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Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Parable of the Muffin Tin

In my artistic journey, or in other words- my life, I am finding that the more I ponder and search for inspiration in my art the more depth I find in my faith in God. Now generally I am not one to openly expose my soul in this manner, but since this blog is about my art it would be without truth not to speak of my inspiration for it.

As mentioned in my previous blog entry, I have been making meditation a part of my day. I have always been a great one for believing that we all can receive inspiration on a daily basis. God knows each one of us and our needs - of that I have no doubt. I find joy in incidents that illustrate that belief of mine. So I would like to share with you my own personal little parable; that of the Muffin Tin.

A couple of weeks ago I baked some mini quiches (very delicious, I might add) and although I baked them in a non-stick muffin tin, with a swipe of oil for good measure, they stuck like a wad of gum to a tennis shoe on a hot day. Well actually it was worse than that. I tried all kinds of things to remove the film that had baked on the tin. Lots of soap, water and scrubbing with one of those green scrubby things didn't work, nor did using the steam cleaner. Nothing would get that muffin tin clean! I soaked it for a week, trying each day to remove the film. Finally I just said a simple (exasperated) prayer. Please help me get these muffin tins clean! Immediately inspiration hit; "fill the tin up with water and bake it for a half hour". So of course I did. When the baking time was up I found that with a bit of elbow grease I could scrape off that quiche-y film.

So I guess I would say that the moral of the story is that what may seem like an insignificant matter addressed in prayer resulted in a very profound message that God hears prayers and answers them. To me this is quite a miracle that he loves me enough to respond about this little matter in my life.

One more thing.... there is further depth in this little parable. The muffin tin incident illustrates to me that we have a partnership with God, he does his part but we have to do our part as well. If I had just pulled the muffin tin out of the oven and dumped out the water, it would not be long before it would be  the same as before. I still had to work hard to make it clean.

Recently I completed a painting inspired by a few lines of a blessing I received many years ago. It described the state of our world like this; " The world today is in serious trouble. It is struggling for survival in a sea of selfishness, hate, greed and sin. They travel and cry for peace but do not want peace in righteousness".

I have always felt that those words are pretty profound. One day a few weeks ago, I was thinking I would like to enter a painting in the Spring Salon at the Museum of Art in Springville Utah. Immediately a title and a picture came into my mind for a painting. It was based upon those lines I just quoted.

As the painting progressed from a pencil sketch to another sketch that was painted, and then onto a 4' x 2" canvas; I tried to keep myself open to inspiration. Color and design were affected by this process. When I  finished the painting, however, I was not completely satisfied with it. I had painted for a deadline and although  had a finished piece, it didn't feel like I had illustrated my inspiration properly.

I took a picture of the painting just as I was running out the door to get it down to the museum. Unfortunately the battery in my camera was dead so I used the camera on my phone. So, not the best picture.

The painting has a bit of symbolism in it and is titled 'Rising Above the World". It depicts a girl rising out of a sea of selfishness, hate, greed and sin (sound familiar?). Originally what I saw in my head was a girl above the water, not rising out of it. Now that it is done I see it as anyone who is aware of the state of the world and fighting to rise above it, still in it but rising. Another thing that changed  from what I first saw was she was reaching for a very bright light but instead of a blue sky and a bright sun, I felt inspired to paint what looks more like evening with a full moon. The meaning I found in this change was that we start where we are; imperfect beings reaching up towards the Light shining peaceful and serene in the darkness.

I see this painting as the first of a series of spiritual progress towards the light as the girl rises higher with the light becoming more brilliant as that of the sun at noon day.

Trying to live and paint by inspiration makes the journey before me unpredictable. I don't know what direction I am heading with my art, but I am fine with that. If God answers prayers about muffin tins I know for certain He will help with the more serious stuff.


Patricia Lee Christensen said...

I LOVE this post! Very articulately written! I SO agree with your observations...

Catherine Darling said...

Hi Patrice, I so appreciate your comment, I felt like I exposed inner self abit, so it really helps to hear you say that. :-)