For a friend; Oxford, MS, May 2017.

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{Canvas and acrylic paint. Used in the process: corrugated cardboard, bamboo sushi mat, old letterpress letters.}

This project was something of an adventure in mess making. It’s simultaneously intimidating and freeing to risk all those drips and splatters. Short of painting over the whole thing, there’s really no going back once you touch a watery brush to the top of the canvas, or fling one to send those splatters flying. It felt fitting, in this case, because the world seems like a bit of a mess too. But you know what? We’re still here.

The storm is different for everybody, but when it comes down to it we’re really all standing in the middle of one. Maybe it’s one of self doubt or isolation; maybe navigating betrayal or broken relationships. Maybe we’re feeling the weight of policies that put profits before people, or the uphill climb of living out our calls in the face of underestimation. Sometimes the storm is simply adjusting to a new job or a new town — change is hard, even when it’s good. Wind whips our hair into knots and rain weighs down our clothes. We breathe deeply, filling our lungs and letting the damp air bring our parched hearts back to life. Here we are.

These letters here proclaiming persistence are a bit messy. Mismatched. I resisted my urge to go over the stamped words with a brush, filling in the imperfections. I like using gold paint, too, because it keeps a viewer on her toes. Sometimes it’s clear to see, but seemingly dark and rather dull. Other times the light’s reflection on it is so bright it blends right into the background. But in the just-right moments in between, it’s illuminated and impossible to miss.

I’m usually one to finish off the edges of a canvas. But this time I figured: God isn’t done, so why should we be?