Diptich, Parts 1 & 2 , Heilakka, 2020, 5inx7in, watercolor on Arches coldpressed paper.
An old Yiddish proverb says, “We make plans and God laughs.” We can all relate to that. I know a woman from New Jersey who set out for Florida in her car. What a surprise for her when she realized she was crossing into New York City!
I made a plan in January to paint one 5in x 7in painted prayer 5 days a week and post them to my Facebook Page. My plan went along well until I got the prayer that is pictured below
Diptych Part 1, 2021, 5in x 7in. watercolor on Arches cold pressed paper
I was stopped in my tracks and in my prayers. I spent two days looking, trying to figure out where I was supposed to work. Nothing came. My assumption was that I was going to apply micro pen. In an act of desperation and because I was tired of waiting, I completed the painting below.
Diptych Part 2, 2021, 5in x 7in, watercolor on Arches cold pressed paper
I waited and waited and waited. Nothing came. I turned them upside down and sideways looking for the image. I saw nothing. I was not aware at the time that I was approaching the pieces from a purely intellectual point of view. Artistically I saw a great demonstration of a foreground, middle ground and back ground. I sat and waited.
On January 25 I woke up at 2am. I walked into my studio and asked the question. “What’s going on here? Oh, these are painted prayers, what do they teach me about prayer. “ It was at that point that I realized they were complete. It was time to move on.
As we go through life not one of us hasn’t been tripped up by some unexpected event where the plan did not unfold as anticipated. Depending on the nature of the event, it may have occurred as though life has been turned upside down and sideways. It may have seemed that there is no clear footing or path forward.
If you are someone who turns to prayer at moments like that, it can feel as though prayers are being ignored, no matter how fervently you pray. Part of the trick may be to realize that your prayer doesn’t fit into the plan. You’ve heard it said, “Be careful what you pray for!”
From experience I can tell you that all prayers are answered though not necessarily in the way the expected way. That is the lesson from these painted prayers.
I do not have to know where I am in the process. I do not even have to know the prayer. No matter what, there is a foreground, a middle ground and a back ground; a beginning, a middle and an end.
I set out to paint one painted prayer 5 days a week. The universe laughed. There was a lesson to be learned again. Faith is not at all about belief. Faith is about trust. Faith is knowing that when you feel confused, the job is to put one foot in front of the other. Who was it who said, “The only way out is through.”
Watercolor / Pen & Ink
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