Hope and Meaning {Anchors for the Soul}


“…the hope set before us.
We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul.”

 

Certian Hope cropped2

We need something to hang onto, don’t we? What gives us stability when life is unsettling or causes us to be overcome with grief or fear? What do we need in times of sustained pressure or pain? We need hope and meaning.

Viktor Frankl survived Auschwitz concentration camp during WWII. In his memoir, Man’s Search for Meaning, he shares that the key to his survival was to identify and focus on a purpose for living.

“In some way, suffering ceases to be suffering
at the moment it finds meaning.”

-Viktor Frankl

 

Certian Hope cropped

We can take this principle out of a dire situation and apply it to everyday life. It could be that promotion you’re eyeing at work, a daunting project or the long journey of grief. If we can identify the goal or hope that waits for us at the end of this journey, we will be sustained while putting in the long hours, or working through another painful event. 

 

Certain Hope for Things Unseen is a portrait of the space in time that exists between you and your goal. The binoculars and sprinkled references to birds gives evidence that finding and watching birds is the goal. We hang onto trophies of past victories such as nests and feathers to keep us moving forward when success eludes us. We see books that represent the learning and growing that occurs through prolonged effort. 

 

Finally, as the backdrop we find those soothing shades of blue and amber. They transcend over everything that is occurring in the painting, and also in life. We are reminded by these shades of blue that the end of the story is always heaven for those who know and love the LORD. And amber or fire, visual evidence of God’s presence in Ezekiel’s vision, assures us that God’s presence is a steadfast and comforting reality.

If you are waiting or working for something, fix your eyes on the prize and His promises and this will help you through to the end.

View the Painting

• Order the Puzzle

Certain Hope is now available as a puzzle! Order by October 25th to receive a puzzle by Christmas.
Certain Hope Puzzle small block

 

Beauty in the Broken Places • A Painting Spotlight

Whether uncomfortable or devastating, short-lived or seemingly endless, we’ve all had pain and difficulty. I find though, that long amounts of time spent in the darkest places is where this phenomenon of seeing beauty while being broken is most evident.

Coastal-11 “Beauty in the Broken Places” • 6×6 $295 ©Rebecca Finch

As I prepared the Coastal series, I heard sentiments from those following the process such as, “Oh, I love sea glass!” It’s lovely to look at and touch. But isn’t it interesting how the allure to sea glass itself is only there because it’s been broken and ground down by the elements? Similarly, we love to hold a smooth rock in our hands – a rock that has been sanded by time in a river’s constant friction.

These things are pleasing only because what they have been though was rough, lengthy and altering. 

Over the last few years, time and grit have ground me down to what I hope will one day become a lovely yet strong character. I’ve seen many of my close friends crushed then rebuilt into women with deep wisdom, empathy and a richness of friendship to offer. What a mystery it is to be in the darkest of moments yet be able to see so many good things such as friendships, strengthened faith, character and opportunities to care for others that would never have existed if we’d not been temporarily ruined.

This is the gift that goes along with a crushing. Meaning and purpose become a blanket for the long night.

I’ve recently read about Kintsugi or “golden repair,” a Japanese art form where broken pottery is repaired with gold. There is no attempt to hide the imperfections. In contrast, the gold accentuates the broken places and gives value to the events occurring to the object instead of brokenness causing it to be discarded.

The gold in my broken places is the Lord who is slowly repairing and holding me together. As I see the veins of His golden healing in my friend’s lives, I’m comforted that beauty and victory comes from what should have been finality.

For those who trust in Him, He will mold the grit into a pearl. He will turn mourning into joy. He will shape the gravestone into a monument of His faithfulness. He has the last word on brokenness, and it’s a beautiful final Word: “It is finished.” 

 “My scars are significant and precious. I shouldn’t keep hiding them. I am recognizable by them; they make me unique. They are an integral part of who I am. They show that through Christ, I am a conqueror – that I have suffered and, by the Holy Spirit, have overcome… The dictionary says ‘a scar is mark left by a healed wound.’ A healed wound. My scars signify healing.” – Vaneetha Rendall Risner, The Scars that Have Shaped Me

“He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” – Psalm 147:3


IMG_4285 (1) This year’s Christmas Products will feature the Coastal series from the 2018 Mosaic group show.

Coastal Products for Christmas Delivery are coming soon. 

Look for Coastal products from Redbubble, a 2019 Coastal Calendar and a brand new product that will all be revealed starting next week.

2017 Calendar • The Promise of Morning

It’s finally here!! My first calendar.

 

calendar-sm-2I’ve been thinking about creating one for years and it just never seemed like the right time or I didn’t have the right paintings. After doing a group of paintings for my recent show at West End Gallery, it felt right. They all went together so well.

This group of paintings created for the 6-person show were so different than before. They had personal, almost allegorical meaning to me. The colors were symbolic and a lot of my current life journey is reflected in them. But I imagine when I begin to share their significance, that you may also find yourself and your own journey in them.

Order by Monday, December 12th to guarantee Christmas delivery!

 

video-image

To introduce the calendar and further begin to explain the depth of the paintings, I wentlive on Facebook this week.

View the video

View the Images

Read about the Calendar

 

 

Visit my website for more information. There is a link to see all of the images and read about what “The Promise of Morning” actually means. The calendar is also available without Scripture.

 

 

 

 

 

In His Presence {painting #1 in progress}

This week, I started the first painting for a 6-person show I’ve been invited to join this October. I’ve entitled the theme for my part in the show as, The Promise of Morning, read here for a deeper meaning of the theme. As you may know, this group of paintings will be different than any other I have ever put together. I’ll be pouring more into these paintings than I’ve ever put in my work before, and hopefully it won’t be just more of myself, but more of Him.

Held Together progress-3

painting #1 in progress

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The Promise of Morning {a coming exhibition in October 2016}

I was recently invited to be part of a 6-person show, “In the Spotlight II” at West End Gallery this coming October 2016. And I must say that it is PERFECT timing. I have recently made some changes to the way I do art and it has really altered the trajectory of my whole art career. {Read about the changes in a recent blog, here}.

I don’t even know what my career is going to look like in a few years. All I know right now is that God has brought the changes and I’m relying on Him for each next step.

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“Freedom to Hope” {5×7 oil sold}  •limited edition prints are available

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A Paradigm Shift in the Studio

 

Keys to My Heart Rebecca Finch

With the beginning of this recent Keys to Freedom series in January, a new way of painting made it’s way into the studio. For a while I used art as an escape from some painful times in my life. But I slowly realized that this was not going to help me process or work through any of life’s difficulties. So as I began this series, I was in the middle of trying to figure out what it would look like if I invited my whole self into the studio instead of banning from my artsy haven the part of me with all of those pesky issues. And from that change, the Keys to Freedom and Under the Shadow of Your Wings series’ were created.

Themes that I’ve struggled with and concepts I wanted to celebrate started to emerge somehow mingling with the objects I had decided to paint. This is only the beginning of this new purpose for painting. I don’t know what it will look like in the future, how long they will continue, or if I’ll put them in a book one day. Right now, I just have titles to help explain the themes, but soon I’ll be blogging about each painting to unwrap the gifts, whether painful or healing, in hopes that some of you may enjoy and identify with them.

Stay tuned for some encouragement and hopefully the continued assurance that you’re not alone as you walk your own journey.

Some of the original paintings have sold, but there are limited edition prints available. Order yours, here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Caretaker’s Empty Nest {Fictionette}

The Caretaker's Empty Nest ©Rebecca Finch

The Caretaker’s Empty Nest {9×12 oil, $575} ©Rebecca Finch

While painting this still life, I became quite emotional and nostalgic as I experienced a small form of empty nest, myself. My little baby had just started Kindergarten and was also taking the bus for the first time. I must say that every time that bus pulls away, my heart aches. So this painting took on that bittersweet tone and a story developed as its backdrop that might just give you the warm fuzzies. 

The Caretaker’s Empty Nest
by Rebecca Finch

The Caretaker's Empty Nest

He laid the nest gingerly on the weathered table. It was a mesmerizing swirl of twigs, string, hair and feathers. He tried to recall how long it had been since the two birds had moved into the foliage beside his shed. He’d occasionally unlocked the old gate to peek in on their house project as they came and went, gathering supplies. The dense bush there provided visual protection, however he still managed to see down through their wooded skylight to watch every preparation.

It was only a few weeks later the silence was continually broken with intense chirping as mother and father bird made countless trips to feed their babies. Through the night, and on through the day, they took shifts. Then the feathers grew in and the chirp pitches lowered. Their first falls and first successful flights. He’d been there to see it all – cheering quietly, indulging his curiosity, stifling a gasp here and a chuckle there. Each stage rekindled memories of the growing and changing of his own children, years ago.
theCaretakersEmptyNest RebeccaFinch-7

Seeing more than just a bird’s nest, he gathered the feathers that had fallen to the floor of his old cabin. They were like old toys left behind by now grown children; representations of a life stage now past. He would keep the nest as a mother keeps a family scrapbook.

But now he needed something to fill the space that watching over this tiny family had filled over the last two months. There was an emptiness, like a house, oddly still during the first day of school. The void brought his thoughts full circle and before he knew it, he was on the phone talking to his daughter. With children of her own chattering away and filling days with memories to be stored for her own twilight years, father and daughter reconnected.

Contact Rebecca or West End Gallery
for more information on this painting.

Christian Art and Aesthetics

Does “good” art have to be beautiful? Here is an interesting video about the need for real life to be reflected in the realm of Christian arts in terms of music and visual art.

The video below accompanied an article on the Gospel Coalition Website and brings up some interesting issues regarding how Christian arts are and should be changing. Some feel the tone is pompous, and I feel that their complaint is a bit unfounded. Judge for yourself.

I do have a few thoughts after watching:

I do have to disagree with their opinion that too much Christian music is happily fake and too much like the unrealistically beautiful Thomas Kinkade paintings. Maybe I listen to a different grouping of music than they do but I tell you, a lot of what I hear is brokenness in music right now. The CCM artists are getting very real. Just listen to Blessings by Laura Story. There are hundreds of songs (maybe thousands) that also give the impression that the writer has come through a difficult time of life, and they’re not afraid to sing about it. Take “Down Here’s” newest album, or half of the songs from Jeremy Camp’s Unplugged album that share brokenness and pain are where we learn about God more, become stronger and more solid in belief in Him.

This song has been so powerful in my life. Jeremy Camp’s wife died of cancer after 4 months of marriage. He can still write a song about being in the greatest pain of life yet still believing in what God has promised.

I also say we need balance. They are saying there’s not enough real life. Well, for those who are going through the trenches, yes we need to hear the songs like Blessings, but we also desperately need the songs that give real hope. The songs that take our focus off our situation and bring us to the bigger picture of Who we serve, what He is like, and what our long term future holds. It’s necessary for daily survival. We need the songs that Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman are writing because we need relief from our situation. Not just fluffy happiness, but real relief that points us to our Creator and is a genuine comfort.

Yes, there needs to be a recognition that we are destitute and life isn’t perfect. Right now life is so painful I can’t take in all the facets in one glance and the days that I try to, my tears fall all day long and my body hurts. . .BUT I have a Savior and He is walking with me, helping me through, and I have His promises to lean on when I’m so distraught that my hands shake. There’s a difference between celebrating the truth of God in my life and putting on a fake front that everything is okay.

I’m saying that we need both, and in the music industry of CCM, we certainly have both.

As for Thomas Kinkade? As an artist, I agree with their perception of the artist’s opinion of him. But as a Christian? Maybe people’s lives are so difficult they need the warm glow for some relief. Again, balance.

Yes, the Psalms are full of David simply crying out to God in distress, but you can pretty much count on David in the last few verses to remind himself Who God is, and why he can be joyful even though the tears are flowing.

Tragic Art – controversial healing for 9/11

The dilemma of expressive art on the still raw emotion of 9/11

I recently stumbled on an article entitled Terrible Beauty written just before the September 11th ten year anniversary, and even though it’s a little old, I’d still like to bring it here to this blog. The article visits the difficulty of presenting art, photography, and memorabilia to the public due to the wide array of reactions that may result. This is not a mere matter such as whether or not someone appreciated an artists’ work, it is however a potentially explosive subject because the event has so deeply devastated and changed Americans.

Unidentified Woman

Unidentified Woman ©Sarah Charlesworth 1980, created 21 years before 9/11, this piece is a prime example of art that can unintentionally be connected to 9/11 events.

In the article,   notes “For New York museums, it’s not clear whether creating content related to the anniversary of 9/11 is a responsibility, an opportunity, or an invitation to inevitable and unwanted controversy.” Some art can appear insensitive and have been removed from public display, for example, Eric Fischl’s Tumbling Woman was quickly excluded from the Rockefeller Center. In these cases, “priorities of patriotism, as well as the moral rights of victims and their families, trumped freedom of expression.”

The Museum of Modern Art in Long Island, NY currently has an entire floor devoted to September 11. The catch is that most of the installations were created before the September attacks, however they surprisingly bring on a connection to the attacks due to their unintentional, however iconic nature.

Francesc Torres, a professional photographer who documented the wreckage brought to a hangar at JFK,  grappled with concerns that his photography of 9/11 events would appear too much like art. His photographs can be found in the National Geographic book, Memory Remains.

“The chronicle in the official book of the 9/11 Memorial, A Place of Remembrance (National Geographic), shows, as if any more proof were needed, how sensitive, delicate, and fraught each object, image, and symbol of the attacks remains.”

A Place of Remembrance

As I read this article I am unsure that we will find the right answer for the public as a whole. It seems that we are teetering on a necessary tightrope of expression to heal and remember but there is always the danger of being offensive, insensitive, and exploitive.

Where is the balance? I believe it’s in the individual to either attend the exhibitions, memorials,  sift through the books if that is what will help them and stay away if it is offensive. Within reason and sensitivity, I believe that artistic expression is necessary especially if the artist themselves is honestly grieving and a journey through 9/11 art creation will genuinely be a healing experience for them. If this is the case, I’m not sure if the tragedy can be depicted in a hurtful offensive way.

Memory Remains The bottom line is, people are still grieving and as grief takes on many forms people are compelled to behave in different ways. What might help one person heal may also send another into a crippling tailspin of despair. We all need to be sensitive, without being too sensitive. Together, in the remembering, crying, and telling of their stories whatever form that may take, America will slowly begin to heal. I believe it has only begun.

Want more?

Visit the official 9/11 memorial website
Comment to share your opinion on this blog or my Facebook Page.

Wine of Release

Wine of Release ©Rebecca Finch

Wine of Release ©Rebecca Finch

There have been days where I was too upset to paint. I would go in, put music on, don my hat, get my tools ready – all with a heavy heart. Only 30 minutes into painting I couldn’t see because of my tears and I felt I couldn’t breathe because of the weight of all I had experienced. (Ever been in so much emotional pain, you can actually feel physical pain? Yeah, been there these last 2 weeks.)

I was making such a mess of things because seeing and thinking properly cannot be done while upset. So I had to leave the painting and still life alone for a few days. I had more important things to do than to play with paint anyway, although my husband wants me to keep working because he knows painting this series will also help me to process everything.

But now I am back at it. Things are looking up for now, my heart is beginning to heal and it seems that my painting skills have returned after not having painted in so long. I’m really looking forward to my next painting session so I can play with those roses.

Healing Art

He Makes All Things New ©Rebecca Finch

He Makes All Things New ©Rebecca Finch

Last week was quite possibly the worst week in my life, and each day continues to be a challenge. Our lives will never be the same and I imagine years from now I may still be shedding tears over the changes that we have experienced. However as always, good things come from painful situations. We are already seeing good come. Somehow the healing will take place and I believe that for me, the Lord has given me ideas and a creative outlet for working out this pain for His good.

He Makes All Things New was started the week before my world was rocked. But as I finished the painting today and looked back on what I was beginning to see as God’s idea of last week, I had to recognize that He is doing a new thing in our lives. And since everything God does is good I am in awe of how He has wielded a devastating week into joy and blessing. Only He can do such things.

Stay tuned for more paintings in this collection as I somehow put on canvas through still life the healing that I have miraculously received from Him in just a few days. It should have taken me a year to get here. Praise the Lord for the new things He does!