I am having new conversations….with total strangers….we can’t help ourselves.

It’s the canvass, it’s the easel, it’s the paints. You become immediately interesting, approachable and I think safe.

Setting up on a picnic table on a band shell on a hot summer Sunday afternoon. The young black man, different in every possible way from the middle-aged white woman engaged in this activity, catches my eye as he passes and smiles. Something about this encounter arrests me. I suspect he would like to join me, he is interested. There is silent approval and a comradery.

The Juno award-winning music producer slash digital art instructor. Photoshop tutorial morphs into conversation about other future projects and possibilities. To keep things in context, I think to add, “we’re Christians." He doesn’t blink an eye. “My friend, the musician, has strong ideas about her work." ’Of course," he says, “she’s an artist.” At the end of this conversation he says, “I like your funky pants.” I don’t say, “I like your funky dreads, can I take a selfie and post it on Facebook. Nothing this cool is likely to happen to me again.” He learns I am working on a portrait, and when I see him again days later, he asks how it is going. Thinking of the beautiful, black, victorious Deborah underway in the studio, I invite him to pass by and take a peek. It is, I think, at least as funky as my pants and conversation worthy.

The new age former fine art student who is intrigued by the Deborah Arise portrait. Not satisfied with a surface conversation, she draws out of me the deeper prophetic meaning of this painting which leads to an explanation of the historical account of Deborah in the book of Judges defeating the enemies of Israel…her people, her homeland.

The retired professional, who opens up to express what it has meant to him to learn what he is capable of doing and how his work touches others. I understand… completely. I say “It’s so powerful, and so surprising.” We talk about the upcoming deadline for submitting work for a particular showing. He shares his plans and asks me about mine. “I think I could submit the painting of Deborah. I am proud of that one.” He smiles and nods. In the end, I consider it would be more meaningful to some friends of mine in the States. I think it will encourage them.

Journal Comments

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