Love Your Neighbor as Yourself…Why is it So Hard?

Me (in the middle), with fellow artists and friends, Anneke (left), and Sonali (right) at the 2013 AVAA Fall Show opening reception.

Me (in the middle), with fellow artists and friends, Anneke (left), and Sonali (right) at the 2013 AVAA Fall Show opening reception.

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?

Lonliness On A Crowded Bus in China.  August 2013.  16x20" Oil on Canvas.  $410

Lonliness On A Crowded Bus in China. August 2013. 16×20″ Oil on Canvas. $410

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.

It wasn’t until I was in community, talking with my fellow artists, Anneke, Laura and Sonali, that I was able to form that cohesive thought about the “Bus” piece.

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.

About

Meena Matocha is a contemporary representational artist living and working near her hometown of Austin, TX.

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Posted in Artist's Talk, Exhibits, Forming A Collection, Paintings
2 comments on “Love Your Neighbor as Yourself…Why is it So Hard?
  1. Anneke says:

    Meena,

    Ironically, my bible study was JUST talking about this very thing last night! I sent them the link so they could be encouraged by your story. We had been discussing what it means to live in community with the verses: Acts 2:41-47, John 13:34-35 and Eph. 4:31-32.

    Your post tied it up in a nice bow! Thank you for posting and sharing your story.

    See you next Friday!
    Love,
    Anneke

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