When Painting Means So Much More

I am a third generation painter. My father is a painter, as was his mother before him. Painting has always played an important role in my life. My training came along side life training. I remember learning about points of perspective, and proportions of the human body, just as I remember learning to ride my bike and dancing ballet. Every school project became an art project. In fourth grade, I made a life size statue of George Washington for a history project. and in middle school, my presentations were shrink wrapped and displayed as fine art. Creating has always been second nature to me. It is a treasured bond that I share with my dad. As I have grown older, creating art has also become a way for me to connect with my heavenly father.

Rhythm & Balance LernerIn 2014, I had the privilege of doing some artwork for a fundraiser hosted by Elkhart General Hospital in Elkhart, IN. During this time, there was a tragic shooting that took place in our community. In response to this, the hospital asked if I would paint a memorial piece in memory of the shooting victims. It was my great honor to create an art piece entitled “A Three Stranded Cord”. The monument represents the strength of our community during that hard time. It shows that with love, hope, and unity, our community is like a three-stranded cord that cannot easily be broken. This was my first time painting for hurting people. The experience opened a door in my heart and gave me direction for my artwork.

Martin's 2 sidesShortly after the memorial dedication, I was asked by St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Mishawaka, IN to begin painting their oncology unit. When I began, I didn’t realize how much this project would impact my life. As I have watched cancer patients view my artwork, I have seen them gain hope, and determination to keep up the fight, and this experience has greatly inspired me, offering me my greatest fulfillment as an artist.

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When people are sick, it is important that they get out of bed, walk around, and have a renewed hope, and inspiration for life.  Art can do that.

When people have lost someone dear to their heart, it is important that their memory live on, that others remember their life and are inspired.  Art can do that too.

Art can offer hope.  It is an inspiration of life.  It can soothe the soul and offer healing to the hurting in way that words cannot.

As I dip my brush into the paint and I make brush strokes across the wall., it is my prayer that those who see my paintings are able to see God’s heart for their life, that in the darkness of cancer, His presence is known and His love for His people is felt. This is why I paint.

The desire of my heart

It is every artist’s dream to be able to do something meaningful with their art, and I am no different.

hope sketchIf you have been reading this blog for awhile, then you know that I have been searching for some purpose and meaning to my artwork.

In the last year, my art has become a form of worship for me as I seek God in my creating.  It has become the desire of my heart that other people will be able to connect with my art and see the heart of God.  God has given me this desire of my heart.

A few weeks ago, I shared a couple posts with you about hope. (here & here)

I had been asked to design and paint a mural for the oncology unit of the hospital.  The only requirement was that the painting inspire hope.

I started painting last week.

The opportunity is amazing!  Many people come by daily to see the progress, and I’ve heard all kinds of positive comments!  My best experience painting at the hospital happened yesterday when I could hear an old man grumbling about how much farther he had to walk to get to his room.  The nurse and therapist were trying to get him up to get some exercise.  I heard the therapist say ” your room is just up here.  You can do it. You’re doing a great job.”  Then the little group came around the corner and this patient saw the mural I was working.  Suddenly, he was bright & witty with comments.  For the moment while he paused to chat with me, he was no longer in a hurry to return to his bed feeling tired and achy.

The director wants to create a gallery of murals that will encourage patients to get out and walk around the halls to see them.  I don’t know how many murals that will be in the end, but so far the response has been amazing.
Just a month ago, I was praying that God would use my hands as his own to create art that penetrates peoples hearts.   Now here I am painting God inspired murals to encourage cancer patients.  I feel blessed, and incredibly honored to have this opportunity!

hopeat St. Joseph Medical Center, 6-garden