The prompt for our first ‘Painting from the Heart’ group was a treasure chest in the center of the table. We could use large card-stock, small construction paper, markers, pastels, glue, but no scissors.
The leaders explained the class, showed the treasure chest, read a poem about our hearts and then turned on an instrumental song. We were to first think about the condition of our heart at that moment and then write down all the words that came to our minds. After a few minutes we could start creating. After about 30 min. we were told to journal about what we saw in our artwork and give the piece a title.
The title of my work is called ‘Fully Alive’.
The words I jotted down were: broken, alive, tender, hard, flighty, excited, lonely, weary, full, pulsing, longing, wanting, dreaming, infected, stained, rhythmic.
I folded my very large card-stock in half (they suggested we use this to carry future work in, so I was thinking about how one side would be seen and one side would be unseen).
This is the side of my heart that is seen:
My journal entry: ‘The heart that most people see is clearly covered by the blood of Jesus – sprouting with some life – fruit, flowers, a bud or two, maybe an open flower and tiny tastes of fruit, sweet evidence of God’s work in my life. Those who get close enough to the center of my heart see the bruised heart of stone – depending on where they look.
journal cont. ‘Only God and me feel and see the hard stony bruised part that is still there and all the tears that have been shed. But even that is alive. The reality that I have been given a heart of flesh whose core has God’s Spirit living and empowering me producing all life – joy & sorrow, pain & struggle.’ (ran out of time, thoughts incomplete)
We each shared our work with the group. Showed the piece, told the title and main thoughts briefly. I don’t remember all I said but even now as I look at it I think of new symbolism.
One thing I do remember saying is that various shades blue and white is my favorite color combination and the tiny blue flowers represent tears – even though they are associated with pain and sorrow they represent some of the most beautiful parts of my life.
My life verse was on my mind as I did this exercise:
Ezekial 36:26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
I started with the ‘flesh’ colored oil pastel, added the green ‘seed’ in the center surrounded by the yellow and white ‘new Spirit’. From the seed there are roots into the stony bruised part and vines sprouting out of the top. The vines show on the outside one bud – not yet opened, one flower – opened wide, three or four tiny clusters of grapes, three blue ‘tear drop’ flowers. The blood red outline also swirls into my deepest parts and fully covers even the darkest and ugliest parts of me. I colored the tears first and then later added leaves even to that part. The tears were not only evidence of being ‘fully alive’ but producing growth. I just noticed a tiny root that is drawn outside of my heart at the bottom. That could be my connection to those outside of my heart (in reality that is a much bigger part of my story but not in this exercise I guess).
I’d love to hear what you see in the artwork. What it stirs in you about yourself, your own heart or what you see and experience from me. If you are so inclined you could do the exercise and share your experience too.