Friday, January 16, 2009

Lead, kindly Light: The Lisacon

I had no idea the icon collage I made for myself on the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord would turn into a series. I've shared mine and Gina's with you, and now I'll share Lisa's.

She's one of my best friends in the whole world. I met her in the dark. I found her blog late one depressed night. Many of you know I'm bipolar, so let me tell ya, my depression is epic. She is not bipolar, but she's battled the beast of darkness. When I read her blog it was like hearing her say, "Me, too." We became friends, and it was she who put a lot in motion to get me published. It was she I traveled to Africa with. It is she who seems to understand my deepest dreams. She masterfully edited two of my books, one of which was named in The Library Journal's Best of 2008 list. Even better? One of her books, a favorite of mine, made the same list. :D.

I started the lisacon with this pink, fun paper, thinking I'd have such fun. She's such a whimsical personality, but as I worked, I hit the touching blue note that seems to define our friendship. You know the blue note in jazz, right? It makes you feel happy, and sad, and hopeful, all at once.

Here's the lisacon:

Here, as part of the background, I chose the hymn by John Henry Newman, "Lead kindly, Light." On the blue side panel the lyrics pronounces the soul cry of many: "The night is dark, and I am far from home." She is a lover of justice and the poor. I added that element to her nimbus (I was hungry and you fed me, from Matt. 25). I also added and the tools she uses to right many wrongs to her hands. The peacock has special meaning for her. It was a profound, soul altering experience creating this.

I keep thinking about how much we need Jesus in this dark world. I've had many dark nights that I longed to be done with this world and all it's pain and suffering, and, dear Lord! I've never seen a more kindly Light than Christ's. Newman's lovely hymn continues to resonate with me, long after I've finished this collage. I'm posting the lyrics so it might bless you, too.

Lead, Kindly Light

Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom, lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home; lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still will lead me on.
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till the night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile, which I
Have loved long since, and lost awhile!

Meantime, along the narrow rugged path, Thyself hast trod,
Lead, Savior, lead me home in childlike faith, home to my God.
To rest forever after earthly strife
In the calm light of everlasting life.

p.s. I have zero technique. I'm discouraged by my lack of good skill, permission to make bad art, and all. Can any of you mixed media artist tell me any particular resources or books that have been helpful to you. I especially need to figure out the best glues, papers, and such to use that won't buckle. Or something to finish with besides gel medium! And how the heck will I ever learn to draw???


mystele said...

fist of all, thank you so much for sharing your art. thank you for your honesty and the light you shine in the midst of your own struggles. that is the heart of a warrior. thank you for spurring me onward today! i love this lisa icon.

i just purchased an awesome book by traci bautista. soooo many fun things to try and it's just inpsiring. basically you come away feeling as if you can do whatever you want with your art, but you have more skills to do it. it's called "collage unleashed". she has technique after technique in this book. not intimidating and totally fun. hope that helps!

ragamuffin diva said...

thanks, so much, mystele. i have traci's book, and i'm still feeling clueless. i'll revisit it. the add thing, makes it hard to focus when there are so many pretties in that book. lol.

sherri said...

I love the art you've been posting. Re: learning to draw, I ran across this site ( recently. I haven't had time to plumb its depths, but it's free instruction in drawing. It might be worth a look.

ragamuffin diva said...

I appreciate your encouragement, Sherri. I'm going to check out that drawspace. Thanks for telling me.

wilsonian said...

I don't know Lisa well at all, but you certainly captured her spirit.

I think the only thing you need is courage, and the permission to be a beginner (until you're no longer that). You have the talent. Just need a little time :)


ragamuffin diva said...

Permission to be a beginner. Believe it or not, I hadn't thought of that, and I know that sounds crazy. I kept thinking *bad*, not beginner. Beginnings are good. I have to keep telling myself that.

Thanks, Erin. You so rawk.

lisa said...

I love you so much, soul sister, bff and luvvamylife.

ragamuffin diva said...

The feeling's mutual, Lisa. Truly, truly. Luvva you soooo much.

Paula Clare said...

Dear sistuh,
Check out my videos on my blog...I go through my faves as far as art equipment and "stuff" might find something helpful. Also, you'll get to see "moi" live and in person. lol Cheap thrills, yes?

Here's the linkage to said videos:

Click the little movie icons in the sidebar. Aren't I just so very techy? ha!

ragamuffin diva said...

You are totally techy, girl! I'll check it out. Thanks so much for sharing.

Elysa said...

Betsie had the chance to meet with a superbly talented artist and art prof at Belhaven College recently. He HIGHLY recommended the book about drawing from the right side...or was it the left side...of the brain. He said to read it thru once and then go back and do the exercises the author gives you to do. He said if you follow the principles given there, ANYONE can learn how to draw.

BTW, I think you already do a pretty good, heck of a job!

This Lisacon is FAB!