The artist chooses sea green and sweeps it onto the canvas. The basic outline has been completed and she now releases herself to place life in the picture with her creative eye. The first lines provided the impression of what was to be, but as layer upon layer of colour is added, the message of the art comes alive.
The designer of this project, a writer, had a vision of how the art would show her message. As they spoke of styles and meanings the artist realized the importance of this assignment. The designer herself would be enjoying the finished piece. She did not plan to showcase it, but if someone were to notice she would willingly share the meaning of each element and what they meant within the piece.
The artist chooses a simple brown to add shading to the open book, whose pages were fluttering as though a breeze from the bird’s wing had lifted them.
Across the book, she places a quill pen. The nib has a small cross design that holds the ink and is tipped in blood red. This tip is connected to the quill, tied to the peacock feather by purple wrapping. At the end of the wrap where the feather fronds begin, hangs a white cross with a red bead in the center.
The artist creates the feather with multiple jewel tones, paying special attention to shading and emphasizing the “eye of God,” the circular design on a peacock feather. Delicate beads are attached to the feather stem the length of the colourful fronds.
Opposite the feather but reaching to equal height in the design, the bird stretches his wings in flight. He is not brightly coloured like the peacock feather but is shaded to show delicate feathers. Wispy swirls are placed throughout the picture, connecting the elements and giving life to the moving air that lifts the pages of the book.
The artist stands back to examine her work. The placement, the colours, the shading, the individual elements, and the complete effect. The canvas was not smooth and perfect. It had been creased and was discoloured in places. However, the design cut through those scars, so the eye was no longer drawn to them. She touched up a place or two and added one more wisp of wind.
Finally, the artist chooses the final colour. The bright red would both add to and distract from the rest of the picture. She letters with blood the title of the piece under the book and quill.
“My Story is Eternal”
The artist is pleased, so steps back to allow the canvas to rise and make her way to the mirror. The designer gazes at her newly tattooed chest and draws a quick breath.
“How beautiful!” she whispers, a catch in her throat. Tears well inside her heart but do not complete the journey to her eyes. She has been drained dry by the last few years. Now she is simply grateful, awed, excited.
“The scars are not completely covered, but my eyes are not drawn to them. Even the radiation tattoo dot has disappeared!” The designer, herself the canvas, sees her message and is amazed at the fine lines of truth.
The book; her life, her journey, her story. She is a writer. She knew all the difficult stories in that book. Childhood sexual abuse. Confusion, loneliness, tears. Breast cancer treatments and mastectomies. Her husband’s near-fatal cancer. SAD, depression, deep pits of darkness – mental health struggles developed from her childhood, years of exposure to traumatic events through her work, and now life-changing surgery. Yet over, throughout, and around the pages was comfort, protection, and hope.
The eye of God. “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me,” she hummed the Gospel hymn based on Psalm 32:8, Matthew 6:26, and Matthew 10:29-31.
The dove, God’s Spirit hovering in every circumstance, causing holy winds and healing breezes to move through her heart.
The cross, the blood of her Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ, promising healing, purpose, and hope to come from life’s scourging. Eternal comfort.
Writing stories of my life builds my faith as I see how God has been present in each detail. Faith provides hope in my stories. Both faith and writing are indelibly tattooed into my life.
Because of God, my story is eternal.
“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:1-5 (New Living Translation
Marnie writes from northern British Columbia. She shares from her heart, drawing from both painful and joyful life experiences, where she believes God's presence makes all the difference.