Sunday, March 1, 2015

Behold Thy Son

It was 4:00 pm, the light was fading and I was starting to panic. I needed to fix up a few little things but I kept messing up. There were only minutes left to photograph my painting before the light was gone. This painting was important to me. I kept praying but it didn't feel like it was helping. I wondered if the subject matter was too sacred and shouldn't be painted. I wondered if painting wasn't what I was supposed to be doing. I wondered if I just wasn't good enough.

Doubt and anger burst as I snapped my paintbrush in half. That act of artistic passion left me with a palm full of blood, a lot of questions and an unfinished painting.

The theme for the 10th LDS International Art Show is Tell Me the Stories of Jesus. I had been thinking about the theme for a year. I had a list of possible subjects I was interested in painting. I settled on painting Mary and Martha. I did sketches and was ready to go. Then my sister said she was going to paint Mary and Martha. She said we could both paint it because we would paint it differently.  That was true I thought but I didn't want the artwork to be about how two sisters painted the same and different. I thought it would distract from the paintings. I decided it was a blessing because there was something else I should paint.
After more contemplation and prayers, I read John 19, 26-28 again. I thought about how these scriptures testify to me of Christ's tenderness and compassion. I love that he didn't overlook his mother despite the pain and anguish that He suffered.

Christ's mother, Mary, held many things in her heart. I don't know that knowing his fate would have made it easier.  I can't imagine her anguish as her son suffered for all mankind. She was his mother but she couldn't lighten the burden. And then as His mortal life was coming to an end, He did something for her. He asked his friend, John, to take care of her, and then it was done.

What a beautiful story to share. I have never felt comfortable painting a representation of Christ. I sketched Mary from Christ's perspective. I was happy with it. I looked up flowers that would symbolize the event.

I sketched Mary sitting on the ground under the branch of a dogwood, a symbol of crucifixion.

Next to Mary is a lily, symbolizing reflection of pure light and of the pure soul's resurrection, and lilly of the valley, also known as Mary's tear. It is said to have sprung from her tears at the foot of the cross. There are violets and strawberries, representing  of the humility of Mary.
At the base of the cross, I wanted Passion flower. It is said that in the Passion flower, God portrayed the suffering of Christ. It is a powerful symbol of Christ's faith and suffering.

The first few days of painting went well. I started with more than enough time. Most of my painting time is spent with my dad these days, assisting him with the murals he is painting, but I still had plenty of time.

All was going well until I couldn't seem to finish the painting. And the next thing I knew, I missed the deadline and was getting stitches in my hand.

I almost drowned in my puddle of tears. Dan Barney tried to help, my kittens tried to help, and my parents tried to help, but I couldn't be consoled. I couldn't find comfort or answers.
I slept, then dragged myself back into the studio. I painted and fixed. 

It's not perfect but it's decent. One day I might even look at the painting and love it. It will take a while to sort it all out. The good news was that I looked at the entry form and found it still open. I took a photo of the painting on my iPad and sent it in. I hope that it gets into the show but if it doesn't, at least I finished it. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Little Warriors

 Little Warrior, She is Brave and Courageous
Warriors are trained and armed. They are ready to bravely face challenges.
 Little Warrior, Holding On
In the Little Warrior series, I am painting virtues that I warrior embodies. This painting is about holding on to one's convictions.
Penelope, Weaver of Dreams
A warrior must have a dream, a vision. She has to have something to believe in, to hope and fight for.

Canvas, paper and metal prints are available of these images. Contact me at cassandrabarney at for more information.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Little Warrior

In Mark Twain's book, Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, I read a passage about brave little Joan, beautiful and self-posessed, asking the governor for soldiers to escort her to the Dauphin. She intended to tell the Dauphin that he would make her his general, that she would drive the English out of France, and set the crown upon his head. The governor was surely astonished as he replied,  "What-you? Why you are only a child!"  Joan, forward, erect and selfposessed, replied, "Yet I am appointed to do it, neverthesless." 
Joan had a rocklike steadfastness in her convictions. She knew she was appointed to save France. "But indeed I would rather spin with my poor mother, for this is not my calling; but I must go and do it, for it is my Lord's will."  And at the age of seventeen, she held supreme command of the military forces of a nation. 
Her story is inspiring to me. It's amazing. I get so teary and proud of her that I can only read a few pages at a time. I've thought, I want to meet her in heaven, but when I picture the scene in my mind, I see myself overcome by emotion, making that ugly cry face and my nose running. It's awkward. So maybe in heaven I'll write her a letter...if that sort of thing is done.
I'm the mother of three beautiful, strong girls. Each of them has talents and challenges. I think of them as little warriors. I hope they see themselves as little warriors. I want them to be armed and prepared to meet the challenges in their futures. I well know the future is unpredictable. I've learned that some challenges are brought on by our own choices and some are forced upon us by the choices of others. Either way, if we, like Joan, have courage, we can be little warriors.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mer-queen and Mer-king

When the afternoons got too hot in my dad's studio for him to paint, we would pile into the back of his little Toyota truck named, Chuck. He would take us over to his parent's house a couple of blocks away. I'm not sure why we didn't walk.  I remember playing games in the pool, usually mermaids, with siblings and cousins. Our parents would douce themselves in tropical oil and drink tab.  Oh how I loved those days in the sun. 
 Now my parents have a pool and I meet up with those same siblings and cousins and all of our kids to swim when my studio gets too hot to paint. Little has changed, except we use sunscreen and drink water.
In our family we have bowling names, roller derby names and mermaid names. My mermaid name is Crystal Seafoam. I love that name. Everyone should have a mer-name. 

I painted this mer-queen and mer-king in anticipation of summer. It's a love story.
It is titled, Lana and Irwin, a mer-love story. Lana means, calm as still waters. Irwin means green water. 
I want Gallery 601 to print these paintings on metal so I can hang them by my parents pool as guardians. The color is gorgeous on the metal prints and they are waterproof. I will have some available at the Utah Art's Festival this June. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Call for Stories

I have been invited to have an art show with Meri DeCaria in September 2014 at the Eccles Community Art Center in Ogden. It's a perfect venue for a new series of ExVotos.
As I have done in the past, I would like to invite anyone interested to send your stories to me. Let me back up and explain a bit more…
ExVotos are offerings of thanksgiving for an unexpected miracle. They are little testimonials of faith which share a personal story. I love these little stories. It's a challenge to try to communicate the ideas of the author through painted symbolism.

If you have a story that you think should be painted, send it to me and I will take a look at it. I would like to have these stories by the end of February-ish. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Curiouser and Curiouser

Last night, as I processed the evening, I wished I could go back and have a re-do of my minute at the microphone.

I wished I would have talked about what this show was about and how I hoped it would inspire others to want to live artistically. I don't care if anybody ever sees the cool stuff we've made and the paintings we've painted. What I want to share is the great amounts of joy that living artistically brings to my life and the lives of my family.

Art making for us is a way of celebrating our stories, the triumphs, some big and some small. This morning I pulled out a boxes of ornaments and I found several that we had made and shared with each other on Christmas Eve. They are a bit silly but every one of those is a memory of celebration and love. My memories are in those objects.

 Artwork informs us, helping us to dissect, and come to different understandings. It's sometimes a way we communicate what words won't fit.

 As I've pursued a carrier in art, I have developed skills like, having a thick skin and not expecting the approval of everyone. In fact, yesterday while Emily and I were adding some final touches to the show, a man right in front of us told a museum staff member that he didn't really care for our artwork. He like my dad's because it was more detailed. I'm glad he got some to see some quality detail at the museum. Funny.

I've also learned discipline. Just getting through it would be easy, but the extra effort to live artistically is worth it.

The other thing I would have said is…go visit the gift shop. Emily and I made cool stuff to share.

I have jars of treasures from my studio and tree toppers, wreaths, ornaments, jewelry and really beautifully made prints. It's good Christmas loot.

The show will be up until April.  You can read an article about it here. I'm pleased with the way it looks. I'm also grateful for all the hard work from the staff at the Springville Museum of Art. Those girls are amazing. I'm also grateful for my family and the work that they did to help with the show. Our family tree will need it's own post. Cheers!


Related Posts with Thumbnails