What do artists think about when they are making their art?  I have always wondered that myself.  Of course every artist is different, but I thought it would be interesting to pull back the curtain and share a work in progress.


This face painting began several months ago.  I thought it was finished.  She looked colorful, like a combination of women all over the world, and she looked strong, so I called her The Olympian.  I even put her in a show.  Later I was dissatisfied: she seemed too hard-edged and stiff.  I decided to rework her.

When I paint, I always ask the Holy Spirit to guide me.  I decided to layer her with oil pastels to add some looser boundaries.  At first, I was discouraged because she just looked like she had dirty smudges.I almost gave up, but I remember that the early stages of any painting often look awkward.  As I layered, I began to think of how I had gotten layers of living on my face.  I am fascinated with how everyone gets different types of wrinkles, and I like how aging can give some women a richness of experience.


I also thought of different skin colors, and God reminded me of the Nigerian girls who had been kidnapped in Africa.  I mourn their loss of innocence, but I also know God has not forgotten them.  They will never have those pure colors they had as children, but they will be layered with loss, and beautiful in a different way.  I hope to hear their survival stories some day.  Though I am much older than they are, they are my sisters in spirit.


As I painted, I was thrilled to discover layers of color I had never seen before.  Just being alive gets us dirty, but God can make those layers beautiful and rich.  I call this painting Sister because I love the richness of experience and diversity that God gives women all over the world.