JillSome art activities are just soothing. They feel good, they smell good, they look good. Without too much effort. And sometimes they invite a kind of serenity because of what they express. That’s what I hoped when we introduced last week’s art activity at the Lighthouse, a year-long, faith-based residential treatment program for women recovering from substance abuse. Smooth white paper, masking tape, oil pastels and baby oil…that’s all, plus the opportunity to write hopes, aspirations, words of comfort, or not, in the white spaces left after removing the masking tape. Jill’s wordless image is quintessentially serene.

AmberOrdinarily the edges of the paper are taped all around to create a border, but Amber had a different idea. Small bits of tape, spaced at intervals, created a broken border symbolic of the fragmented nature of her life at the moment. The themes of love and the Cross bracket the brokenness of her life. Yet the notched triangles in the lower right quadrant are the snipped out pieces of the jagged white area in the upper left corner – suggesting her hope that with time, hard work, and grace, her brokenness will be redeemed.

Hearts are often an image in the ladies artwork. As Crystal says, “I’m always looking for love.” But others, like Tami, come to know that the true Love of the Cross is at the center of their recovery. In her picture interlocking values anchor each quadrant; the dates represent her birthday, her children’s birthday AND the date she entered recovery. I’m drawn to the patterned serenity of this image. 

Here’s the step by step process for creating your own image of serenity with oil pastel blended with baby oil. 

If you were going to create an image of serenity, what would it look like? If you were to reuse some of the torn or cut away bits of masking tape from one area of your image, how might they represent aspects of grace and redemption for you? If you were to use your image as a visual meditation, how might it speak into your life?

Thanks to all of you who comment online and off, and to those of you who occasionally write poetry in response to the ladies’ art. They are so pleased to know that this aspect of their recovery process helps and inspires others.

4 comments to Serenity

  • sharron luft

    I haven’t used the tape in just this fashion with the oil pastels but will enjoy trying it. Your examples are inspiring. I’ve begun to enjoy the baby oil and pastels because they are calm and calming. The results are always predictable either and I enjoy that too.

  • Karen Mauro

    Beautiful and Very Therapeutic. Thank You, Lynne.

  • I appreciate these blogs and these ladies so very much. I love to hear how the women are thinking. They are thoughtful, deep and inspiring. The thoughts are very passionate, creative and soul searching. I take my hat off to them and hold them up in prayer for recovery and a life full of love, clarity and a bold witness for others battling any kind of brokeness. May you all feel covered by the most profound love of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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