Being Lost in the Best Way
Sep 16, 2023
I wrote this particular artist statement as a proposal for a solo exhibition about a year ago. The work hadn’t been created. It was all just a concept.
The term “lost” often has a negative connotation to the point of mortality if left unresolved.
Out of fear and a desire to be in constant control, I’ve avoided situations where I may feel “lost.” (Physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually) However, the idea of getting lost has been growing in its appeal as I age and buckle under the weight and pressure of keeping it all together. Maybe, just maybe, there is something really freeing about being “lost.”
My understanding of “lost” shifted when I found myself getting “lost” in my paintings, meaning, fully immersed and absorbed to the point that I was in pure delight in what I was doing. In the art world, this is called being in “the flow.”
The next step in my journey took me to seeking out “lostness” in the presence of God. Being so intertwined with His Spirit that I literally would lose myself in the delight and joy of simply knowing Him. Interestingly enough, I’ve found that getting “lost” in my nature paintings often led to full immersion into His presence.
So now, I embrace getting lost. Lost in my work, lost in His nature, and in this place I find the one my soul thirsts for, and I ultimately find myself. Come into the wilds with me, get lost in His beautiful world and find what you’ve been looking for all long. Being “lost” in Him is truly being found.
This statement is the foundation for a new body of work that will be on display during October at Indiana Wesleyan University. I truly got “lost” in the creation of this work and rediscovered various attributes of my Creator that have grounded me, nurtured me, and changed me over the years. There are three attributes or qualities of God that have been my mainstay over the decades and I designed, layer by layer, three pieces in this collection to speak about them.
Unconditional Love: While this is something I’ve been cognitively aware of for as long as I can remember, God’s love didn’t really feel like something for me until college. Psalm 18 changed my understanding and recently, I read “Gentle and Lowly” by Dane Ortlund, which was such a wonderful reminder of the kind of love that God (through Jesus) has for us. If God has always felt kind of cold and austere to you, this book might help you see Him in a different light.
“Jesus does not love like us. We love until we are betrayed. Jesus continued to the cross despite betrayal. We love until we are forsaken. Jesus loved through forsakenness. We love up to a limit. Jesus loves to the end.”
When I remind my heart of the kind of love that God freely gives to me, I love others better and I love myself better. Our hearts fight against this kind of love because it feels so unheard of and crazy. I know, I’ve fought it for a long time. It doesn’t make sense at all, but lean in, dear one. It is a thing of miracles and it will heal your heart when nothing else can. This is also something I know.
Resilient Hope: Jesus has shown me crazy love and he’s also shown me a resilient hope. Hope grounded in faith and trust. Hope that doesn’t give in when everything screams that it’s pointless and foolish. Hope that is based on Him, not on me. When I look at the natural world around me and how it renews after floods, forest fires, and even after harsh winters, I’m encouraged to keep hoping.
“At least there is hope for a tree: If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail.” (Job 14:7)
Perfect Companionship: I’ve always been afraid of either being rejected or abandoned by those around me. In the past, this fear drove me to hide, withdraw or perform to ensure that never happened. As I’ve grown in my faith, the one quality of God that has surprised me is His constant companionship. In the middle of the night, in my studio, while I’m driving with the kids, when I’m struggling to referee a fight between my boys, when I’m laughing hysterically at something Tim did or said…. He’s always there when I lift up prayers and choose to look His way. I’m never, ever alone. That provides me with more strength and courage than I could have imagined.
So, wrapped in love, hope, and His constant presence, I’m releasing these works into the world with a grateful heart. The idea for these works came a year ago, the creation of them, just within the last several months. They are manifestations of what God is teaching my soul as I walk with Him. One step at a time.