paintings for this event.  I could have chosen words that had more universal appeal.  I could have submitted one of my more popular jewelry designs -- a safe choice. But I had a special opportunity to let God work the room that night and the response was incredible.  As the bids climbed higher and higher, I sat stunned and humbled.  I cried all the way home as I tried to wrap my mind around how God has led me to this art -- art that speaks for Him. And how people's hearts seem to open in response.