Abstract Approaches, Lesson 1, Part 1

Art class: Abstract Mojo.

Abstract Approaches, Lesson 1, Part 1

I’m taking a new art class called Abstract Mojo with Tracy Verdugo. Off and on over the last 2 weeks I have been working on the first lesson which is really a free lesson, called Abstract Approaches.

This lesson is not really part of the Abstract Mojo course; rather it is a prelude to it. I spent $200 for the entire Abstract Mojo course, and it is self paced. The lessons are done via videos and will not expire. There is also an online art community you can be a part of.

You can find this particular lesson here:

https://youtu.be/G4t40NX0QqQ

On March 31, 2021, I watched Abstract Approaches, Lesson 1, Part 1.

She asked us to create 15 pieces of artwork on smaller watercolor paper and work on all of them simultaneously.  I wasn’t sure about the size, but it looked like she was working with 5×7 inch papers, so that is the size I chose to work with. She had 5 across with 3 rows and a tiny space in between. She said create a list of words to act as prompts of things you want to convey, feeling words and art element words that are descriptive.

This lesson was all about contrast,  so for each word she asked us to write its opposite.  Then we simultaneously created the compositions on the watercolor paper using the words as prompts. Each piece should have contrasting elements so if you use straight lines, use curvy; use delicate with bold; detailed with loose; happy with sad, etc. Instead of a piece having half of each descriptive and half of the opposite, try 2/3 and 1/3 with the contrasts. She directed us to keep working and add various elements across the papers using different mediums. She started with charcoal. She used acrylic inks, heavy body acrylics, a gouache crayon, bamboo sticks, her fingers, large brushes etc. I like how she scratched into wet paint. She asked us to keep working and not to judge our art until we were done. She said at that point, you can always fix something that you don’t like.  She typically adds white last. She encouraged,”Don’t be afraid to be bold or even change or cover over parts you like.” She had deliberate lines, random lines etc. She experimented and was analytical at the same time. 

These are the words I chose:

Words:

Revival, extinguish

Birth, dying

Hope, despair

Order, chaos

Justice, injustice

Mercy, judgement

Spring, fall

Bright, dark

Colorful, black

Loose, tight

Protected, vulnerable

Green, red

Life, death

Purple, yellow

Holy, unsanctified

Glory,  dishonor

Curvy, straight 

Rough, smooth

Vague, detailed

Blooming, folding

Expanding, constricting 

Pink, light green

simple, complicated

Five, negative five

Teal, red/orange

Door of Hope

Door of Hope, digital mixed media. Created on 04.09.21

There may be updates to this later as God speaks to me more about it. I’m kind of tempted to do more digital work. This is a mixed media collage. Digitally, I just did did auto color adjustment and enhanced the contrast. I added the “Juno” filter from Instagram. It might be fun to do more with this, but its growing on me like it is.

Door of Hope- poem

Push through

Keep your eyes on me

Don’t look back.

Oh you weary child,

You’re a new creation

in a new season.

The old has passed away.

Press forward.

The hour is at hand

For your new land

is unfolding before you.

It awaits

It is taken by faith

Push through

Every obstacle,

Every delay.

Nothing can stop my plans.

You’re birthing the promises.

Don’t give up.

The hour is at hand.

You’re almost there. 

The door is before you.

Walk through.

Crossing the Jordan

Crossing the Jordan, digital mixed media created on 04.07.21.

I see us crossing from a place of hopelessness and despair to a place of promise; a place of answered prayers; a place of victory. We are crossing from a  barren, empty place of affliction and bondage to a place of freedom, bounty, and fruitfulness. 

After I made this spontaneous art piece I noticed the two blue, flowy lines like rivers, and God said, ” Call it Crossing the Jordan.”  If you remember in Joshua 3-5 God used Joshua to lead the Israelites out of the wilderness into the promised land, a land flowing with milk and honey. He had led them out of captivity and slavery when he parted the red sea, but because of their unbelief, complaining, and inability to seize the new land God was giving them, they ended up wandering in the desert for 40 years until Joshua led them into the promised land. They still had giants to fight in the new land, but this time through the faith of Joshua and Caleb they were able to hold onto enough faith to cross over. I think its remarkable that the ark of the covenant went first. To me, this symbolizes the promises of God and how God is always faithful to keep his word. God then parted the waters of the Jordan just like He did at the red sea. This time they really were able to cross through to the land of promises fulfilled.

May it be said that while it has been dry and barren in our circumstances like it was in that desert, God was busy planting many seeds inside of us. They were germinating deep inside of us, waiting for just the right time for the rains of God to come. With the latter rain God brings cleansing, healing, restoration, and revival. You.may not see the rain just yet, but I see the rain cloud! It’s coming! As God’s heavenly rain comes the seeds grow and multiply at an accelerated rate. With the rain comes the promises! We are crossing over into a land of plenty; a wide open space of freedom where promises are fulfilled.

Don’t give up hope. We’re at the threshold of victory. We are in labor with the promise. It is soon coming! God’s word has been sent out and it never returns void.

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21 NIV)

Testing out my new camera.

Me (age 51), Lilah (my grandaughter, age 7), Mt Trashmore Park, Gosnold Park, and my new camera. I tried it out today for the first time. I purchased it used on ebay for half the cost of a brand new camera. I mainly got it to get high quality images of art to produce into prints. Its fun to take regular pics, too. I also love photography. I need to get a tripod next.

Freedom

Freedom, 8.5×5.5 inch mixed media

This is my first experimental artwork with acrylic inks!! I purchased some new acrylic inks along with alot of other art supplies that were on a list of art supplies I need for a new art class I’m taking. I purchased an abstract art class called Abstract Mojo with Tracy Verdugo. I’m excited about it, but I haven’t been able to watch the lessons yet because my laptop is in the shop, and its not compatible with my phone. I should have my laptop back in one more week, but in the mean time, its driving me crazy not to be able to watch the lessons, because I am part of her online art community and have been seeing amazing art posted by many other students!!! Of course I want to be able to do that, too! 

But since I’m so excited about it and can’t watch the lessons I purchased,  yet, I have been watching a few YouTube tutorials about acrylic inks.

I was too tired to invest any energy in a major piece of art, so I decided to just experiment today and try them out on a smaller paper. I used them today for the first time on top of a watercolor painting. I had also experimented with some new oil pastels I got which I added first. This is made on 8.5×5.5 inch mixed media paper which is a good size to use for quick sketches or just exploring.

Divine Order

03.17.21, New Opportunities

About the art: I made two new collages yesterday and the day before when I did collage with my art therapy groups (the first one is above and the second one is below further down in the reading.) I needed to show the patients how to put the collage pieces on and how they could add oil pastels to it. The groups were small enough that I was able to add on to it during the group. One group loved it so much that they wanted to do it again the next day. It was a fun day. I love collage, and all the patients were enjoying it too, and getting so creative. I really love to see people expressing themselves, freeing themselves, and getting creative. It was kind of interesting to see the patients getting so free with it because I sense God saying we’re getting ready to walk into a new level of freedom.

Today, I was asking God about the art I just made-at least for a title. He showed me doors and buildings in the first one and said we’re going to have new opportunities. In my quiet time with him today, He was telling me about my destiny and how all the pieces of my life will finally fit together to make a complete picture…every experience has allowed me to gain skills, knowledge, wisdom, sensitivity, passion, strength, and endurance for the times ahead. This is true not only for me, but for all of His saints who have followed him and submitted their life to Him.

He showed me a wardrobe closet in heaven full of new clothes. These clothes are beautifully woven and handcrafted garments that not only reflect our royal identity as sons and daughters, but also our callings, giftings, anointings, and mantles. Up until now, my clothing left alot to be desired…maybe I was even wearing rags, but it was part of the journey and process which God allowed to bring me humility and dependence on him. Although, those two things came by the way of pain and suffering, they really are gifts that will help me immensely and be invaluable. Many of us had to prepare by the way of hard knox and suffering, but as we submitted to God through it, it built in us a greater level of maturity and preparedness. In my quiet time, I sensed we’re coming into a time where we will wear these new garments, and understand who we are created to be, and how much care and attention went into perfecting every detail; each garment is tailor made for us and our unique temperaments and giftings.

God showed me that the many seeds (giftings) He had planted in us were now rising to the surface. We are walking into a season where we can finally reap the rewards of our hard labor and the painful submission process. Those who put God first and submitted to this process will see increase and reward.

Its a time of divine order. As we put on our new garments and walk in the callings and assignments God has for us, and as we understand who He created us to be, there will be such an increase in the peace and joy that we feel. This will translate into a whole new level of freedom. God truly is removing the burdens from us, and taking off the shackles. We have been oppressed for two long under ungodly leadership and as a result of secret sins in our nation which were hidden and in many cases buried underground. God has brought his fire to purify and expose; this has been happening for awhile now and will continue. The fire of God is exposing these hidden things so that we can deal with them and cut them off at the roots. They have been choking out the good seeds He planted which is why He is eradicating them now… it is a season to harvest both the good and the bad, but with our submission to God the bad just gets exposed and then eradicated. He is exposing things we each have to come to terms with, and He is drawing us near to him, wooing us into repentance. Once these issues are faced and dealt with, and we have repented, He will deliver us and bring his cleansing rains. He is doing this with us individually and as a nation. The process is painful initially, but its a necessary part of the healing process, as total healing can’t happen if there’s any kind of infection or foreign object where it shouldn’t be. He has to poke around in the painful, infected places to identify them and pull them out. God spoke today and said He is making the crooked paths straight. He is correcting all those things which are out of order and misaligned in our life, and it begins in our own heart, soul, and mind.

03.17.21, Cleansing Rain

The good seeds will then have room to grow. They will flourish. God will bring His cleansing rains, and He will wash us clean and heal us. As this literal spring comes forth in a few days, expect the rains! The fire has been burning for quite a while, and now its time for rain! This rain will not only cleanse and heal us, but it will also bring deliverance. We are in a season of deliverance from all that afflicts us, oppresses us, and keeps us bound. We are coming into a wide open, spacious place of freedom.

So the freedom will happen as He delivers us and as we each put on the new garments and function within our God-given roles and assignments. This will lead us to experience more peace, joy, and love which will overflow out to others and change the very atmosphere we live in. This will cause a reset to occur, especially as we take authority, declare, and establish God’s will in our personal lives, in our homes, in our families, in our cities, in our nation, and here on the Earth. This will then usher in God’s divine order. I see great peace, order, prosperity, and fruitfulness coming our way. Spring is on the way!!!

These are the two scriptures God highlighted today:

“A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all mankind will see God’s salvation’” (Luke 3: 5-6 NIV)

There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. (Hosea 2:15 NIV)

Playful

Working on a new painting during worship. Its not done yet, and may entirely change. This is done on 18×24, 140 lb, cold press watercolor paper. I wanted it to be playful, spontaneous, and whimsical….Its likely to change entirely.

Its evolving. Perhaps now it looks a little heavier, but its not done. I will go back and forth adding more layers and tweaking it until I get it just the way I like it. I absolutely love layers and collage. Right now, its 1:15am, and it’s hard to stop right here. I want to add some white painter pens. I may also add more gelatos. I seriously want to add oil pastels too, but if I do I will need to go back over it with clear gesso….maybe???? Or maybe not…it depends in what I add on top of that.

Well, I couldn’t leave it like that. It bothered me too much. I sometimes get driven, and it’s hard to stop. I just added some white and yellow oil pastel. I moved my art to my bed and now I’m working from there. It’s now 1:44am and I’m debating if I should go to sleep or add some white painter pens. I think the white painter pen is calling to me.

I have church tomorrow morning and don’t want to overdo it, and stay up to late. Lord, help me.

I’m enjoying be able to show more of my process here.

Hmmmm…Back and forth I go. Its now 3:40 am, and I definitely need to go to sleep. My art making time was very sweet and very soothing. Tomorrow will be a new day with fresh eyes.

03.14.21 at 5:11pm…still at Walmart Auto Center..

Its getting closer to being done.

I kind of like the darker version better, but the lighting was just a bit brighter here….Intried to bring out the circle shapes more and added some gelatos.

If I were a landscape

If I were a landscape, there would be a lot to take in; it might seem to be confusing at first and even a bit bewildering. There would be odd juxtapositions in the landscape; things you wouldn’t expect to go together and even contradictions. There would be a complex cityscape intermingled with a vast expanse of outdoor space. There would be bursts of colors everywhere and pockets of dark space and corners that are not widely traveled. The dark spaces would be given the same space to exist as the prettier places and both would be honored. The grass would be a warm shade of green with spots of subtle pastel colors, dotted with flowers, and there would be quite a variety of trees, reddish rust colored cliffs, and blue green bodies of water, with some darker waters off in the distance, looking a bit foreboding. The sky would change colors depending on mood, but quite often it would be a blend of turquoise and magenta with the sun casting a warm glow. The beautiful landscape would have uniquely structured buildings located in odd places which would look like art sculptures themselves. They would rise up with bold walls and intersect in interesting and complex ways, and it would seem amazing that they would even stand; an architectural anomaly. In other areas outside there would be pleasant little nooks surrounded by plants, flowers, and seating areas to stop, relax, introspect, and reflect. One wouldn’t necessarily know where to go, and there would be so much to look at. But hidden in the landscape would be secret treasures waiting to be found, so walking through could be like a treasure hunt. Some treasures would already be found and placed in one of the unusual buildings which serves as a museum and library simultaneously. Unfortunately, some would be placed on shelves, dusty and neglected, while others would be carefully polished off. Only a few would be invited to come here. One would have to have a guide, and beware of the danger areas. Even the host does not usually enter the danger areas unless there is an expert guide and sometimes a close friend, for fear of getting lost or stuck there. There would be so much to see, some parts that bring joy, stillness, and calmness, and other parts that leave one full of fear and dread. Also, there would be deep portals or bottomless pits which appear out of nowhere. The ground would just suddenly open up, and if you were not careful you could fall right in. You could be falling for days and it could feel like forever, but just as suddenly and mysteriously the portal would close and you would find yourself on solid ground again. Some portals into the abyss would be clearly marked. Just getting near them would produce a deep ache and heaviness, for they go to a deep place of loss, betrayal, and brokeness from times long ago when innocence and wonder were stolen. But it seems as long as you didn’t fall into one of the dark abysses, you would be ok, and even if you did fall in, eventually helpers came around to pull you out. So you wouldn’t be there forever even if it felt that way. Truly most of the danger areas were really just smokey, scary places where it was hard to see; places of desolation from past wars fought, and even there guides came around if you just stopped and asked. Just as there were danger zones, there would also be places of healing, little bursts of water shooting up out of the ground from hard, rocky places. They are quite unexpected, but the water has been gushing and then trickling at different times, so this area is actually quite beautiful, surrounded with a garden of flowers that come right up out of the rocks. It is quite amazing to see, because behind the garden and water spouts are darker areas deep off in the woods. As long as you knew where you were going you would do quite well here, but you would definitely need a guide.

Side note: This was inspired by a writing prompt during an online conference I listened to. The whole purpose of the conference was to enhance creativity and artistic skill. I loved the prompt.

The internal landscape you see described here really describes what its like inside my mind being a creative with a history of sexual abuse, but with having had years and years of therapy and healing experiences.

Just Be

Self-portrait, mixed media, 04.22.20

Poem not sure of date, maybe January 2020.

My heart be still. My heart be still. Sometimes you must stop. Sometimes you must be real. Not trying to impress anyone…Not trying to be anything I’m not… Feeling something down deep inside of me trying to come out. Longing for words, and forms, and shapes…longing to just be. No judgements…just me. It’s me and Jesus now. Journeying this life as one… When life starts to get the best of me when I’m feeling besides myself… When the condemnation starts to fall… Jesus calls out to me. He pulls me through it all. He says, “Come. Come. Come. Come to Me, Come to the Living well…I am the water that restores your soul. I speak tender love songs to you. I do not see you that way at all. You are perfect in me. I made you perfectly. You don’t have to be anything. Just be here with me. Here with me. Here with me. Here with me. I love you through it all. I love you perfectly, perfectly, perfectly. Yes, I sent Jesus. He did it all. No more running. No more hiding. No more shame. You’re tattered pieces are being put together; You’re being made whole. I love you perfectly, perfectly, perfectly. In me is everything. Everything you need. Rest in me. Lay your burdens down at me feet. Stop worrying. Be here with me. Here with me. Here with me. I’m doing it all…saving you, restoring you; you’re being made well. Just be you. You and me. You and me. You and me…easily…gently…lightly. I kiss you with butterfly kisses, tell you it will all be Ok. You are safe now…Here with Me, here with Me, here with me…I will always be here for you. I will always love you, love you, love you like no other. Love you whole. Love you well. LOVE you whole, love you well…simply for being you. Just be you. I’ll give you form. I’ll give you shape, I’ll give you everything you need. I’ll give you words. I put my Spirit in you. It’s me and you. Me and you. Me and you flying through this life. Flying through it all. Me and you. Nothing can hold you back from doing my will. I love you, love you, love you perfectly throughout this life, through all eternity…You’ll always be a darling to me. I love you through it all.

-Cassandra L. Donnelly