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I am Creatively Made.

I first read a promo for the online class last year. I was not familiar with mixed media and had never drawn more than a few scribbles. The only art supply I owned was a box of acrylic paints and some dried up watercolor tubes. I never had a sketchbook or worked with graphite pencils, charcoal, stencils, gel medium, or gesso before. But I was driven to sign up for the course anyway. Sometimes you just know that you know that you’re supposed to walk a new path. I was driven.

So I signed up for Creatively Made by Jeanne Oliver. Everyone else had already begun by the time I signed up several weeks late. I didn’t sign up for art classes, I signed up because I desperately wanted to hear someone say it’s ok to be creative and to pour your life into it.

Jeanne’s words over the next several weeks opened my eyes to a whole new perspective, a new way to interpret life. I always thought that my interest in art and crafts was just a hobby, something I loved to do on the side of life. But what if that is WHY I was made? What if making art WAS exactly why I was made, 100% pure Julia, with a paintbrush in one hand, a pencil in the other and a dining room table covered with art supplies, canvases, sewing machine and fabric? What if the best part of me that God put together when he knit me together in my mother’s womb was to create art with my hands?

I was not able to complete the art assignments when everyone else was doing them because my eyes were usually too covered with tears. Instead of a paintbrush, I practiced holding truth in one hand and a tissue in the other. It felt good. It felt right. It felt like oxygen.

I’m still grappling with this huge revelation. Where have I been the past 50 years? How could I have thought that something so essential to my being was just a hobby?

So here goes.

This week I finished another project from Creatively Made.

Suzanne, Donna and Julia canvases - three creative souls. Sketches inspired by a Ziegfeld Girls coloring book from 1941. Click photo to see a larger image.

The background is created from bits of tissue copies of my grandmother’s handwritten recipes and an issue of The Household magazine from 1924. The images of women are inspired from a Ziegfeld Girl coloring book that my beautiful, creative mom colored back in 1941. The writing on each piece is a tribute to my creative sisters – she Smiled, for Suzanne; she Dreamed, for Donna; and she Journeyed, for me, Julia, the only sister who moved away and stayed.

Detail of one of the canvases.

I lift a glass in toast to Jeanne Oliver, who followed her heart and made a path for others. I lift a glass in toast to my creatively made sisters, Donna and Suzanne. And I toast my beautiful mom, Lauretta Musser, who never stopped being creative.

My next canvas will have these words: Never Give Up.