Painting with Renewed purpose
I've been painting now for about 35 years. The versatility of the medium, whether oil or pastel has kept me learning and growing. Working in new mediums along the way like clay and dabbling in water color has kept me exploring. "Plein Air" painting has such satisfaction at a core level for me that its hard to put into words. Just the act of dealing with esthetic decisions like design, shapes, color, paint texture has been enough to fuel my inner excitement and need for purpose and expression. Then there's painting for an exhibit, competition, gallery or commission deadline, and years of commercial deadlines in the early days. All of this in the past was enough to keep me passionately going forward over the decades.
However recently it has stalled, that is, my core purpose for continuing to do what I've been doing. Avenues I enjoyed painting for and selling has changed. Doors that were opened, now seemed to be closing. I think of the definition of insanity: "to continue to do what you've always been doing but expecting different results." So I'm the first to admit I need to change and grow and head in a new direction. An increasing inventory has put a mental block on my creative purpose. Marketing is just as important as the painting process, but when I found myself asking, "Why am I painting this ?" I knew something was off.
Then a friend introduced me to the "Freedom 58 Project"! Freedom 58 works to help lay a foundation for justice, by creating awareness about human trafficking and raising funds for its partner organizations that actually rescue and restore lives. Portraits of the rescued girls are created by artists for their new traveling "Faces of Freedom" Exhibits. Freedom 58 partners with groups that are on the ground rescuing girls like, Agape International (AIM), 10 Thousand Windows, and Tiny Hands International. Each portrait/painting created is accompanied by a brief explanation of the survivors story. Some are representative portraits, other paintings like this first one I did called "Back Home," 24" x 18" pastel (below) hides the girls true identity, but shows her in her home environment in the streets in Nepal. The paintings will never be sold, but will continue to be exhibited for awareness and fundraising purposes.
With my first one done and several others planned, It's just the project I needed to find my purpose again in painting. I couldn't think of anything more important right now than honoring these precious and courageous lives with art that helps to tell their story of redemption and healing. After all, it's the heart of God for all people to be free physically, emotionally and spiritually in this world filled with much evil. It's the core of the Lords prayer... "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." There isn't human trafficking in heaven, so the question is what can we do to join God in ushering in His healing here on earth? We all have different talents to contribute and get that done, so I figure this is one small thing I can do for now.
The Charcoal drawing below is what started me on this new purpose. This was done for Esther's Children which is in Recife, Brazil. They have a preventative program that fights the causes of sexual exploitation and child prostitution with girls ages 4-18, and works along with their families. I'm not sure what needed new direction my art will take after this, but I know I just have to do this first. Life is like painting: When there's and area in a painting you don't know how to solve yet....first paint what you do know to do, then the rest will fall into place. That's what I'm counting on in life!
Faces of Freedom Artist