Finding Healing: The Look Up Collection

I can’t even remember when I quit painting. I put the paintbrush down and never picked it back up. Life became busy with two children and working full-time. Somewhere in the mess, creating artwork no longer brought me joy and instead became a way to bring in extra money. And as any artist knows, that’s a recipe for losing the drive, motivation and inspiration.

I remember the morning vividly when I got the call at the end of January. I had just picked up Chick-fil-a for my team at work as we were prepping for one of the biggest events of the year. My dad called. I drove to the office in shock.

My grandmother, my teacher, my Nanny – she was gone.

I grew up painting with Nanny, hoping and praying to one day be as good as her. Painting became a way for me to connect. I took trips to her house in McClellanville to paint. I went and spent time with her in Maine. We even took the trip of a lifetime to San Miguel de Allende in Mexico and spent a week painting the courtyards, fountains, streets and gardens.

Losing Nanny forced me to face what I had been avoiding for years. Was I good enough? Did my paintings measure up?

I realized as I finally picked up the paintbrush and created my way through grief that my paintings never needed to measure up. Nanny was so proud of my paintings – and me – no matter what they looked like.

I’ve spent the past few months trying to understand it all. I dove into canvas after canvas, fighting with the brush and paint. I’ve cried. I’ve cussed. I’ve grieved – a lot. I’ve grieved for what I lost on that morning in late January, for what we’ve all lost. I’ve grieved for the things unsaid, the things that aren’t fixed.

Painting has been a therapy for me. I’ve rediscovered the joy of it. I want to paint. I need to paint. Why have I been wasting God’s gift?

My latest artwork is filled with both grief and joy. It’s the grief of loss – losing someone special and close to me, as cliche as that sounds. And it’s the joy – the joy of exploring color, finding God’s gracious grace and love, seeing the hope and rediscovering myself. I’ve listened to Lauren Daigle’s song “Look Up, Child” on repeat during this series. Take a breath and breathe in these words. Words of grief, struggle, hope and truth.

“Look Up, Child”

Lauren daigle

Where are you now
When darkness seems to win?

Where are you now
When the world is crumbling?

Oh I, I-I-I, I hear You say
I hear You say
Look up child, ayy
Look up child, ayy

Where are You now (where are You?)
When all I feel is doubth?

Oh, where are You now
When I can’t figure it out?

Oh I, I-I-I, I hear You say
I hear You say
Look up child, ayy
Look up child, ayy
Look up child, ayy
Look up child, ayy
Look up

You’re not threatened by the war
You’re not shaken by the storm
I know You’re in control

Even in our suffering
Even when it can’t be seen
I know You’re in control

Oh I, I-I-I, I hear You say
I hear You say
Look up child, ayy
Look up child, ayy
Look up child, oh-oh-oooh

Partial song lyrics by Lauren Daigle, “Look Up, Child”

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