Uncork the Color

Celebrating a Creative, Joy-filled Life

Surprises and New Approaches – Living a Creative, Joy-Filled Life

In the fall of 2013, I embarked on a journey that has taken me places I never imagined I would go.  I began working towards a Masters of Liberal Studies degree.

The first year was filled with four research and reasoning courses that all MLS students are required to take regardless of your chosen “concentration”.  Talk about being outside of my wheel-house!  That left-brained logic and reasoning was a huge stretch for this right-brained art teacher/artist.  So, my first drawing class in the fall of 2014 was like a beacon of light welcoming me home.

Don’t get me wrong – drawing classes are challenging too, as they should be, but they challenged me in a way that my brain could process better.  They spoke my brain’s language.

The first big challenge for these drawing courses was to figure out what my drawings would center around – what the focus would be that tied all of the drawings I would produce together.  I knew that I wanted to draw flowers as they are my favorite things to draw.  I also knew that I wanted to incorporate my Christian faith in some way.  But, what should I do to develop the rest of the space?  What should I do in the background?

And that’s where the first great surprise arrived.  With the guidance of my drawing instructor, Amy Schmeirbach (Professor of Art at Fort Hays State University, Hays, KS), I began to think about patterns or designs that I liked.  Since my interest in Ireland and my Irish heritage had recently come to the surface again (and is now a bit of an obsession – haha), I began to think about what types of Celtic patterns I might be able to incorporate.  And, that’s where I stumbled across the idea of designing Celtic crosses to use in the background.  It seemed to me to be an especially good fit since the first flower I had chosen to draw was a St. Patrick’s rose.

So, seemingly out of the blue (which I really see as God’s hand at work in my life), that first drawing tied together three things that I really love and identify with – flowers, my faith (symbolized by the cross), and my Irish heritage (through the use of a Celtic style cross and designs in addition to the St. Patrick’s rose).

It took me completely by surprise, and in that moment, a spark of excitement and joy was awakened in me.  With each new drawing and each new drawing class, with the discoveries made and the challenges overcome, that spark of excitement and joy has continued to grow.  And, as that spark has grown, God has been awakening dreams in me that I didn’t remember that I’d had or didn’t think I could ever achieve.  Dreams of becoming a “professional” artist being one of the biggest (and scariest) of those dreams.  Yet in a total surprise to me, I find myself producing quality drawings that can compete on a “professional” level and taking my first steps into that “professional” art world – a place I never imagined I would be as a result of the journey I began in the fall of 2013.

My confidence has also grown with that spark.  I feel, now more than ever, as though I have a focus and a sense of purpose to fully use the artistic abilities I’ve been given and to share those abilities – to allow God to use them in whatever way He chooses.

Since I’ve been using those creative abilities almost daily beginning with that first drawing class in August of 2014, my life is richer.  I’m a healthier and happier person.  My life is more colorful, literally and figuratively.

I’ve realized that I need to start living life to the fullest instead of sitting around, waiting for life to happen to me.  I ran across an anonymous quote the other day that really summed up my feelings and new approach to life.  “One life.  Just one.  Why aren’t we all running like we are on fire towards our wildest dreams?”

While I fully believe in the eternal life given us through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, I also believe that I need to make the most of the time and the life I’ve been given on this earth.

I need to stop waiting around like a corked bottle of champagne.  Instead, I need to shake the bottle, pop the cork, and choose to celebrate life!

No, life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.  We will all face struggles and hard times.  But I truly believe that life is richer, fuller, more colorful, and more joyful when we make room for some creativity and when we choose to face our fears and chase our dreams.

So, here’s to choosing to make the most of the lives we’ve been given.  Try something new.  Take that trip you’ve always wanted to take.  Chase your dreams.  Uncork the color!  Celebrate a creative, joy-filled life!

Who’s with me?

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