Thursday, May 17, 2012

101 Ways I've Created

One of my favorite childhood memories includes drawing on the "den" floor with lots of paper and crayons.  My Dad use to come home from Brach's Candy in Chicago and sketch.  I think back to how connected I felt to Dad when I created something. 

"Meet the Artist" Orland Park, IL  Public Library, 2010  - Photo by Van Westrop

I remember one time when Dad first showed me his drawing with an eraser technique. It was a cool way to blend graphite and create highlights.  As a child, I was in awe as he guided me. 

A lot has happened in my life since those early years.  Yet, I am able to create.  This week, I was led to remember ways and circumstances I’ve created over the years.  I came up with over 100 ways. 

I’ve created...

  1. At my kitchen table
  2. In my bathroom
  3. Surrounded by friends
  4. Utterly alone
  5. With a newspaper camera hovering
  6. With no one in sight
  7. Medicated
  8. With no medication
  9. With a full teaching load
  10. With 3 students
  11. With mentors
  12. With a discipler (message me should you desire to know what that is)
  13. With no mentors, friends, help, etc.
  14. With many opportunities in the pipeline
  15. Without a single opportunity on the horizon
  16. With curators for friends
  17. With pot heads for friends
  18. When money was scarce
  19. When the gas at home was turned off
  20. When I was grateful for hot water
  21. When former lovers refused to speak to me
  22. As a single parent
  23. As a happily married woman
  24. When my husband adored what I created
  25. When my husband belittled me
  26. As an abused married woman
  27. As my husband and I got counseling
  28. When I was secure with God, family and myself
  29. When I was insecure, weak and feeling worthless
  30. I’ve created when I was severely obese at 225lbs.
  31. As a healthier artist at 177lbs.
  32. When my children watched TV
  33. I’ve created with long hair.
  34. With braids
  35. With a short natural
  36. When I paid my bills
  37. When I was insolvent
  38. When I had no savings
  39. I kept creating when I studied for entrance into an MBA program.
  40. When I dropped the study program and lost my $1240 dollar investment
  41. I’ve created when my source of income was doing food surveys.
  42. I’ve created in Oak Forest.
  43. I’ve created in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood.
  44. In Arizona with artist Ted Nuttall.
  45. As a struggling Lane Tech high-school student, suspended for being late.
  46. I’ve created things late.
  47. I’ve created on time.
  48. With my daughters
  49. When I could get no one to return a phone call
  50. I’ve created with a medical card from the government(no private insurance).
  51. With Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance
  52. I’ve created for boards of directors.
  53. I’ve created for a library with two in the audience.
  54. With faith
  55. Hopeless and depressed
  56. With a vision board
  57. Before I knew what a vision board was
  58. With fancy business cards from vista print.
  59. With business cards consisting of my number and an image of my grandmother
  60. Before I had business cards
  61. When I had a full palette of colors
  62. When I did not know how to paint in oil and used notebook paper
  63. When I only had two tubes of oil paint--red and black.
  64. I've created when I spoke in tongues.
  65. When I tarried for the Holy Ghost
  66. When I believed in the Holy Spirit.
  67. As a Christ-follower.
  68. As a non-believer.
  69. I’ve created on artist grade canvas.
  70. On aluminum
  71. On paper
  72. On cardboard
  73. On precious pink paper from the doctor’s office
  74. Before there was Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter
  75. I've created Pregnant.
  76. Post-pregnancy
  77. With a headache
  78. With a heartache
  79. I’ve created at the Palmer Square Art Festival(is that still around?).
  80. When I worked at McDonalds
  81. As an administrative assistant for ABN AMRO Bank
  82. When I knew my mission statement
  83. I created before I knew of mission statements.
  84. As a mom who planned meals
  85. As a mom who forgot to cook
  86. I created when I earned $140 every two weeks.
  87. Before I had a business coach
  88. At the Create Conference - an art retreat
  89. At Oxbow- through the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  90. In the Cook County Forest Preserve
  91. In a mental institution
  92. On the “elevated train track” - the “el”
  93. I’ve created after a fight.
  94. Selfishly
  95. Cheerfully giving
  96. Disorganized, when my receipts were everywhere
  97. When I did not sell a single painting all year
  98. Working $7.50 an hour
  99. Working $45 an hour
  100. When I ate hog maws and loved it
  101.  Living in my mom’s basement
  102.  When I stayed in a shelter

Okay - so there were 102 ways. After all these years, God has sustained me through my life challenges.  I am so grateful for each relationship, experience and circumstance.

After listening to a message for the past few weeks by T.D. Jakes about God being the Lord of my scraps (my past history) I took the time to reminisce. 

Now it's your turn.  I guarantee you’ve also been held by arms much stronger than your own. 
Question: Should you take a look back in order to move forward? Is it time to push ahead or turn back in gratitude? You can leave a comment below. 


Melanie Jongsma said...

Thanks for this post, Toni. When I first started reading it, I thought, "101? I don't have time to read 101 things!" But I started, and I kept going, and I couldn't stop. They were all beautiful.

Toni Ruppert said...

Melanie - I'm so glad you read to the end. "!01" is a lot for busy schedules. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

Bright daughter said...

I am highly favored to know you, Toni. Leanna

Kathryn Hansen said...

in metaphysics we are taught to live in the present but create in the i try to live by that, but at times it is good to look back and see how far i've come!!

your list is created during a lot of diverse circumstance, shows how much art really heals and helps us!!

Toni Ruppert said...

Leanna - Thank you for taking time to write. You are appreciated.

Kathryn - Thank you for showing up here. What's that slogan? "You've come a long way baby." You really hit on what I said - art does help us all.

Marg Rehnberg said...

You are a beautiful inspiration Toni and I love you so much. How I would LOVE to spend more time together! One Day!

Vanessa said...

Toni, the passion and journeys behind your art are evident in your work. It's amazing how much people go through over time and how it shapes who we are today. Thank-you for sharing something so genuine and familiar.

Keep on creating and living!

Toni Ruppert said...

Marg - Thank you for such encouragement! Yes, we need to catch up.

Hi Vanessa - none of us are exempt from hard times. You words make me think you know what I'm talking about. Thank you for the comment.