Sunday, April 22, 2012

Another Week in the Cast

Okay, I admit it. I'm sitting here tapping my feet, twisting locks of hair, and going a little bit crazy. I look down at  this hard piece of plaster and bandages engulfing my whole left hand except for the thumb (which might be useful except for the fact that it's disconnected from the rest just enough to be in a constant state of paraesthesia). I keep thinking the day I have my painting hand back to full recovery can't come soon enough.

You know what I miss? Washing dishes. Opening a jam jar. Typing with both hands. Buttoning my pants (yes, I've pulled out my entire wardrobe of elastic-waisted bottoms for this week. Real fashionable!). Putting my hair in a ponytail. Applying the perfect sweep of eye liner. I even miss working out (something I never would have admitted to before!). Most of all, I miss the silent daily dialog between me and my work. The paint has dried up on my palette, my blank canvases grow dusty, and my brushes sit unused, like soldiers without an assignment.  

Meanwhile, my projects pile up, as I've put them off for a whole month now. I thought April was going to be a crazy month, but it's almost as though God decided to re-arrange my schedule for me, enforcing an extended time of awkward stillness that even I -- an artist accustomed to long hours of solitude -- am uncomfortable with. The longer I am unable to do things, the more I am rightly forced to dwell on spiritual matters... i.e., not the state of my art (because let's face it... it's on hold right now!), but rather, the state of my soul. If I am struggling with a mere broken finger, I have to ask--how do the sick and dying, paraplegics, cancer-stricken, and weary sufferers of this world make it through each day, without the hope for heaven that I have? This "round two" of wearing a cast and suffering pain and being forced to abstain from my work... has it been yet another test to see where I've placed my true allegiance? Once upon a time, I thought this would be impossible to endure; I lived in fear of hurting my hands or being put in a position where I might not be able to do the things I love. Now that it's happened, I'll be the first to confess that it hasn't been easy, yet God's grace has been abundant, and He is helping me make it through. The moments where I lose sight of Him and start dwelling on me - are when I break down and begin to despair (will it never end?),  but as soon as I go back to God's Word and become reminded of His promises, I have hope once more. There is always hope for those who trust in the Savior.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. - Colossians 3:1-2 

Perhaps there's even hope for me as an ambidextrous painter! Ha! In my boredom, I have started yet another right-handed self portrait. This time I experimented with setting up two mirrors so that instead of the typical frontal view, it was a profile. I got very frustrated with myself and my limitations while working on this piece, but the surprising part is that it actually looks like me. Whether or not it's a good painting, I don't know. But at least I got to get my brushes dirty again and spend some much-needed time in the studio.

Double-Mirror Self Portrait with Right Hand, 12x9 - oil on Raymar panel 


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