Saturday, October 31, 2009

Utilizing Art to Serve

Reading is a Family Affair ©Antonia Ruppert
for the Markham, IL Public Library
Watercolor on Paper
My friend Cynthia called me last night with three words, “Let’s do it.” My first gut instinct was like, “girl we can’’s too late...I’ve got too much on my plate already.” But then I thought about it being this time of month and this season and was like , “OK! Bring It!” as my friend Lisa likes to say.

What am I talking about?

A little background. October is/was domestic violence awareness month. This topic is near and dear to my heart. My daughter and I attended a vigil held for victims of domestic violence. It freaked me out to see the Illinois Silent Witness Exhibit - the memorial of so many beautiful people - gone just because someone could not control their anger.

To do something to make people more aware and to serve, last year Cynthia and I( and a whole lot of other folk in our network) donated hair care products and other feel good products for women associated with three domestic violence agencies including South Suburban Family Shelter. Our friends helped us raise over 100 treat bags of hair care products, makeup and etc.

So let’s do it. We are organizing another "We Care Drive" to support several domestic violence agencies. We are collecting hair care products, lotions, nail polish, makeup and other feel good items. More to come on this...

Speaking of artists giving best bud Tina is starting a ministry which is from her heart to support women who’ve lost babies prematurely. From Tina, "The purpose of these baskets is to have resources available for a mother who has lost her child due to miscarriage, stillbirth, or early infant death. These resources would be centered on Christ & include the following; Bible, books on the loss of an infant from a christian perspective, a journal, framed artwork of Jesus with your baby, scripture cards, & more... I would need several different renditions of the Jesus/Infant picture for the different mothers who would be mourning. Such as a caucasian infant, hispanic, african-american, etc. As well as a picture of Jesus with twins."

These baskets will be distributed to hospitals and other centers free of charge. Tina has prayerfully asked funders, artists, publicists and other creative types to help her create these baskets and get the word out. Tina is expecting again and would like many baskets to share before she delivers in February. I encourage anyone who’d like to assist her to contact me.

In Jack Canfield’s book, The Success Principles, Principle 62 is ”Find a Way to Serve.” He says, “When you spend a lot of time serving with people who serve, you build up a network of generous, caring people who love to give and make a difference.” I wholeheartedly agree.

I have been working with another caring artist whose passion is to serve through her art. Algonquin, IL artist Marg Rehnberg of Compassion Art. shares her work in many forms including artblox. These artblox are used to raise money for worthy causes around the world including Compassion International. Through her work, she inspires other artists to use their art on these blox to support causes. It’s really neat to see.

Utilizing art to serve. We’re headed into that season of giving. If you are interested in helping Cynthia and I in our “We Care” drive for victims of domestic violence, Tina’s basket ministry or Marg Rehnberg’s Compassion Art, let me know. I’d love to see you get involved.

Please leave a comment on the blog. Feel free to share how you’re utilizing your talents and skills to serve.

Let’s do it.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Purpose: Using Creativity to Encourage and Connect

Higher Learning ©Antonia Ruppert
Watercolor on Paper, 36x42
I just started reading The Success Principles by Jack Canfield - the co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. In the second principle, Canfield expounds that one must be clear why one is here. After a few exercises, I’m sharing with you my reader my purpose. My purpose is to use my creativity and interpersonal skills to encourage, recognize and inspire others to joyfully express their God-given talents to help others and connect with them.

This week, I connected with some friends on Facebook asking them to name this painting. Based, on their comments, this painting is called “Higher Learning” also known as “Our Father.” Thanks to Shawanna and Chenetha who provided these name suggestions. I am in appreciation to everyone who commented.

This watercolor painting is 36x42 and is part of a “worship series” for Living Springs Community Church, a church 40 minutes south east of Chicago. After the church administration chose a theme, I created a series of photographs from models(Thanks Rance and Buddy). After creating some sketches, the administration chose one for me to work from.

Next step? I will complete a final painting in the series with the theme “praise.“ I’ll be looking for an African American woman model from Chicago to photograph with chin length curly hair who has a beautiful smile. Based on my original sketch, she might look a little like me. Any suggestions?