Many years ago I had some kind of near death experience. It was 1991. I am not sure what all happen but I know something in my life changed. My love and desire to fulfill everything life had for me became real.
I had a studio/gallery in our house on the main floor. Every day I worked in my studio creating new styles of black art. I started creating art from very unusual spiritual perspective. One of the thing I love about having my own space is that I am not forces to create art that is commercial or that appeals to the art world elitist taste. As a black artist I gave up many years ago trying to convince galleries that Black Art is important to the framework of the art community. I stop trying to convince Black Galleries that I could paint Jazz artist in twisted forms.
I made a decision a long time ago to just create who I am, what I think, and how I feel. I am who I am. My experience is rich and comes living life as Black women from that. My soul is not for sell. In my studio I have the joy of expression that comes from knowing and believing in myself. I gave up on wine and cheese exhibition that are offered to me during black history month. I have the whole year to express my self not, just 28 days to ward off guilt from galleries who really have no interest in being diverse.
It was several years later in my studio I started creating art that was depicting aerial views. My first pastel was an aerial view in black women in her house. I created a story line from this piece and started creating more in the series. Some of the angels began to change, however the overall effect was there. The story behind the art is about a women that gets a letter from a friend. The friend is going through a very rough time. She ask her friend to pray for her. She sat down at the table and start to pray. She prays for her friend. She keep the letter with her to pray for her friend when she thinks about her.
Over the years I have about 65 oil pastel that deal with the women praying for her friend in different settings and occasions. In some of the pastel you see the women praying for her. In other you see couples praying for the friend. The series show the life of the women that is praying, her friends, and also the friend being prayed for. I create full figure black women in my art. I sometimes create them skinny, but I like the variety of size to show our diversity. The women are black, but I have had women of every race buy this series because of the universal message of love and prayer.
I called this series “GraceWork”. In my faith it is God’s grace that we all live. The aerial view is God looking down watching us love and pray for each other. In the world we are to watch out for each other. It makes the world a better place. Love is the key. Prayer is an extension of that love. If I say I love you then I should be there for you. In such a cruel hard world for many people who are hurting because they have no love in their life from family or friends. Good friends are hard to come by. So many people fake loving and caring for each other. We all need each other.
“Grace is God’s unmerited favor. It is kindness from God we don’t deserve. There is nothing we have done, nor can ever do to earn this favor. It is a gift from God.”
My GraceWork series is a simple way of encouraging prayer and love for each other. I have had people purchase several piece to tell their story when they are displayed on the wall. I have so many pieces still yet to create. It is the largest series I have to this date. I don’t create them to sell them but to heal others and encourage life in those who see them. They are not master pieces of art, but full of heart.
The bible say we are to give grace to each other as we have receive grace from God. I have received so much grace in my life that I can only hope to give grace and mercy to others. What is grace? It is the simple act of God giving us a chance when we deserve the worst or more. His grace gave us Christ.
For many who know me, I am not a Christian that goes to church to prove anything to anybody. I find so many Christian that attend church regularly that can be the most hateful, selfish, and mean-spirited people you ever meet. I have bad days when I feel just like pimp slapping the world. We all do. But when we carry on toward each other and do not change in our behavior toward each other, our religion is in vain. The real truth of our faith is growing in life to love others and show through our love God’s awesome grace toward us. Our character should reflect our faith. We are all works in progress.
GraceWork is just a series to reminded us to pray, love ,and be there for each other. It is Christianity 101. I enjoy getting lost in the pastels and creating a whimsical scenic work of art of the world helping each other.God is looking down. God is watching.
Our world is a better place when we love and care for each other. I am not sure what happen in 1991, but I have created 65 oil pastels from that experience. I will put the whole series one a new website I am building soon – www.raspberrymills.com. Until then, love someone today, pray for someone day….God loves you and he watching! GraceWork.