I need a studio. It is an ongoing frustration of mine. When I was doing art for competitions and galleries, my husband created a studio in our basement. We installed color corrected lighting so that it was brightly lit no matter what time of day I was working. It wasn't perfect, but it worked well enough.
When I began to care for my mother, it was soon apparent that we'd have to move her to our city, and with that move came a lot of things from her house that we put in the basement until the time we could make better decisions. Ten years later finds me with a basement full of things I need to attend to and no studio space. As I started to sift through Mom's belongings, we once again were coming into a season of care giving and we moved Mike's parents to Grand Rapids. Again, we moved boxes of things into the basement to be dealt with at a later date.
After a few false starts in looking for studio space outside the house, I realized that I was going to have to bite the bullet and tackle the basement. I sorted through photos and memorabilia, sent things to various cousins, and barely made a dent. For a time, I gave up.
Lately, though, there have been stirrings in me. I've started refinishing a cabinet that's taking up a lot of space and there is light at the end of that particular tunnel. So much so, that I started rushing the finish on the last side of the cabinet and ruined it. After mulling over how to fix it, I realized I had to strip it down and start over. Twenty years ago, I would have plunged into anger, frustration and despair. Now, I just pray and ask the Lord to teach me through this experience, which is a much better way to go.
I've spent the morning stripping and sanding and reapplying the base coat surface. I've just sprayed the first layer and it is beautiful. Better than it was before.
It struck me how often I have to go back to the beginning. I fight against it (after all, I've already done whatever it is I have to start over), but if I do start over, the results are better. Which reminds me of when I had finished my art degree and was considering graduate school, but also considered an apprenticeship. I approached a professional portrait artist with my portfolio and degree in my hand to convince him to take me on as an apprentice. As he finished going through my portfolio, he looked at me and said, “You are woefully inadequate in the fundamentals.” Woefully inadequate. Yep. That's what he said.
I could have been offended. I could have looked for a different teacher or continued on to graduate school. Instead, I chose to start over and became a much better artist for it.
When you read scriptures, you find that God often speaks in metaphors. How often, I wonder, do I recognize the metaphors He's speaking into my life?
Donna Kemper put aside her art career to care for a mother she hadn't seen in over a decade. For seven years she followed her mother's journey into dementia, caring for her and putting forgiveness into action.