I think your selfie is art.

Sometimes in art…
A typical Instagram selfie is all you need for inspiration.
Watercolor can be applied to paper that was never meant to withstand water.
Pen and paint can make an appearance on the same page.
Paper can be punctured to create room for light.

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You don’t have to follow the rules and breaking the rules doesn’t have to be a statement. It doesn’t have to be profound. It can just be fun. It can just be art.

The Garage

Some of my best moments have come while painting in the garage. Music blasting from old speakers is always too loud but just loud enough to drown out my own singing.

There are those certain songs that make me grip my brush tighter and move faster until I resort to just throwing colors. I have a theory that we never really grow out of having temper tantrums. We just find ways to disguise them.

1My bare feet get dirty on the concrete floor. Paint gets on my jeans and up my arms. I’m colored by accidents but secretly I’d like to be painted all over.

No one’s there to see me pour paint from a bucket onto my canvas and spread it around with my hands. No, it’s not modern art. I’ll make it look like something recognizable. But I’ll get there by finger painting.

toes and paint

Eventually the project ends. What’s left is a piece of art and a mess in the garage.

Soon I’ll find another project. I’ll have new refreshments to be replaced with brushes, another set of songs I can’t get out of my head and a new something or someone that I never say anything about unless it’s with paint.

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The Dirt of Life

         BareShiny things had never tempted her. Diamond rings didn’t widen her eyes. Fancy restaurants didn’t make her feel important or sophisticated. A GQ model in a Lamborghini might make her giggle for a moment but nothing more.

What gripped her was the dirt of life. Ink under skin. Cigarette smoke stitched within a faded sweatshirt.

She liked the hum and hammer of old washing machines.

She preferred to sit on the floor or curl up in a windowsill or perch on a counter-top. The only furniture she liked was the kind with tangled sheets or this one old couch that smelled like grass.

If the dishes were dirty it rarely bothered her. Neither did laundry on the floor. When she did clean she paused every other minute to dance and enjoyed it so much that she wondered why she didn’t clean more often.

She liked choruses of frogs and singing with anyone or no one.

She liked bare feet by campfires and friends made in nights that faded into mornings before sleep could interrupt.

She liked swimming in lakes under stars. She didn’t like swimsuits.

She liked rain and puddles and fog over hidden houses.

She liked the eccentrics, people who spoke puzzles and held stories in every scar and wrinkle.

She liked mazes of alleyways with tired bricks and conversations on fire escapes or by dumpsters.

She liked to be tucked away in corners and books with tattered binding that proved the words within were well loved.

She liked to wear flannel that was too big and tank tops that were too small.

She liked walls quickly painted as canvases without frames.

She liked freckles that punctuated perfection, noses that were too big and hair so red it threatened to burn at the touch. She liked trails of blue that shown through skin, the veins that reminded her of a heart beating.

She liked to forget the blank walls of sterility and the cutting binds of sternness.

Sometimes she liked solitude, but she hated to be alone.

Caleb

This is Caleb. His super powers include taking great photos and being surprisingly effervescent. His weakness? Being way too easily distracted by beautiful things. But that helps with the photography aspect of life… So it’s not such a bad weakness to have.

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It is uncommon to find people who really see the world, who actually see others. How many times a day is the old Admin building passed, glanced at, overlooked? How many times a day do individuals look at one another and fail to truly see anything worthwhile? The best artists show the world what they see, and Caleb sees a lot. I have an assumption that his camera can never keep up.

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I’ve had a few shots of him for several weeks from a brief adventure we took to welcome the new year. They’ve been used to practice sketching buildings and stairwells. Usually I dislike drawing anything that can’t answer back. So… when is comes to architecture I doodle and break every shading law in existence because I prefer to scribble without thought.

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But a couple sketches, while lacking in plenty of ways, turned out to be at least interesting. So here’s to many moments of sketching in coffee shops without diligence and sneaking a sharpie out of my backpack in class from time to time. A line at five, a shadow at ten. It’s not much, but it adds up to plenty of scribbles which I’m going to go ahead and call art.

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Murals for Days…

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Awhile back I was asked to paint a mural in the youth room at Evangelical Free Church of the Palouse. I was excited to help but a bit nervous. I’d never painted something this big before… What if I turned out to be a failure when it came to putting together art of epic proportions? But pushing my fears aside, I boldly ventured forth in complete confidence. Actually that’s a lie… I just told myself if they hated it they could paint over it the next day with a fresh coat of white. No harm, no foul. Then I ventured forth… Semi boldly and somewhat confidently…

By the time spring break rolled around I had formed a vision in my head for the project and sketched out all the plans. My proposal was approved and I got to work. And wow, was it work. By the end of the first day my shoulders hurt, I had fallen of a ladder twice (While no one was looking… I’m still a closeted klutz.) and had spilled paint on the carpet multiple times creating the need to go sprinting through the big empty church for wet paper towels before the paint dried. Thankfully, each mad dash was successful. The carpet was as clean as when I began and no bones were broken by tipping ladders. But the mural was still not finished. I had to come back the next day… And the next day, totaling in over twenty-six hours.

In the grand scheme of things, twenty-six hours is nothing. Part of why it could be finished in that amount of time is all the help I received. In the end, I ended up being given much more than I could give back. I remember giggling quietly, painting a towering tree trunk, as Tiffany and her boyfriend argued over fonts for the verse above the window. I got to see my friend Kevin, not a painter by any means, working to get the sunset splotches exactly as Jason and I had done them until he had mastered the technique. As I freehanded birds in our bright sky that faded from yellow to orange to red, I sat perched on top of a wooden ladder, talking to Anita about all sorts of things and smiling to myself as she got indignant over wrongs in the world, using more compelling words than I could ever seem to find for myself. And then there was the baby shower… Oh my word the baby shower! After hours of solitude painting silhouettes on a wall dozens of ladies began popping in and out of my once isolated room. They ooo-ed and aww-ed over my progress far more than was deserved. Then they brought me into their party and gave me a place to sit and rest my legs. They fed me cake and much needed coffee. One lady even stayed afterword and chatted with me, rubbed my shoulders and insisted on me eating some good food she had found in the fridge. I had not even mentioned being sore or hungry. She somehow just knew how to help.

So I painted a few walls… That’s all I had to give. While the church liked the mural enough to not white wash it the next day, I know that eventually my work will be gone because it’s just a painting. But it’s a painting for people who care. For people who love their neighbors and serve others. I like to think that makes the mural a little bit more than paint on the wall. It’s a gift for friends.

Full Mural

(Please note: all of these silhouettes are from free clip-art I found online. They are not my original designs. Some were free-handed, others were traced via projector.)