Art TrioIt’s been an usual spring at the Lighthouse in terms of the weekly therapeutic art projects. Some weeks there was no discreet end product. We’d simply spent the morning painting and texturing old calendar pages, or creating complex papers with randomly pasted bits of colored paper on a tracing paper foundation, or even transforming the paper plate palettes into colorfully painted discs using their excess leftover paint. Sometimes it’s therapeutic to make art just for the sake of making art. But there’s also a metaphoric quality to creating something without knowing what the end product will be. Don’t we all have moments when we wonder “what was that all about?” Sometimes it doesn’t take long to figure out, other times we may wait days, months or even years before we understand what an experience was all about. Each week we did a free-form morning of art making at least one of the women wanted to know what we were going to do with the painted papers. All I would say was, “just you wait! You’ll see in a couple months.” And that’s a long time to wait in these women’s lives.

The two months finally arrived last week when the ladies of the Lighthouse, a twelve-month, faith-based residential treatment program for women in substance abuse recovery, created a collaborative art piece based on Isaiah 55:12 – “For they shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing; and all the trees of the fields shall clap their hands.” Yup, I’d been planning for months that the final therapeutic art workshop I would teach with the women would be creating a colorful banner of the trees clapping their hands using every bit of painted, combed, textured, complex paper we could find in the nethermost recesses of the art cabinet. 

The ladies traced their hands on the various papers, wrote their names, their kids’ names, their grandchildren’s names, the names of missing Lighthouse ladies who were away at appointments, and staff names in the palm of each hand print they cut out. While Alicia and Elizabeth mixed red, yellow and blue paint to make brown for the tree trunk (learned during a previous morning of color mixing), the others scissored hand after hand, and then flowers, leaves and green grass to create the festive composition “The Trees Shall Clap Their Hands.”

The Trees Shall Clap Their HandsSoon most hovered over the tables positioning and re-positioning the hands until their approved of their collaborative composition. Glue brushes dipped again and again into the bowls of mock Mod Podge. The banner, in all its joyful color was coming together. What a happy way for me to end my six year tenure at the therapeutic art facilitator at the Lighthouse. I have been wonderfully companion-ed by my art partner Lee Hodges who stands on the right. Next week, our final workshop of the season, begins the transition as I hand off leadership to art therapist Julie Cast. It has been an honor and a joy for me to work with these lovely women as well as the wonderful and lovely women of the Lighthouse who are doing the hard work of recovery so that they may “go out with joy, and be lead forth with peace.”

PS – As part of this transition, I’ve written a new resource book – Lighthouse Art Activities. It contains fifty art activities I’ve done with the ladies of the Lighthouse over the last six years. It will come in a spiral-bound black and white format and will include two CDs of art work images in color, stencils, templates, instructions and worksheets for various activities. I hope to add it to my website store in the near future after some additional tweaking. Stay tuned in joyful anticipation!

10 comments to Joy

  • Lynn Dempsey

    And you too, Lynne, go forth with shouts of joy!

  • judy alexandre

    Well done good and faithful servant
    You will be missed by the Lighthouse and of course i will continue to miss interacting with you.

  • Luisa Johnson

    I want to pre-order one of those project manuals. What a blessing to us all. Thanks, Lynne, for your inspirational guidance!
    Much love, Luisa


  • Judy Siudara

    Cue the music! Hope you know the sound of those verses to music. It is a peppy, joyful song, as your contribution to these women’s lives has been. thank you in the Lord’s name for those 6 years and may the next 6 be as differently wonderful as you do the Grandly!thing. See you ,hopefully, on the East Coast! Love, Judy

  • Aahmes Overton

    Wow! (for the Isaiah 55 art piece)
    Wow! (for the women creators)
    Wow! (for you, Lynne, and for Lee)

  • Deanna Bowling

    I am so grateful for you and your gifts, and how you share them with the world, as I am so very, very sure that your women at the Lighthouse are also even more grateful.


  • cynthia Hashbarger

    Dear LYnne. I rejoice in your joy of joining Karen and family, but am way sad and will miss your friendship here.. and the
    amazing art and writings you have shared with all of us. God Bless your journey,. We’ll keep a light in the window for
    you and Robert.. Come for a visit often.. With His Love and in His Grace and service.. Cynthia and Tom.

  • karen Greenslate

    A key note of your work and relationships is that you bring your gifts and yourself to share…and most often, your enthusiasm is the vehicle. I remember how you worked with me, encouraging me to express myself in an art piece I made for my oldest daughter and family….that piece has hung in their home for many years now! So I know you have encouraged these women at the Lighthouse to express some of the beauty and story within each of their lives. You journey well! Thanks for this sharing..hope you will continue this website so we can all follow your stories!

  • Please include me for your latest book. I love your first two and use them often. I pray Traveling Mercies and Joys unexpected as you travel to a new mission field.

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