Wednesday, October 11, 2006

irony and/or blessing

I needed a few minutes' break from my drawing. I'm doing a triple portrait, and it's triple tricky to combine multiple images into one cohesive piece. But I love what I do. I have to drop off a double portrait tonight. I always get really nervous showing a client their drawing or painting for the first time. I often get tears of joy, and I'm very flattered when that happens, but I rarely portray people I know. I prayed for the gift of creativity and I was blessed particularly in the area of portraiture. I know the Spirit works in me, and it is happening more and more often that I'm told, it's like I was in the person's head (to quote a recent client).

I believe there is a reason for that beyond just being good and well-practiced at what I do. It occurred to me today-my present studio space is my son's old bedroom, and I often spend my time painting people who have passed away or are separated from their families. I have done missing people and murder victims. I'm so blessed to do this for grieving loved ones, but the irony does not escape me, that I could be working for the family of the person my son killed. And I, too, am separated from him. Out of my own heartache I'm drawing for others in the same situation, either on one side or another. Somehow I have a knowing in my hands and in my heart when I begin to draw, and I'm able to reconstruct a face, even with the most difficult images to copy from, life-like and breathing. I know God is trying to teach me here, but it is one of those blessings that I cannot, and don't want, to analyze. It is grace at work. Sometimes I'm tempted into thinking it is a penance, but then I think about those tears of joy.

I wish with all my heart that like the story of Pygmalion, my creations would live and breath and I could return the loved ones back to their families. It is the story of life in it's most truthful manifestation. We are ever losing and becoming separated from people we love. I do believe because that is true, and because I know how true it is, that long before the world was I had this gift in my hands, and that to me is also an irony and a blessing. We are allowed to question "why", but somehow, I know when I get a phone call someone has been especially led to my studio, and I can only obey and pray once again that a blessing is the result.

Well, an addendum, post-delivery of the double portrait-the mother and daughter who commissioned the work loved one of the portraits (the one I thought the wouldn't) and hated the mouth on the other (the one I thought they would). I guess that goes along with my duality theme! Needless to say, the only water droplets shed on this one were the ones coming off my back as I ripped apart the frame job and tried to make lips out of teeth. Chuckle (ok, Lord, that wasn't funny...!)


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