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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Wounded Warriors within our Ranks

"Broken Hearted" 11 x  14 pastel on Bristol

There are hundreds of outstanding artists who either have a disability or work at what they love with debilitating pain or discomfort. If that describes your circumstances, I want to hear from you.

Artist’s have much to share with each other. When the darkness comes, the pain cripples or the heart is grieving, welcome relief comes when we share our stories with others and reach out to someone else in need.

My arthritis is making it more and more difficult to paint or draw. And now stomach issues prevent me, at least for a time, from taking pain meds. I’ve purposely kept on typing because it keeps my fingers loose, but I’m limited to shorter and shorter time periods.

"Moody Blues" 16 x 20 mixed media on canvas
After a short time at the keyboard, my hands cramp up and stiffen into a claw and I can’t move at all. I will say that once I’m painting, I forget the difficulty and get lost in this marvelous thing we call art. I’m still limited, and work in two-hour sessions, but I keep on keeping on.

When I start to feel sorry for myself, I think about those artists who paint with their teeth or their feet. These great souls of courage persevere in spite of their disabilities. Art is therapy. Art is depth and feeling. Art is the expression of faith, gratitude and pain. Art captures the details that others miss and examines or exaggerates their complexities and simplicity.

"Broken" 9 x 12 mixed media on panel SOLD; prints available
Van Gogh is one of the best examples of a troubled artist who continued to paint his vision of nature; his vision of life. His struggles and emotional pain clarified the world he painted and made it all the more poignant for us.

Degas tied his stiff arthritic fingers to his paint brushes and continued to work up to his death. His works are timeless. He poured out energy, tears, and heart into every brush stroke.

Scars tell us where we’ve been. They also remind us of past sorrows and tragedy. Sometimes Army buddies compare wounds and talk about their battle scars and shared trauma. Scars are the visible testimony of their anguish and pain.

"A Joyful Heart" 9 x 12 pastel on Bristol
Some wounds are invisible to others. Their pain is felt deep within the human soul. The scars left behind are not easily shared, and other people doubt that they exist. These wounds are the most devastating because our sanity is questioned; our experiences are belittled or denied. We have no physical wounds to show others. These internal scars go deep. They are slow to heal. Sometimes the pain goes unnoticed or ignored for a lifetime and affect our relationship with others.

How do you see grief; except for a sad countenance? Grief that is held in too long may cause ill health. Unshed tears may prolong the healing. Without an outlet or a voice, the spirit may be crushed to the breaking point. Thank God for art. Truly God has led me through it (pain) and around it.

"Sunset on the Nile"  22 x 28  acrylic on canvas
Wear any physical and emotional scars like a personal badge of courage, friends. Use your pain to help others see the world through your eyes. Create like your life depended on it because it does.