My studio, brimming with the smell of linseed oil and weekday afternoons. I stood alone,
eyes skimming a bin of paints. My fingers stroked the caps of dark reds, light pinks, and warm
Blue, the color of crayon skies and sippy cups. The color unanimous with sticky hands and
Disney songs. My mind was lovely like a budding blue flower. Car seats. Training wheels. Sharp laughter at silly words. Puzzles and barbies. Being chased by my sisters. Kitchen-concerts to Mom’s songs, “Watch me, Mommy!” The sprinkler on hot, summer days. Family movie nights with salty popcorn and candy. Blue was my favorite.
Lockers scribbled with subtle profanity. Journals of questions and prayers. Parent affairs.
Watching my mom hide wine bottles around the house, “Don’t tell your Dad.” A summer
without mom and her songs. The unexpected silence and change of her return, “You girls make
my life miserable.” Learning and trying to fill the empty space mom left. Laughing, crying,
doubting. A new blue.
My brain mixed with color and influence like paint water.
Orange, the color of sunsets. The sky glowed orange against their silhouettes, the color in
their sweet and mischievous laughter. “My girls” gave me final hugs before the summer started. Every Sunday I studied God’s Word and told them lessons from my heart, many times my cheeks pink with nerves. I cherished the moments of crazy, with sugar-high-middle-school-girls jumping over couches to their tears and doubts. I stayed up reading books they loved, and cherished their smiles when I told them. Leading them taught me my love of leadership and others. I cried on my way home. The sun sank into the earth and orange followed.
Red, the color of playing cards. I jumped and threw my card on the nursing home table,
“21!” my 13-year-old voice squeaked. Poppa sat slouched in his wheelchair, his eyes glazed and cards trembling in his veiny hands. I loved this game because it was his favorite. His pupils shrank as he looked at me, “You want to know something, Faith? When you turn 18, I’m taking you to Vegas.” I held his hands for one of the last times. Those deep red cards never made it to Vegas.
I grabbed those three paint bottles, uncapping the blue and making figure eights with my
arms. It ebbed and flowed across the canvas like ocean waves.
My thoughts raced back to my freshman year, my teacher gesturing her finger at my cold
art piece. Blue on blue. She explained how contrast was necessary to make a beautiful piece.
To a red tone add green, to a blue tone add orange, and to purple add yellow.
I grabbed more colors and poured them onto the canvas. Red stirred and grappled with the
orange, purple swirled with blue and darkened.
Paintbrush tight in my grip, I went into the dull blues and layered them with orange. With a
simple trick of paint, my eye was drawn to it. Its essence was highlighted, and with contrast made essential. A new color glowed on the canvas.
In life, there are moments I want to forget, but later life unfolds and will show its worth and
importance. The area of blue was renewed and restored, like the pressing of diamonds and gold under fire. It was a rainbow after rain. It was forgiveness and growth. It was learning the
importance of the fire and pressing of life. It was knowing that even though I don’t understand, I
can trust that somehow, later with other colors, it can glow beautiful.
Reds. Greens. Bursting yellows and soft pinks. Black. Grey.
Every color makes up my life.
My life in all of its beautiful layers.
A painting, each color so unique and necessary.