Saturday, September 8, 2012

52 Portraits

     So it is with a bit of relief and a bit of sadness that I bring you this post.  I have FINISHED with the portraits for my ArtPrize piece, and none too soon.  In three days I will move my piece into it's home for the next few months, The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel!  It has been an amazing journey thus far, and I believe that I have stayed true to the idea behind this piece.  I have learned a few things on this journey that I would like to share with you.

1.  There is so much more need out there than I could have imagined!  When we set out on that rainy afternoon with the Blessing Bags, we had no idea that we would be able to hand them all out at one time, much less in two hours.  But hand them out we did, and we could have given out SO MANY more.  My hope is that people will see this piece and be moved to act!  Just imagine how BIG this could be if everyone chose to do something.

2.  It is amazing to step out of your comfort zone!  I have learned this twofold with this undertaking.  First, I have never shown my work publicly before.  Sure, I show it to family and friends, but nothing like this.  The real test will come while I am down there with it during the show, but so far so good :)  Secondly, I wasn't comfortable around the Homeless before this.  Since I started to volunteer at Heartside and interact with them, I have come to realize that they are just like me.  They long for compassion, and to be heard.  I will not continue to walk on by and ignore them just because they have fallen on hard times.  To be honest, I am ashamed of how I behaved before!  I have met some awesome people that I never would have taken the time to know before, and it is absolutely to my benefit to know them!

3.  My family and friends are amazingly supportive!  O.K. I already knew this, but it just really needed to be acknowledged publicly.  There is no way that this could have happened without the love and support of those around me.  THANK YOU ALL!

4.  I am an artist!  I have always been shy to admit that I am an artist.  I have loved art all of my life, but when I put labels on myself they have always included wife, mom, sister, daughter, friend, etc. I have never really labeled myself an artist.  That changes now.  I have been given this talent by a God that I am in awe of, and I am meant to use it!  I intend to do just that!

5.  God is Awesome!  This talent that I have was indeed given to me.  I also believe that the idea for this piece was given to me.  I am just glad that I had the courage to listen.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Moving right along

Today's post is short and sweet.  I am moving right along with the portraits....just fourteen left to go :)  I am getting more and more excited by the day and am starting to envision what the end product is going to look like!  Seeing these one by one is awesome, but take my word for it....when you see them next to each other it is VERY powerful!  I am still debating the background, and I need to make the decision soon!  Anyway, here are Brian and Eugene.  I see Brian frequently at Heartside and cannot wait to show him his portrait!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Thank You All!

I want to say thank you to everyone who is suppporting me in this endeavor!  Wow, what a time consuming project it has turned out to be :)  Each portrait is done in three steps.  I start by preparing two  sheets of watercolor paper at a time.  They are taped onto a board, and then wet down to stretch the paper.  After waiting for it to dry, I then draw each portrait lightly onto the paper.  When this is done, I can begin to paint them.  From this point, I have to paint them in one sitting or they end up having weird lines in them from where the paint dries.  They take between two to three hours to paint once I have them to the painting stage.  As you can imagine, this has taken LOTS of time from my normal day  to day stuff, and my family has definitely picked up the slack!  THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
I also want to thank my mom for stepping up and helping out with the next phase, and my sisters for their unwavering support from the concept stage!  My kids put up with me making them see each one as it is finished, and being excited (even if they are bored).  My amazing hubby has also let me bounce ideas off of him every step of the way, and everyone I speak to is absolutely encouraging!!!!  So, thank you all for the part you are playing in this!
With each painting I finish, I am getting more and more excited to see the finished product!  16 more paintings to go and the first step is done, then it is on to the next stage of putting it all together.  Keep checking in, and I will do my best to try and keep updating!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


     The last few weeks have been FULL of heart wrenching drama!  Deciding on a venue has been a much more difficult process than I could have predicted.  From the start, I have had my eyes and heart set on two very different places and they collided when both venues accepted the piece.  I had the most difficult decision I have had to make since the start of this process!  I am very honored to have been in this situation, and beyond humbled!
     Degage Ministries was the first to accept the piece, and after meeting with the marketing director, I felt that my heart was telling me that this was the place for the piece.  I went through the various ways of reconfiguring the piece to fit the space they had available, and could envision it.  I could see the actual people that the piece is about seeing themselves and filling with pride.
     The very same day, I heard back from the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel that they were interested as well! This is when my mind started to speak up!  I feel that the piece will be seen by so many more people here, and ultimately that is what it is about....bringing awareness to how prevalent Homelessness is right here in Grand Rapids, and how each of these people are an INDIVIDUAL, to the people who are able to actually make a difference!
     It is on that note that I am VERY PROUD to announce that the Amway will be hosting my piece for ArtPrize 2012!!!!!!!  In the next few days I hope to have the finalized details, my voting number, etc....WOW!  This is really happening! :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

     So it has been almost two months since I have updated my progress, but a lot has been going on!  I have done quite a few more are two to tease you with.  I have also signed up as an artist with ArtPrize, so it is really official now :)  I have applied to a few venues, and am VERY impatiently awaiting responses!  I had started to get a little worried, until I realized that out of the over 900 entries so far, only 60 or so have connected with a venue.  Prayers are absolutely appreciated during this placement period.  I know deep in my heart that this piece will end up where it is meant to, it is really just a matter of quieting the doubting fears of my heart.  I think that this is at the center of every artist...with each piece that we make, we put another piece of ourselves out into the world.  It is always a bit terrifying awaiting a response from others, as it is not just a picture that they are critiquing, but a piece of the artist themselves!  
     On a brighter note, I was able to show one of the men his portrait!  If you remember in the last post, I mentioned that I had seen Torrin at Heartside and was hoping to be able to show him his portrait.....well, he was and I did!  IT WAS AMAZING!  I introduced myself and asked if he remembered last fall when we came downtown to take the pictures.  He vaguely did.  I asked if he wanted to see his picture and of course he did :)  When he saw it, his whole face lit up!  He spent the rest of the afternoon literally strutting around the studio!!!  Before that point, he hadn't spoken with me at all, but now everytime we see each other there is joking and kidding around.....I have made a great friend!  And did I mention, he is a pretty great artist also!  He is currently working on mini wishing wells that are made out of old boxes and should check them out at the gallery!  I cannot begin to express what this ENTIRE experience has been for me!  The people that I have met, and the change in my heart is amazing :)  

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Are You A Follower?

So it has been awhile since I have posted!  Even though I am a little behind on the portraits, I haven't been doing nothing.....the letters to gain permission to use the lyrics have been written and mailed.....PLEASE PRAY FOR A QUICK RESPONSE!  I am really nervous about getting the permission.  I do have a back-up plan just in case.  There is another song, also called "Beautiful", by Mercy Me, a christian music group.  It also captures the meaning that I am trying to convey with this project.  So, now it is a waiting game......did I mention I am not really good at waiting?!

This week also marks the start of sign-ups for venues!  I have two or three in mind that I would love to get into, so your prayers are welcome for this part of the venture also!  I have started to work on the layout and thinking about the actual putting together of the pieces.  It is going to have to be done in pieces so that we can transport it safely, so we are thinking panels.

Now I would love to introduce you to Miciah and Torrin.  Miciah is the youngest of the people we met.  Torrin has actually shown up at Heartside while I was there one week.  I am really hoping that I run into him again so that I can show him his portrait!  How cool would that be!?  I am hoping to get two more done yet this week, so we will see how that goes!  Thank you to everyone who has signed up as a goal is to reach 100 by the time I sign up as an artist.  I have just over a month to reach that goal!  I really think that it will help me to secure a venue by showing the support that I already have for the piece!  Please please please, if you haven't already, please sign up as a follower!  It would mean a lot to me!

Thank you for your continued support and prayers!  I cannot believe how fast the time is moving now!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Two More Pics :)

The latest two people I painted are named Ock W. and Lazarro.  I love how the red just seems to pop off of the page :)  I spent my Friday afternoon down at Heartside again, and had a wonderful time!  I started to read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo this week, and was reading it while I was down there.  One of the young men was pretty interested in reading it, so after I finish it, I am going to lend it to him.  I also spoke to the director of the Art Program, Sara, and have found out that they can use the extra items that I had donated at the start of this project, so next week I will be taking down a large tote of things....further blessings! :)  Thanks for looking, and don't forget to pray for these men and the many others that are our neighbors!