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About Me and My Art

A few years ago I was told I was dying of cancer. During that battle is when I was “touched with color”.

Until the diagnosis, I had never allowed myself the time to explore my artistic urges. I had ambitious goals that led me always in other directions. Even in high school my extracurricular creative activities revolved around theater. With a sense of a great honor, I fearlessly took on the role of Anne Frank when I was 15. But the thought of walking into an art class terrified me. In theater you hide yourself, in art you reveal yourself for all the world to see.

When I read my cancer diagnosis report, which proposed that I would not live any longer than two more years, I was surprised by what popped into my head. “But I’d always wanted to paint, someday”. I believed the paper. A definitive report I held in my hands was announcing that my SOMEDAY would never arrive. I entered the battle for my life, with surgery and intensive chemo.

Then other losses poured into my life. Almost everything I had ever depended on or hoped for was destroyed.

I still believed in the promises Jesus Christ had made. I remained confident that He would prepare a place for me — on the other side of a casket or urn. I never stopped believing that He had risen from the dead. I had spent years studying the Bible and always found that it led me to new and amazing things. However, I could no longer brush aside the emotional, ultimate question.

IS God good? Why is there evil?

Belief in His goodness had always been the foundation of my existence. As I Iooked at the horrors in our fallen world, I struggled to find meaning in life. I felt the core of my heart crumbling away. I was going to die of a broken heart, more than from the disease and violence I had experienced. Some people have called this the "dark night of the soul”.

It was more tormenting than every other personal loss and pain I had experienced. Where my theology could not withstand, God began to use color to speak love into my heart. Color lifted me out of my physical and emotional dying. The beauty of color reassured me of God’s goodness. I had a very personal sense of His presence, and He began to show me how much I was still depending on my own strength.

I now grow daily in this walk with Him where I rest in Him. A little at a time, I move into a more calm, trusting and thankful state of being.

I am able to accept my own doubts without feelings of guilt. Humans can’t explain why. We are not wise enough to grasp God’s purposes. My confidence that God loves all human beings is leading me into what the Bible calls “a peace that surpasses understanding”. He has a purpose in what happens to each one of us.

COLOR itself became the symbol of “beauty for ashes”—which became the banner over my life. As an adult, I finally took my first art class and something unexpected happened. I arbitrarily chose a community watercolor class. I finally broke down my wall of fear about this longing to make art. Because of the role color had played in my life, I find special significance in what followed.

From my first class, there was almost a life force flowing from my paintbrush. I sold paintings out of my first classes, to my complete astonishment.

It is my hope that my art will bring more beauty into the world, and comfort to others. God’s art, in this colorful world, became a powerful source of healing and restoration in my life. My cancer is now in complete remission.

I want to continue to explore the soul language of art, by treasuring the creativity of others, and exploring all that is within me. Through my own, and the art of others, I get in touch with the full range of my emotions.

Some of my art is melancholy, even gothic, as I experience and process the emotions I tried to deny and avoid. Denying emotions, or any reality of life, has destructive consequences. I am learning to face, and walk through all that I feel, with honesty. I am confident now that, however dark it may be, this world is still inhabited by the King of Kings.

The spectrum of light that our eyes are pernitted to see, what we call color, is more than able to drive back the darkness. I don’t have to understand HOW. I strive to allow it to be the lamp unto my feet, and light upon my path ~ from a Psalm in the Judeo-Christian Bible. One of the things Jesus called Himself was “the light of the world”. Jesus communicates in a personal way to me through many means.

I am now LONG past that “expiration date” of two years—which had once been stamped across my life by a cancer diagnosis. Though an appointment with death still waits for me, as it does for each one of us, I currently have no hint as to when it will be.I hope to spend every precious day I have, cooperating with God by using my unique gifts — to receive His love and share it with others.

Comments

  • LoveringArts
    LoveringArtsabout 4 years ago
    Oh Gosh !…… Your such an inspiration

    The more info caught my eye , and I was compelled click ! and my o my , I steadily welled up reading your diagnosis,,, and it is such unfair world !…. I do hope you are not in any pain ?

    You are the Find of the week , I so thrilled to view your Fantastic work , but at the sametime tinged with great saddness .

    But your Beautiful Art had given me great viewing , even before I had read your profile , and
    your wonderful messages made my weekend !…… I’m so pleased to have found you .

    Please keep your Stunning work posted ……. Your so talented Paulx

  • Hello Paul. I was making some adjustments to my profile and I checked in here. This was when I first stepped into redbubble and I didn’t know the system yet. Your answer to this was written in the next comment box, instead of using the drop down reply area. Sorry!

    I answered you over here, that day. This cancer was in the past. Thank you for your wonderful support. I’ve loved watching the art pour out of you over the last three weeks. I am happy to be able to watch.

    – artymelanie

  • artymelanie
    artymelanieabout 4 years ago

    Thank you for reading and responding. The cancer was long ago. It was very agressive, so if they hadn’t caught it all, it would have already “eaten” some other part of me. I’m good!

    It was an experience I can now look back on and dip out good lessons, like a deep well with sweet water. A paradox I suppose. All spiritual truth seems to arrive in paradox packages.

    I just did a solo art show connected to the subject of breast cancer. My town was doing a big fund-raiser, featuring survivor-artists in galleries all over my little city. We have many galleries. I live in a tourist town, that aspires to be somewhat of an artist colony. It was an ARTWALK, which we have 2 a month! This one was marvelously attended.

    I got in touch with some lingering unresolved feelings while working on the art for that show.

    Art is the best therapy.

    I do want to get to —> some new artwork.

    I may have to force myself to keep the laptop — my connection to this world — closed. Ration my hours on it. …Some plan like that. Which will be HARD to enforce, I’m sure.

    It is a great gift to receive your artistic connection and encouragement, both by the sharing of your own great talent. And the compliments you have written.

  • Reynaldo
    Reynaldoabout 4 years ago

    positive thoughts, meditation, the Lord, prayers, and Art will always come throught for you best wishes :) Rey

  • Hello Rey,

    What I take many words to say, you have summarized very well. Thank you for stopping in and reading this.

    mel

    – artymelanie

  • Ellen Keagy
    Ellen Keagyabout 4 years ago

    I too somehow found your words, that you’re recovering is Wonderful! I hope that is the way I am understanding this…Please just know you are an inspiration!

  • I wrote on your most recent journal. Wanted to respond here too. The cancer I speak about here is a long past chapter in my life. Though the blessings that were hidden in it continue to affect my life in positive ways.

    Thank you for reading, commenting, and having such a caring heart.

    – artymelanie

  • Robyn Bradshaw
    Robyn Bradshawalmost 4 years ago

    appreciate how you have shared your heart here with honesty & hope

  • Thank you Robyn. I appreciate your time and interest in reading this and looking at my art. My apologies for this long absence. I had much going on as I began this new year.

    I am also an active member of deviantART now for a little over a year. Two accounts and I lost track of how many groups I’ve joined. Very active there, and I want to be here too. I’m finding something will have to change if that is to happen.

    Perhaps if I could learn to write more one sentence comments, vs chapters. :]

    Nah! NOt me. Haaa

    There is something refreshing about redbubble’s style and this community. I hope when a couple more large projects in this other world, “out here” are settled, I will make the time to jump in more actively here.

    – artymelanie

  • lynnieB
    lynnieBalmost 4 years ago
    I am so glad i read your blog.it is good to hear that denying fears and emotions.you can’t believe how this has ministered to me.Beauty for ashes and His banner over me is love.these are things i have forgotten.Am now going through therapy for sexual abuse, and it gives me courage and permission for my feelings.Thank you.You are an artist being used by God.
  • artymelanie
    artymelaniealmost 4 years ago

    I’m so very glad you found it too then.

    I have been a part of “Celebrate Recovery” for almost 6 years, 12 steps with Jesus freely named as our higher power. Although anyone is welcome, and no “fixing” allowed, as part of the structure of protecting every one on their own private journey. We share our journey with one another and it is so amazing how healing that is. In this group, we also pray for one another throughout the week. Another major key to finding hope and healing.

    I just started a new women’s group last night. We are going to work the steps, using the participant guidebook questions from CR. It will probably take the rest of this year. This will be my 5th time! And I can’t wait to see what God does in my life and in theirs. You are SO not alone in this experience, though every single story is personal, it is shared by so many.

    I would love for you to keep in touch. Use the bubblemail if you want. I am going to try to make time to ge more attentive to this account now.

    It was amazing how powerful it was for me when a friend looked at me and spoke the words “YOU ARE INNOCENT”…I had this as head knowledge, but hearing her say it lifted this huge weight that I didn’t even know I was carrying.

    You have a right to your feelings, no matter what they are. They are yours. I would love to write a book called “Where Was Jesus?” ~ He would have to guide me every step of the way, but I feel there are things he wants to say to the broken in spirit and heart.

    Recently I heard that the word in the original language, where it says “Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil” — destroy in that means “melt it away”…I liked that. Jesus also calls into being “what is not”

    This is only one chapter in my life. I’ve had so many of the “bad” things happen, no one would believe it, if I threw it all out there at one time. But I can tell you, the places where I have been hurt are the most significant tools God uses in my life. For me, and for others.

    But first, it is OKAY to feel a rift with Him, to have any emotion. He knows how it hurts. How it felt then, how it feels for you today. He feels it just as you do. I used to have this vague dread about what else was going to knock me down.

    Now, I can’t wait to see what “next” looks like. God is not finished, and now I understand He always has my best in His in heart, even when it looks like that is impossible for me to believe. But He doesn’t rush me. He gives me the time I need. He’s the one who leads me through.

    I am sure God has great plans for you too. Blessings ~ more than you are right now able to hope for or imagine.

  • lynnieB
    lynnieBalmost 4 years ago
    Thank you Artymelanie for writing much.At 65 the last sentance of what you wrote has great meaning.I had a niece-33 die of anerexia last year, and Beauty for Ashes was a theme of her’s.She was so tied up in jesus.Crystal Lewis (a singer) has a song of that theme worth listening to.What a blessing to have found believers on Red Bubble.
  • Cate Townsend
    Cate Townsendover 3 years ago

    Melanie you really are an inspiration. I was involved in drama as well before I started painting…… long before, and it is as you describe it, you leave yourself back in the wings when you walk on stage it is the character not you, but in your art you are exposing yourself completely and it is really scary. Your art is so beautiful. It took me until I was forty to start, and ten years later I still feel as though I’m an infant, there is so much to learn.

  • Hi, was caught up in deviantArt this week, and in buying ball joint dolls. My newest obsession. We are right along together in our timing. I was actually older when I started…and a bit older now, than you. :]

    I appreciate your comments on several of my works. I haven’t gotten back through a weeks worth of messages. One day I will make a switch in my priorities and spend more time here.

    – artymelanie