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Do you ever feel like starting over or that something is just not finished yet. That was what I experienced with this painting. It is two paintings in one. The painting underneath was part of a figural series that represented my healing process when I was recovering from breast cancer. The underneath painting in particular was about accepting the unconditional love that God had for me even in the midst of my ugly and struggle. These figures traveled to NYC for a show at the World Trade Art Gallery in 2014. A few years later goof friends of ours graciously let us use their Colorado retreat home for a family get away. While staying there I felt an unexplainable peace from the unpredictable past and knew this feeling needed to eventually come out. I felt the figural painting would be a perfect foundation for this experience because it would serve as a reminder that at the foundation of my actions and life is God’s embrace, no matter what. Whites, grays, charcoals, pearls and earth from the Colorado landscape fills the painting and represents a new beginning of light and rejuvenation. I am so pleased that this piece is owned and resides at our friends home because they had a big part of it’s creation.

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“BE THE CHANGE” Jon asked student protestors to “Express” their message to the MU in one word and to write that word on the canvas.

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This painting represents Mor Kantor’s journey as a daughter, a wife, a mother, and now a cancer survivor. Mor exudes life and energy and collaborated with artist Jenny McGee on a meaningingful journey of creativity, shared pain and hope through art.

Like Mor, this painting is deeply honest about the pain and joy that make life beautiful. The crushed pearls are broken but still shining. Their beauty has changed, but it has not decreased. The painting is heavily textured with rough and smooth parts layered together, coated in earthy tones that signify the raw nature of life, and it is nished with bright colors that embody the positivity, love, and support Mor has felt from her husband, children, family, friends, and community.

When the storm hits you out of nowhere, it’s important to remember that in some form, there is hope ahead and a bright future to look forward to. The sky is moody, but most importantly, it’s filled with glimpses of light and brightness for a future lled with health, love, hope, and vitality.

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Keeping her last name wasn’t the main reason Kelli decided to marry John (they already shared the name Ellis), but it was certainly a nice bonus in a relationship with an already amazing man. Kelli first saw John on one of the fitness guru’s commercials when she was wanting to get in shape for a TV appearance. Kelli knew she had to meet John, so she decided to join his gym and attend one of his classes. He wasn’t there the day she went, but in his typical, enthusiastic style, John called her the same day and they met for lunch…a “lunch” that lasted four hours. Not a bad first “date” if you ask me.

They realized their parents had gone to the same high school and they grew up only an hour away from each other. They’re also both left-handed and both had former dreams of becoming a geologist. The instant connection and its refusal to fade over time is why Kelli calls John her soul mate. After dating for two years, they got married, and their love and appreciation for each other has only grown since then. Kelli loves John’s affection, generosity, and that his life is dedicated to healing and sharing. He wants everyone to succeed and be happy.

Their piece incorporates crushed pearl and crushed red coral and sand from Joshua Tree National Park (a beautiful area near the place where I met Kelli and John). John’s words from The Compass, “share your wisdom” and Kelli’s feelings, “I love when he holds my hand” are embedded in the composition to mirror the purpose and devotion in their life together. 

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Commissioned painting for Pieter and Carol VanWarde

Twenty years is a long time to stay committed, especially to an entire group of people. But for the members of Woodcrest Chapel, the past two decades have been filled with love and excitement because a special family committed to them. Pieter is the senior pastor at Woodcrest, and anyone who’s ever been close with a leader knows that Carol’s role for the church requires at least an equal amount of sacrifice and dedication.

Piet may seem like an unlikely pastor. His rebellious spirit led him to the party scene in his younger years, but it’s a quality that helps him challenge the status quo (and one that his community members love). As a leader, he’s also passionate, creative, an excellent communicator, culturally connected, and an inspiring speaker. Carol balances his intensity perfectly. She’s contemplative, patient, and peaceful – stabilizing and supporting Piet through all of life’s complexity.

This piece is a reflection of the gratitude that overflows from the church community for Piet and Carol’s years of selfless giving. They’ve given much time and energy of course, but perhaps more importantly, the gratitude is for their role in changing people’s lives. Piet’s own spiritual story is one of transformation, and he serves his community and everyone he meets with the radical conviction that faith, service, and people can transform anyone’s life. The patrons of the piece explained to me that no one can live your experiences and completely grasp how it feels to be you. There is deep loneliness in the knowledge that only God can fully understand you, but it is the providence of God that brings us here together to share our journeys.

As I was creating this painting, I reflected on Piet and Carol’s devotion. As well as the sentiments and stories shared by members and leadership of the church. I contemplated the colors of Dutch heritage, and the colors of their home and creations. The use of crushed pearl was important to include because it symbolizes a new beginning, a change, a transformation, and our fragility and beauty through the eyes of God. The words “The Providence of God brought you here together, the Providence of God kept you here” are integrated into the painting, as well as the phrase “You turned Left,” which is a significant part of Piet’s life changing, but simple, act of turning away from a life of emptiness and into a life of God’s work.