I don’t know about the rest of you visual artists out there, but I have a difficult time forming the thoughts and ideas behind my paintings and then articulating it to others. In fact, I often don’t have a fully formed interpretation until long after the piece is complete.
This was the case with my piece that is now showing at the AVAA juried Fall show, “Loneliness on a Crowded Bus in China.” I had been thinking and praying since I began working on it. What is this piece really about?
It’s a powerful piece for me personally. I had been going through a particularly low time in my marriage and walk with the Lord. I felt utterly alone and hopeless. I didn’t know it at the time, but was later diagnosed with clinical depression. The scene on the bus was a picture of how isolated I felt.
As personal of a piece as it is, I knew there was something more universal in the feelings of loneliness, hopelessness and isolation. The meaning was there in the painting, but I just wasn’t able to form it into a thought I could then articulate.
Until the night of AVAA’s opening reception last week.
And, though I’m an introvert and need alone time to think and process, here is what I’ve found I absolutely need: other people. I need community.
And, interestingly enough, I found that “Bus” is all about the need for community that we all have but tend to neglect.
When I say “community”, I mean vulnerability, transparency, self awareness, and the courage to put yourself out there and accept others when they do the same. What does it look like to live out Jesus’ words, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”? And why is it so stinkin’ hard? On both counts, loving your neighbor AND loving yourself?
I thought that it would take me until the end of the year to find a theme to paint around, but I think I’ve found one.
It’s at least the beginnings of one. My hope is that it will develop as I work, think and pray through this series.