AN ARTIST’S JOURNEY THROUGH SORROW
In my first semester in my Painting I class, I recreated a piece titled, “The Drowning,” which was created in 1936 by N.C. Wyeth. The main focal point in the piece is an empty boat, which is surrounded by restless waves, windblown trees, and a small island. The colors are dark and dramatic, with basic, pointed shapes making up the full picture. At first glance, it’s beautiful and dynamic. But there’s so much more depth after reading the story behind the piece.
by painting. He chose to bring beauty and depth even from one of the most devastating situations.
This story was heartbreaking to me, and I spent a lot of time considering what that situation would have been like. How would I react? Would I choose to channel the sorrow into beauty or would I wallow? Would doubts keep me from even putting a brush to paper? I hope not. I hope I’d have the courage to be vulnerable with colors and choose to tell a story that others can relate to without a single word passing my lips. I hope I’d choose to look for and find beauty and hope in the pain.
STORY IN THE PSALMS
Wyeth isn’t the only one who used his gift to bring beauty from pain. I immediately think of David in the Psalms. At a young age, he was anointed to be the next king of Israel. But, he wasn’t immediately placed in that position. God used him where he was at and carried him through many trials and battles for God’s glory. It took nearly ten years of heroic fights, menial work, and even running from the current king of Israel (Saul) before he actually obtained the promise. In this time of running for his life and hiding from king Saul, David poured out his heart to the Lord in song. Through David’s words, you can feel his sorrow, angst, and plight. But David didn’t just pour out his sorrow. He poured out his praise to God too. Look it up! Wherever there’s distress and a broken heart-cry from David, there’s an immediate glorification, honor, and praise to God DESPITE David’s circumstance. There was beauty even in the brokenness because he gave his brokenness to God and remembered who God was and what He had promised. God, being so faithful, fulfilled what He said He would and through the painful process of those ten years, refined David to be the best king Israel ever saw. Beauty and refinement from ashes. It would have been easy for David to give up. But he DIDN’T. He kept going and kept trusting that God would handle things in His own timing and let the rest go. Sure, David wasn’t perfect (in fact, he messed up in a lot of big ways), but God still used him because He’s just that good!
Today, we can apply this and when we face hard circumstances; we can follow David and Wyeth’s example and choose to honor and glorify God even though we’re not out of the storm yet. We can choose to see and create beauty there. We can pour out our sorrow, in whatever form it takes, and lay it at God’s feat. By giving Him the grief, He takes care of the rest and we can trust Him in His perfect process. In the very midst of the sorrow, David found beauty and hope because that’s where God was.
This is a very brief overview. If you’re struggling and would like some guidance or clarification, please reach out. This is not a “one-step-fix-all” kind of thing but a process that I’ve been growing in from previous hardships. In my battle with insecurity, it took me years to get to a place of healing. But it’s possible. Just one step at a time. :)
Hi, I'm Abigail Dorn, the founder and director of Arts With Love.
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