Inspiring people spiritually through art
Art was never something I explored too greatly as a child. I always appreciated art pieces particularly landscapes, but never believed I was creative enough. I didn’t realize it was something that I could do myself, I figured it was for gifted people. So I didn’t bother to try to explore it!
As I became a teacher, creativity was necessary. My teaching style is to expose children to creative styles of learning, exploring process based learning. Children in my care will gain the most out of the early childhood experiences using these initiatives. Ultimately this pushed my own boundaries and opened creative doors that I didn’t realize existed. Children will always be naturally engaged seeking the next creative experience. This not only shaped my style of teaching, but art itself compelled me to explore more in depth for myself. As an adult I discovered creativeness that emerged naturally. However, a mental block of fear stifled my will to expose my hidden talent to public eye.
I stopped creating for a while as I became unwell and was diagnosed with lupus in 2016. This slowed my momentum. As a Christian this diagnosis tested my faith. At this point the disease was not prolific and was easily managed. Whilst continuing this journey my faith increased as I stopped reading “Dr. Google” and started reading more of the “WORD”. So I vowed I was not going to let this consume me. Then, in 2018 the disease decided to rare an ugly head and started attacking my kidneys. Full of pain, inflammation & weakness, I was diagnosed with what they call lupus nephrites (kidneys attacking itself). An increased level of testing my faith was an understatement. I’m glad I made the vow a year earlier because I believed that it was be an easy fix that :God’s got this”. This was most definitely easier said than the walk itself. The second diagnosis was only the beginning of this painful journey. I decided to use art blended with the “WORD” to help me through. My first piece “Faith Moves Mountains” taken from the scripture Matthew 17:20 begins how this blended work created a smoother process over the past year.
The irony to be seen by five different doctors for managing various concerns as a part of my healing process, was ludicrous. Doubt, fear, & the want to give up placed an immense pressure mentally; thus creating a “battlefield of the mind”. I became angry, bitter & sad! A place where I didn’t enjoy really. I questioned what good can come of this; why me. Which led me to my next piece “Present Suffering – Future Joy” Romans 8:18. Whilst I couldn’t see or feel it, I had to believe it could be so. I longed for the other side of this mess. The struggle was real, as health slowly improved. The pain was less but the mind is powerful. Heavily medicated in combination with the mental & emotional stress plagued me and had an adverse effect on my faith. Still, it was clear I needed more to counteract the strains. I had to “Trust in the LORD with all thine Heart” my next piece that helped keep me grounded; Proverbs 3: 5-6. This seemed to me like a strange phenomenon as I felt my heart was quite empty; to love was a mammoth task. Life seemed dark, I felt alone, & was sick of this ordeal.
Though I didn’t appear sick, I was one step away from dialysis. There was an unnecessary need for people to know and “WHOA was me”, fell upon me as a need to be heard. In my all pining the LORD convicted me. I had to take a step back and look at myself; and say “Why not me”. If I was to get any healing in my body it would have to start in my mind. I had to then check myself. What is it that I needed to heal my mind? It wasn’t about the disease trying to take me out or people turning away from me. Simply, I needed to rid myself of everything that would not help me to grow better spiritually to allow a change. I needed to continue to “Walk by Faith” no matter how gray, how hard the trials. This would be my next art piece taken from scripture 2 Corinthians 5:7.
The realization hit me, we go through trails to make us better. My Pastor would say there’s a ‘message’ in a ‘mess. My message is a creative visual form. I found help and healing through my own art. I wondered if I could inspire people spiritually through art as it did for me whilst in my journey. Hopefully, one can find a connection with any one of my pieces to inspire and keep them encouraged.
My style of work is mixed media and is meant to draw you in to see more than what you can see!
Kelly – Ann Nichole Smith